Several groups of residents in the United States are promoting the project of the Venezuelan Adjustment Act. This legal instrument will allow Venezuelans to apply for permanent residence more quickly, regardless of their immigration status.
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Venezuelan Adjustment Act In 2022
- This legislative initiative inspired by the Cuban Adjustment Act would make it easier to apply for a Green Card.
- The Venezuelan community residing in the US is collecting around 500,000 signatures to support this proposal.
If the Adjustment Law for Venezuelans is approved, which is being promoted by several congressmen in Washington, all Venezuelans present in the country as of December 31, 2021, could opt for permanent residence.
From that date, one year and one day of continuous physical presence in the US would begin to count. That would be the essential requirement to apply for adjustment of status towards permanent residence.
- This is the second time that Venezuelans have promoted a bill of this nature before Congress.
- A similar initiative was submitted in 2015 but did not prosper. Currently, there are about 400,000 Venezuelan aliens residing in the US.
Who Qualifies For Permanent Residence According To The Venezuelan Adjustment Act?
The bill indicates which Venezuelans could qualify to obtain permanent residence if the law is approved.
- In theory, all Venezuelan citizens present in the US as of December 31, 2021.
- Individuals who have lawfully entered the US through a port of entry. That is, through one of the types of American non-immigrant visas.
- Those who have been present in the US for at least one year before applying.
- Individuals without a criminal record for felonies or deportable offenses.
- Venezuelans eligible to enter the United States and opt for permanent residence.
- Immediate relatives of Venezuelans living in the US (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21).
- Individuals who have helped the Venezuelan regime persecute and harass other Venezuelans do not qualify.
Note: Remember that this is just a bill, the content of which could be changed in Congress during discussions.
Latest News On The Venezuelan Adjustment Law
- The Venezuelan Adjustment Act proposal was introduced to the US Congress on May 22, 2022.
- Its sponsors are Florida Congressmen Darren Soto and Debbie Wassermant Schultz.
The now Venezuelan Adjustment Bill was assigned the number HR 7854, during the legislative session. This means an important advance for the thousands of Venezuelans who hope to see their dreams come true this year.
“We have already granted Temporary Protected Status to help hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees in Florida and across the country. Permanent legal status is the next logical step for the Venezuelan community here to have greater stability and pursue the American dream.”Darren Soto
For her part, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman pointed out that:
“The Venezuelan Adjustment Act will provide security and peace of mind to tens of thousands of Venezuelans who have fled a totalitarian and murderous regime. This legislation would open the door for those who qualify to become lawful permanent residents. In this way, Venezuelans residing in the United States will be able to improve their working conditions and not fear a return to a dictatorial regime.”Debbie Wasserman
How Can The Approval Of The Bill Be Supported?
The organizers are asking Venezuelans residing in the United States and people of other nationalities to express in writing their willingness to support the bill before the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House.
To do this, they ask American citizens and permanent residents of any nationality to do the following:
- Send a letter or email to two senators from your state.
- Write to the representative of your community and call them by phone.
- Send a third letter to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, asking him to support the passage of the bill.
- Then contact the office in charge of these matters in the White House.
Where To Sign For The Approval Of The Venezuelan Adjustment Act
The proposal can be signed by anyone over the age of 18 living in the US regardless of their country of origin. The promoters of the initiative clarify that those who sign will not lose their immigration status because it is a petition of a humanitarian nature.
The proposal is available on the website leydeprogramavenezolano.org. More than 100,000 people have registered to sign the document in support of the bill that could be discussed this year by the full Congress.
Which Are The Next Steps?
- Now the bill submitted to the House of Representatives and sponsored by congressmen Darren Soto and Debbie Wassermant Schultz, must be sent to an evaluation committee.
- If they deem it necessary, the members of the committee will make modifications or observations.
- It will then be put to the vote for approval or denial.
- Once approved, it would be sent to the Senate or the House of Representatives for discussion.
- Later, it would be voted on in a plenary session of Congress.
- If approved in that instance as well, it is sent to the President for promulgation.
The President has the constitutional power to veto the law or make changes and send it back to Congress.
Differences Between The Venezuelan Adjustment Proposal And The Cuban Adjustment Act
Although the Venezuelan proposal is inspired by the Cuban Adjustment Act and appeals to existing jurisprudence in this regard in the US, there is an important difference in both legal instruments.
Mildred Rodríguez, director of the organization My Voice Counts, Comunidad Venezuela, which promotes the proposal, explains:
- The Cuban Adjustment Act remains open to all Cubans with U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members entering through any regular port or across the border.
- Instead, the Venezuelan Adjustment Act proposes to benefit only Venezuelans physically present in the US as of December 31, 2021.
“That way we are not encouraging irregular immigration,”Mildred Rodriguez
A Different Political Context
Although both legal instruments argue for similar reasons of a political, social and economic nature, there are differences in context as well.
- The Cuban Adjustment Act was passed in the midst of strong tensions between Washington and Havana after the Cuban missile crisis (1962).
- At that time the cold war was in full swing. The confrontation between the Soviet Union and Cuba with the United States fully occupied the attention of Congress and the government of the time.
- Currently, there is even a kind of rapprochement between Washington and Caracas.
- The war in Ukraine and the need to substitute Russian oil with other suppliers have made the US sanctions policy towards Venezuela more flexible.
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What Are The Chances Of The Venezuelan Adjustment Act Being Approved?
- Its promoters are optimistic that the bill can pass this year in Congress.
- Several legislators from the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have offered their support for this legislative initiative.
Although they are aware that it will not be easy to pass the legislative test, due to the current debate on the increasing immigration. Even more so at a time when political polarization has deepened.
The director of WOLA for Venezuela, Geoff Ramsey, sees the approval of the legal instrument this year as very difficult:
“The proposal to create a route, a path to residency is very important, but I don’t think it will be very successful in Congress. The truth is that the political debate in the United States is quite hostile to migration and, unfortunately, I do not see much political interest in that measure, although it is absolutely essential.Geoff Ramsey
What Happens If The Venezuelan Adjustment Proposal Is Not Approved?
Its promoters say they will not give up if the bill is rejected by Congress. They announce that it will be submitted again as many times as necessary until the goal of regularizing Venezuelan residents of the US is achieved.
How Many Venezuelans Live In The United States?
According to Pew Research Center statistics , based on the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, as of 2017 there were around 421,000 Hispanics of Venezuelan origin living in the country.
- Since 2000, the Venezuelan population residing in the US has not stopped growing. In 17 years it went from 93,000 residents to 421,000 (a 352% increase). By July 2022 this population could have multiplied exponentially.
- The profile of Venezuelan migrants to the US is young. Generally age 25 or older with a bachelor’s or college degree. Unlike the other nationalities that emigrate annually to the country.
- Since 2012, when the exodus of Venezuelans began due to the political and economic situation in Venezuela, more than 6 million citizens have left that country, according to UNHCR figures.
Now Venezuelans are joining caravans of Central American migrants trying to cross the border from Mexico. All of these people seeking to cross the Rio Grande upon arrival ask for asylum in the United States .
What Is The Current Condition In Venezuela?
Among the arguments cited to request the approval of the Venezuelan Adjustment Act is the current situation.
- The country has seen a progressive deterioration in its standard of living due to falling oil production and income.
- The country’s productive apparatus has been devastated by the socialist regime since it came to power in 1999.
- The report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 16, 2019, documented:
- Arbitrary arrests and judicial processes, torture, persecution, sexual violations and murders against demonstrators, political dissidents and human rights activists during the protests of 2014, 2017 and 2019.
- These repeated violations of human and political rights were carried out by military and police agencies:
- Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).
- General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM).
- Bolivarian National Guard and the Bolivarian National Police.
- Arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial executions against young people from marginal neighborhoods. These illegal actions were committed by police commandos during the so-called People’s Liberation Operations (OLP).
- Increase in misery and poverty levels since 2019, according to data from the National Survey of Living Conditions 2019-2020 (ENCOVI) and 2021.
Among The Poorest Countries In Latin America
- Currently, Venezuela is considered one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Second only to Haiti in extreme poverty.
- Studies show that 64.8% of Venezuelan households live in poverty. Such levels of misery increased due to the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
- The number of Venezuelan migrants and asylum and refugee seekers has grown significantly in the last two years. This is revealed by figures from the United Nations Refugee Agency that estimate the number at more than 5.6 million.
- Many Venezuelan migrants remain without documentation or residence permits in the countries where they reside.
- This situation makes them more vulnerable to certain crimes. Among them, prostitution, labor and sexual exploitation, human trafficking, violence, discrimination and xenophobia.
- The Venezuelan regime welcomes and promotes the presence of national and foreign armed groups outside the law. For example:
If you are living in the United States and need advice on the Venezuelan Adjustment Act or any other immigration matter, call us. We will gladly arrange a professional consultation for you.
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