Skip to Content

Outgoing President Trump Defers Enforced Departure for Venezuelans

20 Jan

On January 19, 2021, as one of President Trump’s last actions as President, he issued a memorandum  to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security entitled “Memorandum on Deferred Enforced Departure for Certain Venezuelans.” 

Citing the Nicolas Maduro regime’s role in the humanitarian and economic crises in Venezuela and the President’s constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations, the memo orders the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to “defer for 18 months the removal of 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,” with certain exceptions. 

A number of exceptions apply that exclude certain Venezuelans in the United States from the benefit of deferred enforced departure.  The following Venezuelan nationals are not eligible: 

  • Those who voluntarily returned to Venezuela 
  • Those who have not continuously resided in the United States since January 20, 2021 
  • Certain individuals who are inadmissible to the United States 
  • Those who have been convicted of any felony or 2 or more misdemeanors committed in the United States 
  • Those who were previously deported, excluded or removed 
  • Those who are subject to extradition 
  • Those whose presence in the United States is not in the interest of the United States or presents a danger to public safety 
  • Those whose presence in the United States would potentially have serious adverse foreign policy consequences 

The order also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to “take appropriate measures to authorize employment for aliens whose removal has been deferred.”    

As with other executive actions, the order of deferred enforced departure for Venezuelans could be reversed by the Biden Administration. 

Foster will continue to monitor presidential actions impacting on immigration and will make future updates available as appropriate via our firm website at