Venezuela TPS Act Passes House Judiciary Committee

May 23, 2019
Press Release
H.R. 549 designates Venezuelan nationals as eligible for Temporary Protected Status

Washington, DC  – The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary passed the Venezuela TPS Act (H.R. 549), legislation introduced by Representatives Darren Soto (FL-09) and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), which designates Venezuelan nationals as eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States. The bipartisan legislation will now be considered by the full House of Representatives as the first ever standalone bill granting TPS.

“The growing turmoil and dire humanitarian crisis in Venezuela under Maduro’s tyranny is forcing millions into exile,” said Congressman Darren Soto. “In Florida alone, there are hundreds of thousands political-asylum seekers who face persecution and even death upon return to their country. With the historic passage of this bill out of Committee, we are acknowledging the struggle of the Venezuelan people and working to lend a helping hand. The whole world continues to witness Maduro’s blatant disregard for human rights, including arbitrary arrests, media censorship, imprisonment of the opposition, and the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters. It is our moral duty to help those escaping this terror.

We’re encouraged by the passage of legislation to help Venezuelans out of both Chambers’ Committees and urge leadership to promptly allow for a full vote. As this bill advances, it is poised to become the first legislative project ever to grant TPS out of Congress,” Rep. Soto concluded.

"In January of this year, Rep. Soto and I filed the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019,” said Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. Subsequently, in March, we announced that we would introduce legislation to amend the DREAM Act that would add Venezuela TPS to the bill language. Today, I am pleased that the House Committee on the Judiciary passed our bipartisan Venezuela TPS Act of 2019. This critically important bill would provide Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan nationals who currently reside in the United States after fleeing the oppressive, socialist Maduro dictatorship. Due to the brutality, corruption, extreme shortages of food and medicine, crime, and near total collapse of Venezuela’s economy, it would be unconscionable to force those who fled the dictatorship to return now.

“I urge the Democratic Leadership to bring this important legislation to the floor, and I commend my dear friend and colleague, Representative Soto, on his hard work in bringing attention to this legislation that would meet the acute need to provide Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan nationals in the United States. I look forward to continuing to work with him, other colleagues, and the administration until this important bill is passed by the House and becomes law,” Diaz-Balart added

The Venezuela TPS Act is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 30 U.S. Representatives, including  Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep Bonamici, Suzanne [OR-1], Rep Boyle, Brendan [PA-2], Rep Castor, Kathy [FL-14], Rep Cicilline, David [RI-1], Rep Crist, Charlie [FL-13], Rep Curtis, John [UT-3], Rep Dean, Madeleine [PA-4], Rep Deutch, Theodore [FL-22], Rep Espaillat, Adriano [NY-13], Rep Evans, Dwight [PA-3], Rep Garcia, Chuy [IL-4], Rep Gonzalez-Colon, Jenniffer [PR], Rep Haaland, Debra [NM-1], Rep Hastings, Alcee [FL-20], Rep Levin, Andy [MI-9], Rep Moulton, Seth [MA-6], Rep Mucarsel-Powell, Debbie [FL-26], Rep Murphy, Stephanie [FL-7], Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC], Rep Phillips, Dean [MN-3], Rep Scanlon, Mary Gay [PA-5], Rep Shalala, Donna [FL-27], Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-8], Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9], Rep Trone, David [MD-6], Rep Velazquez, Nydia [NY-7], Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-23], Rep Wild, Susan [PA-7].

The Senate companion bill, S.636 Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is cosponsored by Sen Booker, Cory [D-NJ], Sen Cardin, Benjamin [D-MD], Sen Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV], Sen Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL], Sen Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN], Sen Leahy, Patrick [D-VT], Sen Rubio, Marco [R-FL], and Sen Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD].