Florida lawmakers joined forces today to introduce the bipartisan Venezuela TPS Act of 2021. With this legislation, Venezuela is designated for Temporary Protected Status, which would protect an estimated 200,000 Venezuelan nationals in the United States from deportation. The TPS bill was introduced by Florida Reps. Mario Diaz Balart (R), Darren Soto (D) , and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D).
The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 passed the House of Representatives on July 25th, 2019, and Rep. Diaz Balart added that “Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans remains a top priority for me, and it continues to be crucial to the thousands of Venezuelan nationals that have sought safety in the United States after fleeing the oppressive, murderous Maduro dictatorship.”
Soto echoed in his remarks, detailing that “the whole work 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 protestors.” Because of this, Soto asserted that “until political stability and food security are restored and economic recovery is underway, designating Venezuela for TPS is the best way to show our support to refugees in Florida and across the country.”
Finally, Rep. Wasserman Schultz argued that “Venezuelans desperately need protection from the brutal Maduro regime,” and she praised the bipartisan effort “to safeguard the people who have fled this corrupt, despotic regime.”
As well, aiming a verbal jab at the Trump administration, the South Florida lawmaker expressed that “with a Biden-Harris Administration now in the White House, prospects are brighter than ever for temporary protected status, and that the Venezuelan people whom I call friends and neighbors can live without fear of deportation and being repeatedly subjected to the brutality of this violent dictator.”
The bipartisan effort comes at a partisan time when the future of the Senate hangs on the Georgia runoff election and when lawmakers are set to convene to accept or reject the certification of the November 3rd election results.