WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in introducing the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status and Asylum Assistance Act of 2018. The bipartisan legislation seeks to grant Temporary Protected Status for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home and to provide support for migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela.
“The extraordinary depth of Venezuela’s political, economic, and humanitarian crisis has forced millions of Venezuelans to flee their country, creating upheaval that is now being felt throughout the region,” Menendez said. “Providing Temporary Protected Status for eligible individuals and supporting migration systems in the region to assist Venezuelans who are prevented from returning safely to their country is the humanitarian and morally responsible thing to do.”
“As Venezuelans continue to face serious threats to their safety and livelihood at the hands of Maduro’s narcoterrorist tyranny, it is clear in-country conditions warrant granting temporary protected status to Venezuelan nationals residing in the U.S.,” Rubio said. “Granting this protection will provide a temporary solution to many Venezuelans who fear returning to their homeland due to the ongoing crisis and extraordinarily difficult conditions.”
“When I traveled to Venezuela earlier this year, I found a country on the edge, facing overlapping economic, humanitarian, and political crises. The Venezuelan government under President Maduro has taken a series of repressive and undemocratic actions, including the cowardly jailing of National Assembly member Juan Requesens, that threatens its own people and has isolated it from the world,” Durbin said. “Venezuela faces a crisis, and the United States has a responsibility to respond in a manner that lives up to our American values. 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 2018.”
“The Venezuelan people are struggling to cope with an economy that has collapsed and a corrupt government that is overwhelmed and that relies on repression to hold onto power,” Leahy said. “Millions of Venezuelans have already fled to neighboring countries, which are unable to care for them without international aid. This humanitarian disaster shows no sign of diminishing. By granting TPS we can at least provide refuge to Venezuelans in this country until it is safe to return home.”
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.