April 21, 2021 – In March the Biden Administration designated immigrants from Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months until September 2022. TPS temporarily grants immigrants living in the U.S. protected immigration status if their homelands face extreme hardships, like armed conflict, natural disasters, and political or social instability. For Venezuela, the Secretary of Homeland Security extended TPS benefits to an estimated 300,000 undocumented Venezuelans due to the country’s ongoing political and economic turmoil. This means they can now receive deportation protection and work authorization, allowing many to live without the fear of being forcibly returned to the country they fled.

In Massachusetts, there are currently 12,326 TPS holders (many from Haiti and Central America), and there is now the potential for thousands more Venezuelans. To obtain TPS, eligible Venezuelans must file their applications with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the 180-day registration period, which began on March 9, 2021 and ends on September 5, 2021. They can also apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and travel authorizations. In terms of access to coverage and care, TPS holders living in the Commonwealth qualify for plans under the Health Connector, including ConnectorCare. 

HCFA will continue to advocate for a future where all people, regardless of their immigration status, can seek and obtain the vital health care services they need without fear of government harassment, deportation, and family separation.

Tiffany Alunan, Health Care For All Immigrant Health Intern