US Congress Reintroduces Bill to Grant Permanent Residence to Venezuelan Migrants
Bipartisan Efforts to Adjust Legal Status of Certain Venezuelan Migrants
Four US congressmen have reintroduced the Venezuelan Adjustment Act, seeking to grant permanent residence to Venezuelan migrants who have entered the US before December 31, 2021. This bipartisan group of Congressmen has announced the reintroduction of a bill with which they aim to adjust the legal status of certain Venezuelan migrants by granting them permanent residence.
Who Is Eligible For Permanent Residence?
If passed into law, the Venezuelan Adjustment Act would establish that permanent residence be granted to Venezuelans who have been continuously present in the country for at least one year and have entered the US before December 31, 2021. These eligible individuals would have to apply for the relief no later than three years after it is approved and signed into law. However, it is important to note that those who have been convicted of serious crimes will not be eligible.
This is not the first attempt to present the measure. The bill was submitted by Democrats Darren Soto and Debbie Wasserman to the House of Representatives in May 2022 but did not achieve bipartisan support. On this occasion, the bill has Republican María Elvira Salazar’s support, as well as Democrat Frederica Wilson.
Support and Efforts
Mildred Rodríguez, director of My Voice Count, has led citizen initiatives to promote the law in Congress, with 182,333 citizen signatures collected in support of the proposal. “They agree to support this bill because it is not immigration reform, this is immigration assistance for many professionals,” she explained.
“Thousands of Venezuelans in Miami face an uncertain immigration situation and cannot return to Venezuela. I am proud to co-lead the Venezuelan Adjustment Act to provide refuge to those who have endured incredible suffering, so they do not have to return home to face the wrath of the dictatorship,” Salazar said. Cubans have had a similar law since the 1960s, dating from shortly after the 1959 revolution that later installed a socialist system on the island that is still in force.
Venezuelan Immigrant Crisis
Migration Policy Institute data show that the number of Venezuelan immigrants in the US has tripled since 2010, coinciding with a period of severe economic and political crisis that has resulted in the largest event of prolonged displacement in the Americas. Until 2021, 545,000 Venezuelan immigrants lived in the North American country, according to the US Census.
Benefits to the United States
“Venezuelans living in the United States need and deserve a path to permanent residency status for more stability. Therefore, I am proud to present this bill to help our brothers and sisters in Venezuela,” said Soto. Congresswoman Wasserman added that “as the Venezuelan community goes through the current humanitarian and political crisis that has gripped the country, our nation must step up to provide the support that the Venezuelan people need.”
The director of My Voice Counts expressed that the intention behind this law is to approve the Cuban Adjustment Act that dates back to the 1960s, which serves as a model for the Venezuelan Adjustment Act. In this regard, any Cuban who legally enters the US and stays in the country for more than a year can access permanent residence. “We maintain that we are an asset to the nation, we are in the national interest, we are not a public charge,” Rodríguez added.
With this proposal, eligible Venezuelan migrants in the US may be granted permanent residence, providing them with much-needed stability and a path to a better future.
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