Thousands of migrants from Venezuela were accepted by the US. Many people are currently in legal limbo.


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‘width=100%’, ‘height=290’, ‘frameborder=0′, and’scrolling=no’ NPR embedded audio player’s title Click to enlarge this photo NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr.

switch to caption NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. Even though José Albornoz has only been in the country for a short while, events have moved quickly.

He has already traversed the nation twice before arriving in Montana, where a buddy secured him employment in the construction industry. Along the way, he also picked up some knowledge about the immigration system.

He says in Spanish, “I’m undocumented, but I’m not unlawful.”

The 40-year-old Venezuelan entered the United States without authorization in September close to Eagle Pass, Texas, carrying just his passport, a smartphone, and a change of clothes. He turned himself in to the US Border Patrol and was soon let back into the country.

Albornoz lacks a work authorization. He does, however, have permission to be in the country temporarily, which prevents deportation.
Expand this picture NPR’s Verónica G. Cárdenas

switch to caption NPR’s Verónica G. Cárdenas NPR’s Verónica G. Cárdenas Many migrants from Venezuela are currently stuck in an immigration purgatory where they are legally present but unable to work legally. Hundreds of thousands have been released into the U.S. with instructions to check in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they reach their destinations, or with a notice to appear in immigration court.

But it’s unclear what will happen next.

The manager of social services and partnerships of the Church of the Holy Apostles in New York, Jay Alfaro, claims that immigrants are “DESPERATE” to find employment since they aren’t receiving the assistance or information they require. They don’t even know how to navigate the city, you know, or even what their rights are.

Expand this picture NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr.
switch to caption NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. Expand this picture NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr.

switch to caption NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. A few steps from Manhattan’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, the church operates a soup kitchen. On a beautiful but cool October day, the line outside the church is already lengthy by ten in the morning. Since August, volunteers and church personnel have been providing food and clothing to hundreds of Venezuelan migrants each week.

Alfaro claims that they share a common question.

They ask, “Where can I get work?” as their first query, she claims. You must legally obtain a work permit. Since this is New York City, we are aware that there are some workarounds. However, I caution them, “Listen, you have to be careful.”

Up until recently, the pandemic border limitations called as Title 42 prohibited the expulsion of migrants from Venezuela to Mexico. Therefore, tens of thousands of Venezuelans have been released by immigration authorities each month into the United States so they can apply for asylum.

According to experts, unlike migrants from Central America or Mexico, the current wave of migrants from Venezuela typically lacks American connections, family, and social networks that may help them settle in once they arrive.

switch to caption NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. Recently, a new program , which will permit up to 24,000 Venezuelan migrants to live and work lawfully in the United States, was launched by immigration authorities. But you must submit an application from abroad to be accepted.

Therefore, it won’t be of assistance to the more than 180,000 Venezuelans who have already been released in the United States over the past year. According to city officials, more than 20,000 migrants have looked for shelter in New York alone since April.

Many of those immigrants might eventually be eligible for work permits, but only after they’ve formally requested asylum. That process is neither quick nor simple. It frequently takes years. They also claim they cannot afford to wait.

Enderson Orlando explains, “My family lost their home, and I’m desperate to find job here, but I haven’t found anything.”

When Orlando flashed his phone, a video of flooding and devastation in his Venezuelan village of Las Tejeras emerged on the broken screen. Heavy rains there earlier this month were followed by devastating floods.

Orlando, a thin 26-year-old, is one of hundreds of male refugees from Venezuela who are all sleeping at a shelter in an abandoned Brooklyn armory. Dozens of men gather around reporters with interest as they hang out in front of the armory at a busy junction.

switch to caption NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr.

switch to caption NPR’s José A. Alvarado Jr. The 40-year-old Alexander Rosa Freites claims to have been a massage therapist back in Coro, Venezuela, which is around six hours away from Caracas. The father of five claims that because he lacks the necessary paperwork, he is having trouble finding any kind of employment.

OSHA certification is a must when applying for jobs in the construction industry, according to Freites. “Without that, you are unable to work.” You cannot work if you do not have a social security number.

A VENEZUELAN IMMIGRANT BEGINS A NEW LIFE IN MONTANA José Albornoz has located stable employment in Montana, which is two thousand miles away from the New York shelter where all the migrants are staying.

His initial intention was to travel to New York and meet up with a Venezuelan friend. But when he arrived, his friend had secured construction jobs in Montana for them both. Albornoz reports experiencing ecstasy.

Albornoz urged his pal to go, saying, “I’m ready.” I came to work here.

Albornoz is still attempting to understand his unfamiliar surroundings. He claims that American life is vastly different from Venezuelan life. For example, he is still getting used to the idea of paying with credit rather than cash.

You are lost when you get here, he claims. You arrive in a strange new world.

Albornoz claims that his hourly wage of $20 is sufficient for him to support himself as well as to send some money to his wife and three daughters in Venezuela.

Albornoz, though, has also run into some difficulties. Because he needs a credit history to be able to rent a property on his own, he is still living with his friend in a hotel room. Additionally, due to the expiration of his Venezuelan passport, he has been unable to open a bank account.

switch to caption NPR’s Verónica G. Cárdenas NPR’s Verónica G. Cárdenas Due to the lack of a diplomatic relationship between Venezuela and the United States, Venezuelans cannot renew their passports there. Albornoz claims that Mexico is the spot where he can refresh his the quickly. Although he is aware that renewing his passport will be challenging, he quickly assures himself that he can do it.

There are a lot of options here. You will have plenty of chances to get back up if you arrive prepared to work, according to Albornoz.

Albornoz had a tiny business in Venezuela that produced bully sticks, a type of dog treat manufactured from a particular bull component. He was shocked to learn how expensive bully sticks are in the United States after selling his bully sticks to an exporter.

He makes fun of the fact that bully sticks are at least 25% more expensive here than they were in Venezuela, saying, “I don’t know if I was getting cheated in Venezuela or if customers are getting defrauded here.”

Albornoz hopes to one day reopen his bully stick company in the United States. He is aware that it will be difficult. But he is unconcerned about it.

He declares, “I’m willing to work very hard to acquire a greater standard of life.”

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