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Venezuelans in Palm Beach County seeking TPS extension due to political unrest

Posted at 8:01 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 21:16:57-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Many in West Palm Beach are asking President Joe Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to do more to help Venezuelans by extending Temporary Protection Status.

WPTV met up with Nelitza Morales who used to live in Venezuela. She left a few years ago and now calls Palm Beach County home.


“The situation in Venezuela for many years has been very hard,” said Morales. “It is not a secret what is happening over there.”

She gained Temporary Protected Status after it was designate Venezuela on March 8, 2021 by the Biden Administration and Homeland Security. But it is to set to expire in September 2022, and the deadline to redesignate is in July.

“It is a way to gain some sort of legalization in this country and be able to work legally and be able to help our families in Venezuela,” she said.

Carlos Castro

Carlos Castro, another Venezuelan living in the area, said the political instability and climate caused by the president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro Moros’ authoritarian regime, has forced thousands to flee.

“I think without a doubt, the current Venezuelan government has to be outed,” said Castro, “because it is the number one cause why many of us Venezuelans are scattered throughout the world.”

Rosa Merlo.png

Rosa Merlo, owner of Chikitas in West Palm Beach, still has family in Venezuela and compares the hardships to a never-ending war.

“Some die for the lack of medical help, malnutrition, and including dying for injustices,” she said.

Recently, bipartisan members of the Florida Congressional Delegation sent this letter to Biden urging to consider re-designating Venezuela for TPS before the expiration date and moving the required arrival date forward to December 31, 2021.


“It is a temporary benefit, for people who cannot go back to their home countries because of something going on,” said immigration attorney Bianca Jordan. “So, in the case of Venezuelans, it's because of the human rights injustices that they are dealing with in Venezuela.”

The letter outlines how poverty and food insecurities have skyrocketed –adding Venezuela has experienced some of the highest homicide and crime victimization rates in Latin America.

The letter reads in part:

Political instability caused by Maduro’s authoritarian regime has led to massive food and medicine shortages, 94% of the population living in poverty, 60% of the population is suffering from food insecurity and the country’s economy is crippled. Venezuela’s economy has contracted by more than 74% since 2014 which is more than twice the magnitude of the Great Depression in the United.

The unrest possibly fueling the thousands of requests for asylum in the U.S.

“Venezuelans throughout the world are very hopeful that Venezuela one day may move forward and have the freedom that we all desire,” said Morales.