Florida lawmakers fight for Venezuela TPS designation


Granting “Temporary Protected Status” for Venezuelan refugees has taken a prominent role in 2019.

At the beginning of the year, Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) and Rep. Donna Shalala (D) proposed TPS for Venezuelans in addition to Rep. Darren Soto (D) introducing the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019.

The bill would have allowed Venezuelans who came to the U.S. after early 2013 and who don’t have legal status to temporarily and legally stay in the country and avoid deportation. In addition, they would also be able to secure permits to work.

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As well, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) was the only Republican lawmaker to sign a letter along with 23 other Senators that was sent to President Trump concerning the matter.

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In the letter, the lawmakers informed that “in light of the ongoing violence, deteriorating security situation, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela caused by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, we respectfully request that your administration promptly designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to ensure that Venezuelan nationals currently present in the United States are not forced to return to Venezuela at this time.”

However, President Trump has announced that, at the moment, there are no plans to grant Venezuelans Temporary Protected Status.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, issued a letter explaining the decision to designate Venezuela as a country whose citizens will have TPS protection.

In a written statement, Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Bob Menendez criticized the letter, saying that “President Trump cannot do both. He cannot warn Americans that Venezuela is such a dangerous place that they should not travel there, and then tell the Venezuelans in the United States that they are forced to return.”

The Senators added that “the time has come for Congress to be uniform and humane and to dismiss this outrageous Trump policy.”

Florida Rep. Soto took to Instagram to voice his disapproval, expressing that “the growing turmoil & dire humanitarian crisis in Venezuela under Maduro’s tyranny is forcing millions into exile. In Florida alone, there are hundreds of thousands political-asylum seekers who face persecution and even death if they returned.”

The Democratic lawmaker maintains that “our bill will protect from deportation and grant work permits.”

Daniel Molina was the Opinion Editor of his high school’s newspaper, and he was also Editor-in-Chief of Miami Dade College’s Urbana literary and arts magazine wherein he also won the 2013 FCSAA Best Fiction Story in the State of Florida Award. He’s currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in English Literature. Hobbies in his free time include reading, writing and watching films and basketball.