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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.

Pat's Opinion
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04/24/2019
I thought the US policy was to give political asylum to immigrants? Or was that before the white supremacy party became the party of choice by our current administration?
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burrkitty's Opinion
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04/25/2019
Well, you reap what you sow. The USA has been systematically destroying Venezuela over oil since 1995. We been interfering in Honduras since the disastrous decision to support the Porfirio Lobo administration in ‘09. Trump has squandered the political capital accumulated by the Obama administration on Cuba and damaged ties with long-standing partners like Mexico. When you have a whole hand on the scales, the disruption of political balance is upon us. The people fleeing to the USA for safety are likely ignorant that we are a root cause of their problems. Our heavy handed policy decisions in South America have come back to bite us and having a xenophobic racist bigot in the OO makes the whole mess worse. Our bloody birds are home to roost. Let them in.
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04/24/2019
Let’s be America again. No real reason we can’t help all who are in need.
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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.

Rick's Opinion
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04/24/2019
No. It’s time to take care of our own here. We have children in poverty, homeless veterans, etc. It’s time to take care Americans first.
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Gopin2018's Opinion
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04/24/2019
No, they have countries next to them to claim protection. Take care of our own people first! #America First #MAGA
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Sandra's Opinion
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04/24/2019
I'm sorry for what is happening to the Venezuelan people but when you announce our Social Security and Medicare will be broke in 2035 how can we afford to help others and then allow our elderly to suffer?
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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.

    I thought the US policy was to give political asylum to immigrants? Or was that before the white supremacy party became the party of choice by our current administration?
    Like (156)
    Follow
    Share
    No. It’s time to take care of our own here. We have children in poverty, homeless veterans, etc. It’s time to take care Americans first.
    Like (77)
    Follow
    Share
    Well, you reap what you sow. The USA has been systematically destroying Venezuela over oil since 1995. We been interfering in Honduras since the disastrous decision to support the Porfirio Lobo administration in ‘09. Trump has squandered the political capital accumulated by the Obama administration on Cuba and damaged ties with long-standing partners like Mexico. When you have a whole hand on the scales, the disruption of political balance is upon us. The people fleeing to the USA for safety are likely ignorant that we are a root cause of their problems. Our heavy handed policy decisions in South America have come back to bite us and having a xenophobic racist bigot in the OO makes the whole mess worse. Our bloody birds are home to roost. Let them in.
    Like (94)
    Follow
    Share
    Let’s be America again. No real reason we can’t help all who are in need.
    Like (92)
    Follow
    Share
    Under prior administrations, this would be the standard operating procedure. It is sad that we even have to ask the question...
    Like (61)
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    No, they have countries next to them to claim protection. Take care of our own people first! #America First #MAGA
    Like (58)
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    I'm sorry for what is happening to the Venezuelan people but when you announce our Social Security and Medicare will be broke in 2035 how can we afford to help others and then allow our elderly to suffer?
    Like (51)
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    Good Evening, Bring these people to Kansas. Most of us are good folks. I have an empty house.
    Like (42)
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    Absolutely yes, contrary to the phony Christian #MAGA dimwitted xenophobes who forget Jesus was a refugee.
    Like (38)
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    So we have to foot the bill for another country that’s gone to hell? We give them humanitarian aid and it didn’t go towards helping the people. We are 5% of the worlds population. Why are we responsible for taking care of others?
    Like (34)
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    No. We did that with the El Salvadoran’s 20 years ago and they are still here. Once they’re here, they are never leaving.
    Like (31)
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    No, we’ve seen how this story ends. Let them seek refuge in their neighboring countries.
    Like (29)
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    Love how the leftist squad keeps saying we shouldn’t even get involved in Venezuela, & trying to hide the fact that socialism destroyed it, while simultaneously campaigning to let all of their citizens come to America...by kind of you know, getting involved & admitting Venezuela is a socialist dump. They’re so fake it’s comical.
    Like (26)
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    Jeez, the taxation of the Taxpayers has to stop, all these bills require millions of dollars.
    Like (23)
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    No. How about American citizens status be protected ?
    Like (21)
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    Tpp for Venezuelans - yes. !! Support Rep. Soto’s bill. TPS for Venezuela.
    Like (21)
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    Venezuela has turned their backs on the U.S. a long time ago. This is their struggle, we can assist with aid to nearby countries but they have to take control. As you can see another Democrat War Hawk willing to send in troops, as long as he isn’t leading the assault.
    Like (20)
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    We are full We are not The hospitality house of the world
    Like (17)
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    How many countries did they travel through and not take asylum? No, no and no...please stop this.
    Like (17)
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    I mean we’re helping to destabilize their nation. Seems like the least we could do. Now if only we’d consider being so “magnanimous” to all the other refugees whose lives we helped ruin.
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