The Biden administration announced on Monday that it will grant temporary protected status to Venezuelan migrants — an action that could help an estimated 320,000 people now living in the United States.
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled their country due to economic chaos, food and medicine shortages, and widespread and frequent power outages. Under temporary protected status, people who cannot return to their home country due to war and natural disasters are allowed to legally live and work in the U.S. Venezuelans will be able to have temporary protected status for 18 months.
The U.S. recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the rightful president of Venezuela, rather than President Nicolas Maduro. In an attempt to force Maduro out, former President Donald Trump tightened sanctions against Venezuela, but did not grant temporary protected status to migrants.
"The United States is in no rush to lift sanctions," a senior Biden administration official told The Associated Press. "But we need to recognize here that unilateral sanctions over the last four years have not succeeded in achieving an electoral outcome in the country." Maduro has "adapted" to the sanctions on oil, the official added, and now is the time to "start sitting down with the international community to see how we can actually exert coordinated pressure and set clear expectations for the way forward."