From his perch as chairman of the U.S. Senate Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues Subcommittee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is looking to offer Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans fleeing that South American nation which is facing economic and social chaos under the Maudro regime.
Towards the end of last week, Rubio joined Democrat U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Bob Menendez of New Jersey to bring out the “Venezuela Temporary Protected Status and Asylum Assistance Act.”
“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,” Rubio’s office noted about the legislation.
“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.”
“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, who introduced the legislation, 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.”
“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 bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on which Rubio sits. So far, there is no companion bill over in the House.