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Senators Say Trump Won't Grant Venezuelans Temporary Protected Status

VenMigrants.jpg
Tim Padgett
/
WLRN.org
Recently arrived Venezuelan migrants lining up for food aid at a Doral church in 2017.

Last month President Trump said he was considering granting Venezuelans living in the U.S. Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. But it turns out it was best those Venezuelans didn’t get their hopes up.

In Washington, Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Bob Menendez said in a joint statement Tuesday that the Trump administration has told them it will not grant Venezuelans Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. TPS allows migrants to stay in the U.S. due to dangerous conditions back in their countries.

Venezuelans had hoped to receive TPS because Venezuela is suffering the worst economic collapse in the world today - and because the U.N. just accused the country’s authoritarian socialist regime of what it called “grave” human rights violations.

Although Trump had said Venezuelan TPS was possible, he's also long indicated he wants to scale back if not do away with the federal TPS program. He’s tried to eliminate it for several other migrant communities, including Haitians and Central Americans. Federal judges have so far blocked him.

On Venezuela, Durbin and Menendez criticized Trump for calling it a dangerous place to live – yet forcing Venezuelan exiles to return there. They called for support of bills now in Congress that would grant Venezuelans TPS. But it’s questionable now if Trump would sign them if they passed.

More than 300,000 Venezuelans are estimated to live in the U.S. The vast majority live in Florida and especially South Florida, which is home to the country's largest Venezuelan expat community. In the past four years some 4 million Venezuelans - more than a tenth of the South American country's population - have fled Venezuela and its humanitarian crisis.