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Today, more than 215 national, state, and local organizations in the areas of immigration, civil rights, human rights, labor, faith, and education called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to immediately designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is a humanitarian protection provides employment authorization and protection to deportation to immigrants who cannot be safely returned to their country. Read the full text of the letter here. For a backgrounder on TPS, click here.
The letter states: that “[B]eginning in April of 2017, Venezuela has faced unprecedented civil crisis, leading to an exodus of refugees; government-sanctioned persecution and killings; pervasive crime; and medicine and food shortages.” The letter continues, stating that “[v]iolent protests and demonstrations continue to this day and are coupled with an erosion in civil and human rights; press repression; use of arbitrary arrests and detention; and spontaneous riots.” Finally, the letter notes that “Venezuela’s homicide rate was 89 per 100,000 people, dramatically higher than our country’s rate of 5.3 per 100,000 people; and second only to El Salvador.”
The letter joins the growing chorus of key officials urging the administration to designate Venezuela for TPS, including 24 Senators who issued a letter last week. Additionally, Congress has introduced bicameral, bipartisan legislation to extend TPS for Venezuela. TPS would protect at least 72,000 Venezuelan nationals currently in the United States. The letter concludes by stating that, as a country, we cannot “turn our backs on those in need and we do not return people to countries where their lives or freedom would be at risk.”
You can view the full text of the letter with signatories here: http://bit.ly/TPS4Venezuela.