Thousands of Venezuelan migrants legally in the U.S. are in limbo unable to work : NPR

Venezuelan migrants are among those lining up to receive clothing, food and haircuts at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Manhattan earlier this month.

José A. Alvarado Jr. for NPR


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José A. Alvarado Jr. for NPR


Venezuelan migrants are among those lining up to receive clothing, food and haircuts at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Manhattan earlier this month.

José A. Alvarado Jr. for NPR

José Albornoz has only been in the U.S. for a few weeks, but things have been happening fast.

He’s already traveled across the country twice, landing in Montana, where a friend got him a job in construction. And he’s learned a few things about the immigration system along the way.

“I’m undocumented,” he says in Spanish, “but I’m not illegal.”

The 40-year-old Venezuelan crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in September near Eagle Pass, Texas on foot and with few possessions: His passport, a cellphone and a change of clothes. He turned himself in to the United States Border Patrol, and was released into the U.S. a few days later.

Albornoz doesn’t have a work permit. But he does have permission to be in the U.S. temporarily, which protects him from deportation.

Migrants who’ve just been released by immigration authorities prepare to continue their journeys at Mission: Border Hope in Eagle Pass, Texas in September.

Verónica G. Cárdenas for NPR


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Verónica G. Cárdenas for NPR


Migrants who’ve just been released by immigration authorities prepare to continue their journeys at Mission: Border Hope in Eagle Pass, Texas in September.

Verónica G. Cárdenas for NPR

This immigration purgatory – legally present, but unable to work lawfully – is where many Venezuelan migrants now find themselves. Hundreds of thousands have been released into the U.S. with a notice

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