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What is Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)?

By April 1, 2021Immigration
The United States Capitol at night

What is Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)?

On January 19, 2021, President Trump announced that the U.S. government would “defer the removal of any national of Venezuela, or alien without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela.” This, he explained, was justified by the “deteriorative condition within Venezuela, which presents an ongoing national security threat to the safety and well-being of the American people.”

While this deferred removal (called Deferred Enforced Departure, or DED) sounds similar to the recent announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that Venezuelans would become eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), TPS and DED are different.

In this post, we explain what DED is, how one qualifies for it, how it is different from TPS, and how Venezuelans who are eligible for both might navigate the two.

What is Deferred Enforced Departure, or DED? When has it been used in the past?

Deferred Enforced Departure, or DED, is a temporary stay of removal from the U.S. It is an administrative action that the president has the discretion to grant for people from specified countries. Who is covered by DED, for how long they are covered, and whether they are eligible for work authorization is all determined by the presidential directive announcing the program.

DED has been granted at numerous times in the past. President Bush exercised it in 1990 following the demonstrations in China’s Tiananmen Square. It was also used by President Clinton to provide protection to Haitians. Currently, nationals of Liberia or Venezuela may be eligible for DED.

What are the benefits of DED and how is it different from TPS?

Those granted DED are permitted to remain in the U.S. for a defined period of time. Those who receive DED may also be eligible to apply for work authorization in the U.S., depending on the president’s directive.

Whereas TPS gives the beneficiary a certain immigration “status” (which allows the individual, if they qualify, to adjust status and pursue a green card), DED does not give any such status.

Read more about TPS on our earlier blog posts .

How does one qualify for DED?

The requirements to qualify for DED are determined by the presidential directive that establishes the program. For example, President Trump’s directive announcing DED for Venezuelans, generally applies to a Venezuelan national (or someone without nationality who “last habitually resided in Venezuela”) who was present in the U.S. on January 20, 2021, and has continuously resided in the U.S. since then. Note that there are a number of factors that could disqualify an individual from DED, including certain criminal convictions or voluntary departure from the U.S.

How long does DED last?

As with the requirements to qualify for DED, the length of DED is also determined by the presidential directive that establishes the program. For Venezuelans, the DED period is scheduled to terminate on July 20, 2022.

What limitations apply, and how does one maintain DED?

As with TPS, those eligible for DED should be careful not to leave the U.S. without first receiving travel authorization in the form of advance parole. This can be done by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. See here for more information on advance parole, and see here for more information on travel restrictions that apply to individuals with TPS.

Finally, DED, like TPS, is temporary. As a result, individuals who have DED should be prepared to leave the U.S. once the DED period ends.

How might Venezuelans who are eligible for both DED and TPS choose between the two?

Venezuelans who have been in the U.S. since January 20, 2021, and have continuously resided in the U.S. since then might find that they are eligible for both DED and TPS. While TPS is generally viewed as more beneficial than DED, each has pros and cons.

Both DED and TPS offer protection from deportation and the ability to apply for work authorization.

The primary benefit of TPS, which can be very significant for certain individuals, is that it provides a “status.” DED does not provide a status. An immigration attorney can help explain how having status might have a very positive impact given an individual’s specific circumstances.

One benefit of DED over TPS is the cost: DED with employment authorization costs $410, whereas TPS with employment authorization costs $545 (assuming the applicant is between 14 and 65 years old).

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