House Democrat Rep. Donna Shalala is upset at the Trump administration’s handling of a Venezuelan Army Major’s treatment after his defection from the Maduro regime earlier this year
Major Hugo Parra Martinez sits in an immigration detention center in Louisiana awaiting his legal asylum case to be heard, after declaring his support for current Venezuelan President Juan Guaido over Dictator Nicholas Maduro.
Rep. Shalala calls Martinez’s detention as a “travesty” and questioned the Trump administration’s allegiance to “friends and allies fighting for democracy in Venezuela.”
“However, in Donald Trump’s view, it does not matter who you are. Immigrants – even those fighting for freedom- are not welcome,” added Shalala.
Aside from the fact that the major is a foreign national and must go through the natural immigration and asylum process just like everyone else, he still needs to be thoroughly vetted.
Shalala, along with some of her fellow South Florida House Democrats, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, have all railed against the Trump administration for not doing enough for the Venezuelan people, in particularly granting temporary protection status (TPS).
Democrats are not alone. Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, as well as Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, have all asked the president to extend TPS to Venezuelans.
But even though both Republicans and Democrats appear to be at odds with Trump over TPS, that’s probably the only issue they can complain about in relation to Maduro. The Trump administration has imposed unprecedented pressure and economic sanctions against Maduro’s regime, actions that the Obama administration failed to put forth.
The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela once too center stage in the media, but the House Democrat impeachment inquiry into Trump has sucked the air out of the room, and the House focus on Venezuela has all-but been forgotten.
Shalala is expected to face a tough rematch in her reelection campaign against Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, who is expected to announce a big fundraising haul at the end of the year.