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Advocates want to offer Venezuelan immigrants the same 'safe, legal, and orderly' welcome as Ukrainian refugees

William Diaz, founder of Casa de Venezuela of Orlando, spoke during a press conference over Zoom on Wednesday.
William Diaz, founder of Casa de Venezuela of Orlando, spoke during a press conference over Zoom on Wednesday.

A coalition of Venezuelan American organizationsis urging the federal government to allow people fleeing the political and economic turmoil in Venezuela to get the kind of humanitarian parole offered Ukrainian refugees.

Ukrainian refugees can apply online, get paired with a financial sponsor, come to the U.S., and live and work here for two years.  The Federal Register describes Uniting for Ukraine, or U4U, as "a safe, legal, and orderly pathway to support vulnerable Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members in Europe."

The Biden administration is said to be considering a similar option for Venezuelans as more and more of them cross the southern border and seek asylum. The Associated Press says the new plan could come with an immediate return to Mexico for Venezuelans illegally crossing the border.

The Venezuelan American Alliance and other groups are calling their proposal Volunteering for Venezuela, or V4V, based on a public policy recommendation from the Niskanen Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

Casa de Venezuela of Orlando founder William Diaz said many are eager to participate.

"I'm getting calls from a lot of people that has families in Venezuela or Venezuelans living in another country -- particularly in some sort of South American countries -- that are anxious to find out, because they would love to benefit from ideas like that," he said during a press conference Wednesday.


Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.