MIRAMAR, Fla. – As President Joe Biden announced the recent expansion of an immigration policy for migrants coming from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, sponsors in South Florida are stepping up to help people who might not even know about the program.
Maria Antonietta Diaz decided to help a family she didn’t even know after meeting them at the airport.
Diaz told Local 10 News reporter Cody Weddle that she already knows the new parole program well.
When the Biden administration first enacted it for Venezuelans back on Oct. 18, Diaz, an accountant, started reaching out to her contacts back in Venezuela, searching for people she could sponsor through the new process.
Diaz said she has sponsored nine people already.
“One must meet at least the poverty guidelines and obviously be above that,” said Eduardo Soto, a South Florida-based immigration attorney.
According to Soto, anyone who resides in the U.S. legally and has the financial means can become a sponsor.
“These people are going to be given work authorization along with their ability to enter the United States lawfully,” said Soto.
Since October, the parole program has reduced encounters with Venezuelans at the southern border by 90 percent and while it remains unclear how it will affect the flow of Cubans by sea, those who have already benefitted are thankful to have a legal and safe way in.
“Put your hand on your heart and help people,” said Diaz.
There’s now a huge demand for sponsors as Diaz has set up a website where people can express a need for a sponsor.
About 40,000 people have already signed up. It remains unclear whether there’s a limit to how many can be sponsored by one person.
For information specific to Venezuelans, visit https://venezuelanamericanalliance.org/.