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Border leaders weigh in on U.S. allowing some Venezuelans to legally work

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA)-- The Biden Administration announced it would grant temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants, allowing them to legally work in the United States.

On Wednesday Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced the extension and redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status.

This status would only be for Venezuelans who entered the country before July 31, 2023.

DHS officials said there are currently 242,000 existing TPS beneficiaries. With this new announcement, there could be 472,000 Venezuelan nationals who may be eligible.

Secretary Mayorkas said he granted the expansion and the expansion because, "Venezuela’s increased instability and lack of safety due to the enduring humanitarian, security, political, and environmental conditions."

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said although this status will only apply to some migrants, this will encourage others to enter the country legally.

"They (DHS) really feel that it will encourage people to fill that CBP One form to come in and come in through the proper channels, so they can get a work permit again."

Mayor Leeser also said it was the right decision by the government to include a deadline for this temporary status.

"These are people that are in the U.S. that need to go to work, they need to provide for their family, and that's something that's important," the mayor said.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said the new changes will help Venezuelans move through the system much quicker.

Some migrants ABC-7 spoke to said they are happy the U.S. is extending some help to those from Venezuela.

Some asylum seekers said they came to the country seeking a better life to assist their families back home. They also expressed their deep interest in finding a job to help get them to their final destinations.

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Rosemary Montañez

ABC-7 reporter and weekend anchor


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