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Florida Leaders Call on Trump to Extend TPS Protections for Venezuelan Asylum Seekers Ahead of FIU Visit

Representatives for Maduro and Guaido are currently in Norway working with mediators to try to broker a solution to the ongoing conflict.
Representatives for Maduro and Guaido are currently in Norway working with mediators to try to broker a solution to the ongoing conflict.

Republican and Democratic leaders in Florida are calling on President Trump to extend a kind of temporary visa to Venezuelans before his visit to Florida International University today.

Democratic Congresswoman Donna Shalala was joined by other Florida Democrats in calling for an extension of Temporary Protected Status visas for Venezuelan asylum seekers already living in the country or those who might flee the Maduro regime and immigrate to the United States.

Shalala says if he doesn't, Congress is prepared to pass bipartisan legislation that would automatically extend these protections to asylum seekers from the South American country for another 18 months.

"I have challenged the President not to come to South Florida without announcing the extension of TPS. While we've supported many of the moves of this administration for political and economic sanctions, it's very important that we protect the Venezuelans that are here and living in our community.

[audio mp3="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/13001_VENEZUELA_DANIELLE.mp3"][/audio]

Democratic Congressman Darren Soto who sponsored the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 in the House said it's contradictory for Trump to acknowledge Juan Guido as leader of Venezuela and to offer aid in the form of food and medical supplies, but to deport Venezuelan asylum seekers in the United States.

"We call upon President Trump to stop the deportations of Venezuelan refugees in both Florida and the United States.”

[audio mp3="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/darren.mp3"][/audio]

In a statement, Republican Marco Rubio, who sponsored the Venezuela TPS Act of 2018 in the Senate, said:

“Granting this protection will provide a temporary solution to many Venezuelans who fear returning to their homeland due to the ongoing crisis and extraordinarily difficult conditions.”

That's because under a TPS visa, a person can live, work, and travel within in the United States while having to fear being detained or deported.

According to the United Nations, there are currently more than 72,000 asylum seekers from Venezuela living in the United States.
If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.