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As the Senate drags its feet to give relief to an estimated 200,000 Venezuelans currently living in the U.S. through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), conditions in Venezuela continue to deteriorate. Abraham Mahshie for the Palm Beach Post details calls for the U.S Senate to pass a version of the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 and uplifts the personal stories of Venezuelans impacted by the Maduro regime’s stranglehold.
Republicans, including Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, support providing refuge to Venezuelans but have linked it to setting TPS limits on people from other countries.
A decade ago, at age 21, Juan José Correa-Villalonga was deported back to Venezuela despite threats against his life for his family’s speaking out against the regime of Hugo Chávez. To survive, he had to live in hiding in Caracas for two years while his mother, who remained in Florida, successfully worked to win him political asylum in America.
… When it was his turn to speak, Correa-Villalonga, passionately called on the lawmakers to provide Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans seeking safe haven in America from Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro. He said the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is a matter of life and death for his countrymen.
“People come here desperate and they don’t have any resources to hire an attorney,” he said. “They’re being deported left and right.”
… Republicans, including Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, support providing refuge to Venezuelans but have linked it to setting TPS limits on people from other countries. House Democrats blasted the linkage, and say it will be a campaign issue in next year’s election.
… What they are waiting on is U.S. Senate passage of a companion bill to the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019. That measure, which would provide safe harbor to approximately 200,000 Venezuelans currently living in the United States but at risk of deportation, was approved by the Democratic-led House in July.
… It hasn’t happened because the U.S. Senate version stalled over an insistence by Scott and the Republican majority to couple granting of TPS protection to Venezuelans to a requirement that TPS coverage for all foreign nationals in the United States be revisited every 18 months.
… At issue is a policy divide, to be sure, but one with implications for the 2020 elections. In South Florida, where Weston has been dubbed “Westonzuela” for its large Venezuelans population, there are an estimated 60,000 Venezuelan-Americans who are registered to vote.
… Pelosi came to Weston this month. In February, Trump delivered a speech on the issue at Florida International University, close to the city of Doral, another Venezuelan stronghold. In that speech, Trump called on Venezuelan leaders to drop their support of Maduro’s dictatorship and stated “all options are open.”
… Eight months later, regime change efforts to remove Maduro and replace him with a government led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó have not panned out. What’s more, national security adviser John Bolton, a bonafide Venezuela hawk, is out from the Trump administration. And the GOP is being accused of stalling TPS for Venezuelans…