Donald Trump, in one of his final acts as President, issued an executive order yesterday deferring removal of Venezuelan nationals from the United States for eighteen months beginning January 20, 2021. Citing the “autocratic government of Nicolas Maduro” who has consistently “violated the sovereign freedoms possessed by the Venezuelan people,” the Administration ordered that removal for certain nationals to Venezuela be paused.

While the order protects Venezuelan nationals currently present in the United States and those currently in removal proceedings, it does not shield all Venezuelans from removal.  Venezuelan immigrants with existing orders of deportation issued prior to January 20, 2021 may still be deported, as can those Venezuelans convicted of serious crimes.

This is step in the right direction for an Administration previously focused on limiting immigrant protections. Indeed, this order will hopefully set the stage for the Biden Administration to offer further protections for Venezuelans seeking refuge in the United States from the Maduro regime.  A full offer of Temporary Protected Status, or a full path to citizenship for Venezuelans, should be considered by the new Administration.

If you are a Venezuelan national who has questions about this order, or needs assistance with an immigration matter, please contact Stephen Antwine, Esq. at Green & Spiegel, LLC at (215) 395-8959.

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