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The Department of Homeland Security recently announced a deportation amnesty for 323,000 illegal aliens from Venezuela reportedly due to ongoing political unrest in the South American country.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he is extending Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans already in the U.S. but with less than permanent status. TPS gives the aliens permission to live and work in the U.S. without fear of being ousted.

Mayorkas stated on the issue:

The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens. 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.

Homeland Security estimated 323,000 people are eligible to apply. Some of those are in the country under legal temporary visas, others arrived legally but overstayed visas and some just jumped the border illegally. All are eligible to apply.

According to the Washington Times, “a 2019 report by the Congressional Budget Office said at that time there were about 300,000 Venezuelans who lacked permanent legal status, and of those, about 200,000 were expected win TPS.”

Socialist dictator and self-proclaimed “President” of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro has shepherded a steep descent in living standards and a stunning rise in poverty since assuming office in 2013 and implementing his socialist agenda, destroying what used to be one of the wealthiest and stable democracies in South America.

Venezuela now becomes the first new country granted TPS in years.

While the program is intended and required by law to be temporary, only lasting as long as poor conditions persist, in practice, it is rarely ever temporary.

El Salvador was granted TPS on March 9, 2001, after an earthquake ravaged the country. Two decades later, though, nearly 250,000 people are living in the U.S. under those 2001 protections, according to the Congressional Research Service.

For Honduras, the designation dates back to the last century, after a 1998 hurricane. Nearly 80,000 people are still in the U.S. under those protections.

All told, more than 400,000 people have TPS. The Venezuelan designation could add 50% to that.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are also pushing to grant TPS holders full citizenship rights, arguing they’ve been in the country so long it makes no sense to ask them to go back home, reports the Washington Times.

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Updated: Tue, Mar 23rd 2021 @ 2:45pm EDT