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house Bill H.R. 549

Should Venezuelan Refugees be Eligible for Temporary Protected Status?

Argument in favor

Venezuelans are fleeing their country in record numbers due to political unrest and economic deterioration. Those who come to the U.S. should be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), in recognition of the circumstances that have forced them out of their country. Granting Venezuelans TPS will also ensure that they can legally stay and work in the U.S., allowing them to build new lives here.

Frances's Opinion
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03/05/2019
WITH THE MADURO GOVERNMENT BLOCKING HUMANITARIAN AID, WE NEED TO HELP THESE POOR PEOPLE IN ANY WAY WE CAN. :THERE, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, GO I!"
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Nicole's Opinion
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03/14/2019
We always said that tps is for country's that have a really emergency. Well Venezuela is in that emergency. But they are not eligible for tps. Let's change that. But giving people from venzula and other country's like them a chance to Chang there life.
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Argument opposed

Most Venezuelans leaving their country aren’t coming to the U.S., and are instead going to neighboring countries in South America. Thus, it’d be better to focus efforts on helping Venezeula’s neighboring countries address the needs of the Venezuelans arriving in their borders. Additionally, most Venezuelans coming to the U.S. are coming as political asylees or via other legal federal immigration channels.

Curt's Opinion
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03/04/2019
We have enough deadbeat socialists in our country. Just look at the demoncrats in congress.
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Jade's Opinion
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03/02/2019
The situation en Venezuela should be resolved soon and the country will need their people back to help rebuild the new society.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedJanuary 15th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 549?

This bill would support Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro regime by making them eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the U.S. This would allow them to legally stay in the U.S. on a temporary basis and be protected from deportation, obtain employment authorization documents (EADs), and travel abroad for emergencies and in extenuating circumstances.

Venezuelans who came to the U.S. after early 2013 and don’t have legal status would be eligible for TPS under this bill. A window for these people to apply for TPS would open for 18 months from the day this bill was signed into law.

Impact

Venezuelans in the U.S.; Venezuelan refugees; Venezuela; Maduro regime; TPS program; and DHS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 549

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Darren Soto (D-FL) introduced this bill to allow Venezuelan nationals fleeing from the Maduro regime to become eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States:

“The now illegitimate Presidency of Nicolás Maduro has only brought suffering and despair to the people of Venezuela. During Maduro’s tyrannical rule, Venezuela’s economy has deteriorated at alarming rates, causing a scarcity of basic foods and medicine in the country. The whole world has witnessed Maduro’s blatant disregard for human rights, including arbitrary arrests, media censorship, imprisonment of the opposition, and the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters. For these reasons, Venezuela should be added as a country designated for TPS as a way to help protect our brothers and sisters escaping Maduro’s terror. I thank my colleague Rep. Diaz-Balart for joining this bipartisan effort to assist the millions of Venezuelans who now call Florida home.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) added:

“For years, the Venezuelan people have suffered under the oppression of the Chavez-Maduro regime. Hyperinflation, drastic shortages, and egregious human rights abuses have forced many Venezuelans into exile, and the conditions in Venezuela remain too perilous for them to return. Political opposition leaders are imprisoned, and some have died under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, Maduro’s thugs abduct, detain, and imprison protesters, while his state police and intelligence services use violence, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests to silence them. I am grateful to be able to provide a solution to so many who are escaping Maduro's totalitarian regime. For this reason, I proudly join my Florida colleague Congressman Soto in introducing bipartisan legislation to allow Venezuelan nationals living in the United States to become eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). We must not force Venezuelans who have sought safety in the United States to return to such dangerous conditions.”

The Trump administration has sought to limit the TPS program, seeking to end TPS for over 300,000 people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Honduras, and Sudan. The Miami Herald reported that in New York, lawyers challenging the administration’s decision to end TPS for Haitians “presented internal government emails showing that the administration was so determined to end the program that it ignored its own government’s research flagging health and safety concerns.” However, the Trump administration has extended TPS for Syrian, Yemeni, and Somali nationals.

