Two Florida Congressmen Seek Support For Venezuelans Fleeing Maduro Regime to Have Temporary Protected Status

Darren Soto and Mario Diaz-BalartDarren Soto and Mario Diaz-Balart


Last week, two Florida congressmen–Democrat U.S. Rep. Darren Soto and Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart–brought out a proposal which would permit Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro regime to become eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Soto and Diaz-Balart showcased the proposal on Thursday.

“The Maduro regime has perpetrated egregious human rights abuses and corrupted Venezuela’s once democratic institutions, leading to an economic, humanitarian, and security crisis and forcing millions of Venezuelans to seek refuge abroad. Under TPS, Venezuelans would be shielded from deportation and granted work authorization, allowing for individuals to pay taxes and contribute to their communities. The Venezuela TPS Act also allows for individuals to travel abroad for emergencies and extenuating circumstances,” Soto’s office insisted.

The Central Florida Democrat ripped into the Maduro regime when he introduced the proposal.

“The now illegitimate Presidency of Nicolás Maduro has only brought suffering and despair to the people of Venezuela,” Soto said. “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.”

“For years, the Venezuelan people have suffered under the oppression of the Chavez-Maduro regime,” Diaz-Balart said. “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 Venezuela TPS Act” would give Venezuelans who flee their country protection from being deported by the U.S and permit them to have an employment authorization document (EAD) and travel authorization . The bill would give fleeing Venezuelans an 18 month period of automatic  eligibility.

The two congressmen are not the only members of the Florida delegation engaged on the issue.

Last month, 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., also showcased a proposal to offer Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro regime.

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.”

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.