Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Reps. Soto, Diaz-Balart Introduce Bipartisan Venezuela TPS Act of 2019

Jan 17, 2019
Press Release
Legislation designates Venezuelan nationals as eligible for Temporary Protected Status


Washington, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Representatives Darren Soto (FL-09) and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) introduced the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 (H.R. 549), legislation to allow Venezuelan nationals to become eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States.

The Maduro regime has perpetrated egregious human rights abuses and corrupted Venezuela’s once democratic institutions, leading to an economic, humanitarian, and security crisis and forcing millions of Venezuelans to seek refuge abroad. Under TPS, Venezuelans would be shielded from deportation and granted work authorization, allowing for individuals to pay taxes and contribute to their communities. The Venezuela TPS Act also allows for individuals to travel abroad for emergencies and extenuating circumstances.

Stated Rep. Soto: “The now illegitimate Presidency of Nicolás Maduro has only brought suffering and despair to the people of Venezuela. During Maduro’s tyrannical rule, Venezuela’s economy has deteriorated at alarming rates, causing a scarcity of basic foods and medicine in the country. The whole world has witnessed Maduro’s blatant disregard for human rights, including arbitrary arrests, media censorship, imprisonment of the opposition, and the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters. For these reasons, Venezuela should be added as a country designated for TPS as a way to help protect our brothers and sisters escaping Maduro’s terror. I thank my colleague Rep. Diaz-Balart for joining this bipartisan effort to assist the millions of Venezuelans who now call Florida home.”

Stated Rep. Diaz-Balart: “For years, the Venezuelan people have suffered under the oppression of the Chavez-Maduro regime. Hyperinflation, drastic shortages, and egregious human rights abuses have forced many Venezuelans into exile, and the conditions in Venezuela remain too perilous for them to return. Political opposition leaders are imprisoned, and some have died under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, Maduro’s thugs abduct, detain, and imprison protesters, while his state police and intelligence services use violence, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests to silence them. I am grateful to be able to provide a solution to so many who are escaping Maduro's totalitarian regime. For this reason, I proudly join my Florida colleague Congressman Soto in introducing bipartisan legislation to allow Venezuelan nationals living in the United States to become eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). We must not force Venezuelans who have sought safety in the United States to return to such dangerous conditions.”

The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 would support Venezuelan individuals fleeing their country by:  

  • Allowing legal stay in the United States and protection from deportation.
  • Permitting an employment authorization document (EAD).
  • Allowing travel authorization.
  • Designating an 18-month period of automatic eligibility, upon TPS enactment.