Rep. Soto is optimistic about the odds of the White House supporting this bill, arguing that “if there is a country that might get TPS approved by the White House, it would be Venezuela, [b]ecause this would enhance the sanctions that the White House has already put forward." Rep. Díaz-Balart adds, “This is not a traditional immigration bill. This is the recognition of specific circumstances that the administration has recognized." Rep. Díaz-Balart also points out that the Trump administration’s tough stance on Maduro, along with the current use of tax dollars for humanitarian aid, indicates the administration could be open to supporting TPS for Venezuelan refugees:

“It’s pretty clear [the administration] understand[s] the situation in Venezuela, the nature of that dictatorship. We’re spending $95 million on humanitarian funds for the most acute crisis this hemisphere has seen. We can’t return or send Venezuelans back as well.”

This bill has 11 bipartisan cosponsors, including nine Democrats and two Republicans. 

In the current session of Congress, other legislation on Venezuela has been introduced to end the transfer of defense articles, including tear gas and riot gear, to the Maduro regime.

A Senate bill, the Venezuela TPS Act of 2018, with provisions similar to this bill was introduced in the 115th Congress. It was sponsored by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) with the support of three bipartisan cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican.


Of NoteTPS designation is granted by the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to citizens of countries suffering from ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or “other extraordinary and temporary conditions.” With guidance from the White House, DHS decides whether or not to extend or end TPS for a given country based on changes in the country’s political situation or capacity to provide basic services.

Venezuela is currently undergoing an unprecedented economic, humanitarian, security, and refugee crisis consisting of extreme food and medicine shortages, severe infant and child malnutrition, rampant crime, and government-sponsored repression. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that inflation rates in the country could reach 10,000,000 percent in 2019.

Due to the unrest in the country, over three million Venezuelans — around one in 12 people — have fled the country. Colombia alone is sheltering one million Venezuelans, with around 3,000 people arriving each day. The Colombian government projects that up to four million Venezuelans could be living within its borders by 2021, costing it nearly $9 billion. Approximately one million asylum seekers have come to the U.S. since 2014, mostly through the political asylum process and other legal federal immigration channels.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) say the Venezuelan exodus is straining neighboring countries, notably Colombia. Eduardo Stein, UNHCR-IOM Joint Special Representative for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, says:

“Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have largely maintained a commendable open-door policy… However, their reception capacity is severely strained, requiring a more robust and immediate response from the international community.”

In fiscal year 2017-2018, the U.S. spent over $96 million in support of Venezuela refugees in Latin America. This included humanitarian assistance, food aid, support for non-governmental organization partners, education and child protection assistance, and emergency assistance.

The Trump administration has imposed economic sanctions on Maduro’s government and companies with ties to Maduro. It also included Venezuelan government officials in the third version of the president’s travel ban, which the Supreme Court upheld in the summer of 2018. Additionally, Trump has recognized Venezuela's chief opposition leader, National Assembly President Juan Guaido, as the country’s legitimate head of state.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / mtrommer)

AKA

Venezuela TPS Act of 2019

Official Title

To designate Venezuela under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit nationals of Venezuela to be eligible for temporary protected status under such section, and for other purposes.

    We have enough deadbeat socialists in our country. Just look at the demoncrats in congress.
    Like (1)
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    WITH THE MADURO GOVERNMENT BLOCKING HUMANITARIAN AID, WE NEED TO HELP THESE POOR PEOPLE IN ANY WAY WE CAN. :THERE, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, GO I!"
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    We always said that tps is for country's that have a really emergency. Well Venezuela is in that emergency. But they are not eligible for tps. Let's change that. But giving people from venzula and other country's like them a chance to Chang there life.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Most of Venezuelan are suffering from the great number of problems in their home country. Political persecution, extremely high crime rates, and a deep sanitary and humanitarian crisis, where people with common illnesses suffer the risk of dying. Venezuelans in the U.S are looking for a relief for their families and a solution for their safety, but also, they keep their home country in mind, having the big desire of going back ASAP. Right now, an enormous amount of Venezuelans are following the immigration protocols and laws, to stay within the legal framework; the great majority of people from this country never think about being outside the law. This bill, could protect temporarily all this people from the great and well-known problems their country faces right now, with the certainty that an enormous amount of beneficiaries (even maybe all) will go back when the U.S government consider is pertinent. PD: Also Venezuelans are well educated people; the 50% of Venezuelan immigrants have at least a college degree, making them the Hispanic group with the highest percentage in the U.S (per Pew Research Center: Hispanic Trends) So we could say that’s almost a highly qualified group of immigrants that could bring amazing benefits to U.S community.
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    The situation en Venezuela should be resolved soon and the country will need their people back to help rebuild the new society.
    Like
    Follow
    Share