During his State of the Union address, President Trump claimed solidarity with the Venezuelan people and opposition to the Maduro regime despite offering Venezuelans here in the U.S no refuge or reprieve from deportation. Yesterday, in an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel, UnidosUS senior Immigration policy advisor Carlos Guevara called for Trump to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans fleeing their country so that they are not deported back to the very dangers the President decries.
Excerpts from Guevara’s op-ed are below and available in full here:
At his State of the Union address last week, President Donald Trump welcomed surprise guest Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s opposition leader, and he reiterated that the administration stands with Guaidó and the Venezuelan people as the country’s crisis continues.
If the Trump administration is truly “united with the Venezuelan people,” as Trump said in the Feb. 4 speech, it could prove its solidarity with a quick and easy gesture: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelan exiles escaping the dire situation in the country.
Once among the most prosperous of our South American neighbors, Venezuela has fallen into crisis in recent times. Inflation and unemployment rates have skyrocketed in the country as an estimated 90 percent of the population now lives in poverty.
… It makes no sense to deport Venezuelans back to a country where they may face the dangers of disease, economic deprivation, and some of the highest crime rates in the world, especially since throwing more people into the cauldron can’t possibly help resolve the situation.
U.S. immigration laws offer a solution via TPS, which freezes the deportation of people fleeing armed conflict, natural disaster, or “other extraordinary and temporary conditions.” In addition, it grants the right to work legally in the United States.
… As we enter 2020, these obstacles that have been in front of Venezuelan TPS may be eroding. Court rulings and other pressures have stalled the Trump administration’s push to end TPS for many other groups, which has now been extended until 2021. Thus, it’s now more likely that the Venezuelan TPS bill can be considered on its own merits.
… The Trump administration can grant TPS to Venezuelans with the stroke of a pen. If it doesn’t, the Senate should act quickly. Giving TPS to Venezuelans is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.
The author is senior policy advisor for Immigration, Policy and Advocacy for UnidosUS.