On March 8, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorkas announced that he is designating Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an 18-month period, until September 2022.
CMS estimates that there are 275,000 undocumented Venezuelan nationals living in the United States as of March 8, 2021 who could benefit from this status. To view estimates by state, click here. Since 2015, the number of undocumented Venezuelans in the United States has increased sharply as conditions in Venezuela have deteriorated.
As the above graph shows, the vast majority of undocumented Venezuelans have arrived in the United States since the onset of the socioeconomic and political crisis in Venezuela. Since 2014, there has been an 8,000 percent increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking refugee status worldwide, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The DHS Secretary can make a TPS designation based on conditions in a country that make it unsafe for their nationals to return, including armed conflict, environmental disaster, and other extraordinary and temporary conditions. “The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”
Venezuelans who qualify for TPS have 180 days to apply for this status, which provides protection from deportation and work authorization. To qualify, Venezuelans must be able to demonstrate continuous residence in the United States since March 8, 2021.
CMS has produced and published extensive work on Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and on the TPS program, including:
- A study entitled “Where Are Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees Going? An Analysis of Legal and Social Contexts in Receiving Countries,” by George Wolfe.
- A series of reports on Venezuelan migrants and refugees by journalist Silvina Acosta.
- A study in the Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS) enitled “Venezuelan Migration and the Border Health Crisis in Colombia and Brazil,” by Shannon Doocy, Kathleen R. Page, Fernando de la Hoz, Paul Spiegel, and Chris Beyrer.
- Three JMHS papers on TPS entitled respectively “What’s Wrong with Temporary Protected Status and How to Fix It: Exploring a Complementary Protection Regime” by Bill Frelick, “Temporary Protected Status After 25 Years: Addressing the Challenge of Long-Term ‘Temporary’ Residents and Strengthening a Centerpiece of the US Humanitarian Protection” by Claire Bergeron, and “Creating a More Responsive and Seamless Refugee Protection System: The Scope, Promise and Limitations of US Temporary Protection Programs” by Donald Kerwin.
- A JMHS article that estimates and profiles the three largest TPS populations, titled “A Statistical and Demographic Profile of the US Temporary Protected Status Populations from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti,” by Robert Warren and Donald Kerwin.
- A CMS Essay entitled “The Besieged US Refugee Protection System: Why Temporary Protected Status Matters,” by Donald Kerwin.
- A 2018 post drawing from CMS archival materials entitled “Temporary Protected Status: People “Belong” Where They Are Safe,” by Mary Brown.
- A 2018 post on “Venezuela in Crisis: the Plight of Venezuelan Refugees.”
March 10, 2021
 CMS includes Venezuelan asylum-seekers in this estimate, although they are not “undocumented.”