Republicans are blaming Democrats, and Democrats are blaming Republicans for the latest failure to pass a comprehensive Venezuela TPS bill in the U.S. Senate.
President Donald Trump, who can easily pen an executive order to grant temporary protected status for Venezuelans, has left it up to Congress to come up with a bipartisan solution to the problem.
Many Republican Senators, including Sen. Marco Rubio, who co-sponsored the Senate TPS bill, and Sen. Rick Scott, are supportive of temporary protected status for Venezuelans exiles, but Scott is not in of favor granting indefinite protected status.
The both the Senate and House version of the bill leaves a revolving door for TPS recipients, with the House’s legislation specifically stating that “the initial period of the designation shall be for the 18-month period beginning on the date of enactment” of the bill, but doesn’t mention how long any subsequent renewal period would be.
The way the House bill is worded, it appears as if the initial 18-month TPS period is really an indefinite time period that allows TPS recipients to be afforded the opportunity to travel back and forth between the U.S. and the designated country, or Venezuela.
Here is how the House bill, which was introduced by Rep. Darren Soto (D), and co-sponsored by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) reads:
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Homeland Security shall give prior consent to travel abroad, in accordance with section 244(f)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a(f)(3)), to an alien who is granted temporary protected status pursuant to the designation made under subsection (a) if the alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Homeland Security that emergency and extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the alien require the alien to depart for a brief, temporary trip abroad.
(2) TREATMENT UPON RETURN.—An alien returning to the United States in accordance with an authorization described in paragraph (1) shall be treated as any other returning alien provided temporary protected status under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a).
When Sen. Scott introduced his TPS amendment to the Senate version of the initial House Venezuela TPS Act of 2019, Senate Democrats shot down his measure, accusing the junior senator from Florida of wanting to overhaul the entire TPS system, and for leaving thousands of Venezuelans nationals living in the U.S. in immigration limbo.
According to Sen. Scott, Congress needs to act now but must do so in a responsible way, adding that his amendment “grants TPS to Venezuelans right now” and makes “much-needed reforms to the existing TPS system” and gives congress rightful oversight.
Scott wants the final bill that goes before President Trump to be temporary in every sense of the word, so his amendment only grants TPS to Venezuelans for 18 months, and requires “congressional approval for TPS extensions,” extensions that cannot be renewed for more than 18 months at a time.”
“My amendment limits the ability of illegal aliens with no connection to the TPS designation to benefit from TPS,” said Scott, adding that recipients of the temporary protective status “cannot return to the TPS country during the period of designation”
Scott asserted that Democrats were using the “Venezuelan community as a political prop.”
Democrats pounced on Scott’s amendment and remarks.
Florida Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, two ardent supporters for TPS for Venezuela, both pointed to Scott saying that the measure “will never get done” in the senate.
Yesterday, for the 5th time, Senate Republicans blocked #VenezuelaTPS. And Florida's own @SenRickScott admitted that DC republicans would never pass it.
This is a gut punch to Venezuelans yearning for democracy and peace. https://t.co/2aG3VoiXdr
— Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@RepDMP) October 1, 2020
“This is a gut punch to Venezuelans yearning for democracy and peace,” stated Rep. Mucarsel-Powell.
The bill may come up for another vote before the end of the year, but depending on if President Trump wins re-election or not, he could sign an executive edict that will address the Venezuelan immigration issue and put an end to the partisan stalemate.