WASHINGTON – In light of the ongoing violence, deteriorating security situation, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela caused by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro,U.S.Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today led 24 Senators in a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that his Administration promptly designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to ensure that Venezuelan nationals currently present in the United States are not forced to return to Venezuela at this time.

“As the United States and our partners in the international community have condemned the illegitimate Maduro regime’s brutal campaign of repression, granting TPS to Venezuela is a concrete measure your Administration can immediately take to alleviate the suffering of innocent Venezuelan civilians and to demonstrate our nation’s commitment to supporting a safe democratic transition in Venezuela so that individuals can safely return home soon,” the members wrote. 

Along with Durbin, Rubio, Menendez, and Schumer, the letter was signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Tom Udall (D-NM).

Last week, Durbin, Menendez, Rubio, Leahy, and Booker introduced the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019, a bill to immediately grant TPS for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home country and to strengthen migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela.  The full text of the bill can be found here.

Full text of today’s letter to President Trump is available here and below:

March 7, 2019

Dear President Trump:

In light of the ongoing violence, deteriorating security situation, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela caused by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, we respectfully request that your Administration promptly designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to ensure that Venezuelan nationals currently present in the United States are not forced to return to Venezuela at this time.  Returning non-violent individuals back to Venezuela during this critical time of transition is not in the best long-term interests of the United States or our partners in the region. 

As you know, TPS can be granted to nationals of another country who are currently residing in the United States if returning to their country would pose a serious threat to their personal safety because of ongoing armed conflict, the temporary effects of an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.  TPS allows eligible nationals of designated countries to remain in the United States legally until the designation expires.

Venezuela clearly meets the standard for TPS as it is obviously too dangerous for Venezuelan nationals to return to their country.  It is facing simultaneous humanitarian, economic, and political crises of monumental proportions due to Maduro’s criminal regime.  The result is a failed state experiencing terrible violence and malnutrition as well as levels of disease seen only in war zones.  Those who speak in opposition to the discredited and illegitimate Maduro cabal face arrest, torture, or even death.  The ensuing human suffering has contributed to the largest refugee and migrant crisis in the Western Hemisphere. 

An individual is ineligible for TPS if he or she has a criminal background or poses a threat to national security.  The decision to deny, withdraw or terminate TPS is in the sole discretion of the U.S. Government.  Moreover, TPS does not make a beneficiary eligible for legal permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship.  When the TPS designation of a country is terminated, beneficiaries revert to the same immigration status they maintained before the designation.

As the United States and our partners in the international community have condemned the illegitimate Maduro regime’s brutal campaign of repression, granting TPS to Venezuela is a concrete measure your Administration can immediately take to alleviate the suffering of innocent Venezuelan civilians and to demonstrate our nation’s commitment to supporting a safe democratic transition in Venezuela so that individuals can safely return home soon.

Thank you for your consideration.  We look forward to your prompt reply.

Sincerely,