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A Final Parting Gift from Trump: Temporary Amnesty for Venezuelans in the U.S.

On January 19, 2021, the President issued a Memorandum designating eligible Venezuelans for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). DED refers to certain programs that permit the Attorney General in his discretion to temporarily enjoin the removal of persons from particular countries who fear return because of sudden political changes in their countries of origin or other reasons. This deferral of Venezuelans is premised on the political and humanitarian conditions in Venezuela under the Maduro regime.

Under the recent Venezuelan DED Memo, those eligible for DED would be protected from deportation for 18 months and could obtain a work permit. Those eligible include any national of Venezuela, or alien without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela, who is present in the United States as of January 20, 2021, except for noncitizens who:

  1. have voluntarily returned to Venezuela or their country of last habitual residence outside the United States;
  2. have not continuously resided in the United States since January 20, 2021;
  3. are inadmissible under section 212(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)) or removable under section 237(a)(4) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(4)) (generally, security and terrorism-related grounds);
  4. who have been convicted of any felony or 2 or more misdemeanors committed in the United States, or who meet the criteria set forth in section 208(b)(2)(A) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(2)(A)) (those ineligible for asylum for reasons such as commission of a particularly serious crime, persecution of others, or other enumerated reasons);
  5. who were deported, excluded, or removed, prior to January 20, 2021;
  6. who are subject to extradition;
  7. whose presence in the United States the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined is not in the interest of the United States or presents a danger to public safety; or
  8. whose presence in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has yet to issue guidance on the procedure for applying for DED or the accompanying work permit. However, such guidance is expected soon.

Note that not all Venezuelans in the U.S. benefit from this policy. For instance, if you are already present legally and permitted to work legally, you would likely not need to seek DED. Though there could be some exceptions.

If you believe you or someone you know may benefit from DED and you want assistance, please call or text David F. Vedder, P.A. at (386) 274-0044 or email us at