Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and 23 of her colleagues in again calling on President Trump to support granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans fleeing the political, economic, and humanitarian crisis caused by the Maduro regime.
“As the people of Venezuela continue to suffer political oppression and economic deprivation at the hands of the Nicolas Maduro’s regime, they now also face the alarming spread of the COVID-19 pandemic with a public health system in ruins.” wrote the Democratic Senators. “To that end, we again urge your Administration to immediately provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible Venezuelans who are not able to return safely to their country.”
The Senators’ letter follows a years-long campaign pushing President Trump to use his executive authorities to designate Venezuela for TPS. Today’s effort comes a year after the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed H.R. 549, the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 in an effort to circumvent the Administration’s inaction by legislatively granting temporary protections to Venezuelans.
“In July 2019, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 549, the Venezuela TPS Act, a bill that designates Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), providing approximately 200,000 Venezuelan nationals with protection in the United States. However, Republican members of the Senate have repeatedly opposed meaningful action on this bill. Moreover, your Administration has the authority it needs to designate Venezuela for TPS today given that conditions in Venezuela clearly meet the requirements of the TPS statute, yet it has failed to do so.” added the Senators.
In March 2019, Senator Cortez Masto first joined her colleagues in calling on the Trump Administration to grant TPS for Venezuelans.
Established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a renewable program that provides relief from deportation and access to a work permit for foreign nationals from designated countries who are unable to safely return to their home country due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions. In 2018 alone, over 30,000 people from Venezuela applied for asylum status in the United States—by far the most of nationality that year. The TPS designation is a temporary benefit aimed at providing relief to immigrants residing in the United States who are unable to safely return to their home country. TPS recipients are fully vetted and are required to undergo background checks to ensure that they are not risks to public safety or national security.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.