Menendez renews pressure to protect Venezuelans from deportation
“TPS is based in the statute and is a statutory immigration status, rather than a deferred forced departure. This is why we are relaunching our campaign to truly stand up for those fleeing the misery caused by the Maduro regime. ” law Project, Shared first with POLITICO.
Democrats were quick to point out that Trump’s last-minute move to offer DED does not replace the need to award TPS to Venezuelans. While both the Deferred Departure Program and TPS allow recipients to live and work in the United States legally, immigration experts say the designation of protected status is written into the law and has a certain legal framework behind it. The Department of Economic Development is not an immigration status and it is awarded at the discretion of the President.
Menendez, Democrats and Republicans in Florida have lobbied for years for TPS to be awarded to Venezuelans, but efforts to persuade Trump or pass it into the legislation have failed. In 2019, the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill to grant TPS to Venezuelans. But the legislation was stuck in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Now, Menendez feels confident that Congress can get things done with the Democrats in the majority and that the Biden administration supports the effort. President Joe Biden has repeatedly said while campaigning that he will extend the temporary protection regime to Venezuelans.
Expanding the status to include Venezuelans would protect some 200,000 Venezuelans in the United States from deportation, according to Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
TPS is used to protect migrants who come from countries devastated by natural disasters or armed conflicts. It is the same temporary legal status that the Trump administration announced it would stop in 2018 for more than 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan and Nepal over the next few years. Under the Biden immigration plan, TPS recipients will be eligible for automatic green cards.
The bill – co-sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (Democrat), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) And Corey Booker (DNJ) – represents another effort by senior Democrats to place immigration as a central issue now that Biden is in office. Menendez is also leading Senate efforts to pass the Biden Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and address the root causes of immigration from Central America.
Menendez said last week that his office plans to introduce the sweeping bill in the next three weeks, aiming to pass it this year to avoid falling into the challenges of the 2022 election year.
But despite being in the majority, the Democrats will face an uphill battle in passing a massive immigration package. Menendez has already acknowledged that any large-scale bill would require negotiations with the Republicans to get at least 10 Republican members to pass in the Senate.
Meanwhile, some Democrats and immigrant advocates are pushing for smaller bills to move quickly that would provide legal status to undocumented immigrants in the country. One push is to grant primary, unregistered workers legal status through reconciliation.
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