02.28.19

As Venezuela’s Humanitarian Situation Worsens, Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce TPS Legislation to Support Venezuelans Fleeing Maduro Regime

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations, was joined Thursday by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in introducing the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019, a bill to immediately grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home country and to strengthen migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela. 

“The scale of human suffering facing Venezuelans defies imagination, and the United States must show real leadership in efforts to ensure their protection,” Menendez said. “We are using this critical moment, as there is universal support for a constitutional transition to democracy in Venezuela, to introduce legislation that immediately protects eligible families in the U.S. from having to be forcibly handed over to Maduro. To deport Venezuelans back to this tragedy would be to tell them they are a burden on our communities, a menace to our national security and an unwelcome guest in our country. Reality and our national interest are precisely the opposite.”

“While Maduro’s narcoterrorist regime continues to commit senseless acts of violence against the Venezuelan people, it is clear that the conditions on the ground warrants granting temporary protected status to Venezuelan nationals residing in the U.S.,” Rubio said. “This temporary solution will ensure the continued safety of Venezuelans currently in the U.S. as we work with the international community to support the legitimate government in their effort to restore democracy.”

“When I traveled to Venezuela last year, I found a country on the edge, facing overlapping economic, humanitarian, and political crises.  The Venezuelan government under Maduro has taken a series of repressive and undemocratic actions that threaten its own people and have isolated it from the world,” Durbin said.  “Venezuela is in the throes of a crisis, and if we are truly committed to helping the Venezuelan people, the very least we can do is ensure that Venezuelans in the United States are not forced to put their lives at risk by returning to such dangerous conditions.  It is within our power to help keep innocent men, women, and children out of harm’s way by passing the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019.”

“Since we introduced this bill in the last Congress, the humanitarian, political and economic crises in Venezuela have only metastasized,” said Leahy. “The Maduro regime, discredited and desperate, has worsened this crisis, which has already overwhelmed the ability of neighboring nations to help.  While millions of Venezuelans flee this turmoil, the United States must embrace our historic role as a safe haven for the oppressed and, at minimum, provide temporary refuge to those Venezuelans already here, until it is safe for them to return home.”

“Facing an ever growing economic and humanitarian crisis at the hands of a repressive government, millions of Venezuelans have fled their homes to countries throughout the hemisphere,” said Booker. “Those who have sought shelter in the United States must not be forced to return to a country where basic food and medicine are scarce and fundamental freedoms are suppressed. This bill would provide refuge to innocent men, women, and children who have made it to our shores until it is safe for them to return to their communities.”

Established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from deportation and access to a work permit for foreign nationals from certain countries who are unable to safely return to their home country due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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