President Donald Trump has issued an 18-month executive amnesty for tens of thousands of Venezuelan nationals living in the United States who otherwise would have been eligible for deportation.
In an executive order on his final night in the White House, Trump issued Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for at least 94,000 Venezuelan nationals — allowing them to remain in the U.S., free from deportation, for an 18-month period that is almost certain to be renewed by the incoming Biden administration.
“The deteriorative condition within Venezuela, which presents an ongoing national security threat to the safety and well-being of the American people, warrants the deferral of the removal of Venezuelan nationals who are present in the United States,” Trump wrote in the order.
Trump wrote that the temporary executive amnesty “is in the foreign policy interest” of the U.S. and thus Venezuelan nationals and foreign nationals who last resided in Venezuela will no longer be subject to deportation for the next 18 months.
Most significantly, the order gives work permits to those thousands of Venezuelan nationals at a time when the nation faces a mass unemployment crisis due to the Chinese coronavirus pandenic. Today, about 18 million Americans are jobless.
Those eligible must not have been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors and must be present in the U.S. as of January 20.
Trump signed the order after lobbying efforts last year by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who thanked the president for the executive action.
Thank you @potus for approving Deferred Enforced Departure for Venezuelans in the U.S.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 20, 2021
Such DED programs are similar to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program as they effectively keep foreign nationals in the U.S. who would have otherwise been deported. Often times, the programs are repeatedly renewed for decades and can lead to permanent amnesties.
The latest case, for instance, occurred in March 2018 when Trump ended DED for thousands of Liberian nationals. The following year, Congress slipped a permanent amnesty into a year-end spending bill, and Trump signed the legislation ensuring that those Liberians could eventually obtain green cards and apply for American citizenship.
The Liberian amnesty was the first of its kind since the year 2000.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.