Today, the House Committee on the Judiciary passed H.R. 549, Venezuela TPS Act of 2019, legislation that would provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans living in the United States. As an original cosponsor of the bill, Rep. Shalala has repeatedly called for TPS for Venezuelans, whether by legislative or executive action.
“With the passage of this bill out of Committee, we are one step closer toward pushing Venezuelan TPS through both chambers in Congress and sending it to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Thousands of Venezuelans are coming from a country that is experiencing an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis, and they cannot return safely,” said Rep. Shalala. “Corruption, evil policies, bad governance, and the pure incompetence of the Maduro regime have led to the total collapse of Venezuela’s economy. We must protect the Venezuelans who are living here. TPS has bipartisan support in Congress, and this administration could grant TPS to Venezuelans with a stroke of a pen, but they continue to delay. The time to act is now—Venezuelans can’t wait any longer.”
The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 would support Venezuelans fleeing their country by:
- Allowing legal stay in the United States and protection from deportation.
- Permitting an employment authorization document (EAD).
- Allowing travel authorization.
- Designating an 18-month period of automatic eligibility, upon TPS enactment.
In March, the House passed H.R. 920, Venezuela Arms Restriction Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Shalala to prohibit the export of defense articles and crime control materials from the United States to the security forces of Venezuela. With Shalala’s support, the House also passed two bills introduced by South Florida Representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) that will provide $150 million in humanitarian aid directly to the Venezuelan people and conduct a threat assessment of Russian influence in Venezuela and its impact on the United States and our allies, respectively.
In addition to granting TPS for Venezuelans, Rep. Shalala has introduced a bill to extend TPS for Nicaraguans and remains committed to extending status to those from El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and other groups currently designated for TPS.