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Crist, Fried back temporary protected status for Venezuelans

Charlie Crist AP.jpeg
Chris O'Meara
/
AP
Rep. Charlie Crist called for President Joe Biden to extend protected status for Venezuelans in the United States.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidates are calling for President Joe Biden to extend temporary protected status for Venezuelans in the U.S.

In a conference call Thursday, Congressman Charlie Crist said conditions haven’t improved in a “violent, socialist” Venezuela since Biden first issued a temporary-protected status executive order for Venezuelans in March 2021.

“We should be doing all that we can to support the survivors of the Chavez and Maduro regime who are here,” Crist said in a call that also included representatives of the Florida Immigrant Coalition and Immigration Hub and state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Miami Democrat running for Congress.

“We must stand firm that the way out of this crisis is with free and fair elections in Venezuela and we will keep up sanctions on the regime’s corrupt officials and Venezuela's energy sector,” Crist continued.

On Wednesday, Crist’s gubernatorial primary opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, supported an extension. “The Venezuelan people are an integral part of our society, and deserve the opportunity to live and flourish under our democracy,” Fried said in a statement.

The Biden Administration has until Monday to act on temporary protected status, or TPS, which allows Venezuelans to live and work in America legally. The protection is set to expire in September.

The International Organization for Migration has estimated that more than 6 million people have left Venezuela because of political turmoil and a humanitarian crisis. More than 240,000 Venezuelan refugees living in the United States have applied for temporary protected status since Biden signed the executive order in March 2021.

In March, 15 members of Florida’s congressional delegation, representing both parties, urged Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to extend and redesignate TPS for Venezuelans due to the “political instability caused by Maduro’s authoritarian regime.”