Durbin Applauds Biden Administration Decision to Grant TPS to Venezuelan Migrants Fleeing Maduro Regime

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement applauding the Biden Administration’s decision to redesignate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  The Administration’s original designation covered Venezuelans who had arrived in the United States by March 2021.  Today’s announcement makes a similar designation for Venezuelan migrants who were residing in the United States on or before July 31, 2023. 

“Today’s welcome announcement by the Biden Administration reaffirms American support for the Venezuelan people.  It’s the kind of common-sense move leaders take to demonstrate global leadership and compassion—one I was glad President Biden made early in his presidency and one I’m glad that he is making again today. 

“The Venezuelans I have met in Chicago will tell you that conditions under the authoritarian Maduro regime have only worsened since 2021.  A new designation not only provides protection from deportation, but also a measure of American decency and solidarity with those who would face violence and chaos if forced to return to Venezuela.  Critically, TPS will allow Venezuelans in the U.S. to support themselves by working, which will provide much-needed relief to cities like Chicago who have welcomed migrants with open arms.”

Durbin has repeatedly called for TPS for Venezuelans in the United States, including introduction of the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act to grant TPS for eligible Venezuelan—a move eventually taken by the Biden Administration in early 2021.  In July, Durbin, along with Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), led 22 of their colleagues in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to redesignate Venezuela for TPS.

Established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from deportation and the opportunity to apply for a work permit for eligible foreign nationals from certain countries who are unable to return safely to their home country due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions. 

In 2018, Durbin traveled to Venezuela where he met with then National Assembly Member Guaidó as well as Nicolás Maduro, warning him that pursuing a sham election the following month would further isolate his autocratic regime.