Report: State Department Debates Florida Sanctuary for Venezuelans


Officials at the Department of State are trying to decide whether to help Venezuela’s socialist regime by allowing opponents to get sanctuary in Florida’s real estate and job markets, according to an article in the Daily Beast.

“Team Trump moved to end “Temporary Protected Status” for people from half a dozen countries. Now there’s debate about extending it to Venezuelans—and the pushback has begun,” according to the article.

TPS status provides renewable work permits and legal status for migrants, allowing them to set up home in the United States without getting a green card. Amid the turmoil, many Venezuelans have already used tourist visas to flee into Florida. The article continues:

Some Trump administration officials say they fear TPS would result in more immigration to the U.S. from Venezuela, weakening opposition to Nicolas Maduro’s government by providing to some of its fiercest challengers an incentive to leave the country. One official involved in the interagency discussions called it “the Maduro protection plan.”

The Daily Beast provides no evidence that the Department intends to offer TPS to Venezuelans, saying only, “Officials have explored the process in great detail, according to the communications, but there is not consensus in the department on the issue.”

But Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio wants to welcome migrants, according to the article. “Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, backs legislation to provide TPS to Venezuelans, even though the administration can do so without any Congressional support.

Democrats are pushing for the sanctuary program, according to Fox News.

In a telephone press conference Monday, Florida congressional Democrats called on Trump to allow Venezuelans in the U.S. to be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a renewable humanitarian program that spares foreign nationals from deportation and allows them to work here if they are from a country deemed unsafe to return. Congress created TPS in 1990.

“The state of Florida is the home to thousands of Venezuelans, many are facing deportation to a country that has literally falling apart,” said [Democratic] Rep. Donna Shalala. “It’s very important that TPS be extended to that community. I have challenged the president not to come to South Florida without announcing the extension of TPS.

“We supported much of this administration for its political and economic sanctions,” Shalala said. “It is very important that we keep the Venezuelans that are here living in our community.”

The potential quasi-amnesty for the many Venezuelans who have fled from their nation’s collapse would be a boon for Florida’s real estate investors, retailers, construction CEOs, and healthcare providers. But the migrant Venezuelans who would drive up rental costs and nudge down salaries are not citizens, and cannot help President Trump in 2020.

In fact, any Trump offer of TPS — and even the leaked proposal to offer TPS — gives many Venezuelans a reason to flee the dictatorship, even as Trump tries to turn those possible migrants against the dictator, Nicolás Maduro.

On February 18, for example, Breitbart reported a speech given by Trump and aimed at Venezuela’s dictatorship.

“A new day is coming in Latin America, it is coming,” Trump said as he took the stage in a speech to Florida International University, speaking directly to the Venezuela-American population.

Trump singled out Maduro for blocking American humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan people and condemned his reign of terror under socialist principles.

“Let your people go, set your country free!” he said, asserting that Maduro’s socialist policies had failed.

Trump showed strong support for Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaido, urging Venezuela to stand behind his claim to rule.

“Maduro is not a Venezuelan patriot…he is a Cuban puppet,” Trump said.

He urged all Americans to reject socialism and continue supporting democracy and freedom in Latin America — especially in countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

“Socialism by it’s very nature does not respect borders, it does not respect boundaries or the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbors,” he said. “It’s always seeking to expand to encroach and to subjugate others to its will.”

Trump is already working to shut down the TPS program for migrants who have been in the United States, sometimes for decades.

The roughly 300,000 migrants come from Nepal and Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan, Haiti and Honduras. Pro-migration lawyers are suing to block the decision.

Trump’s policy against TPS matches his Inauguration Day promise of a “Hire American” economic policy.

The Daily Beast report concluded:

Providing TPS protection to Venezuelans in the U.S. would depart from the administration’s pattern of rolling back policies that block deportations –– a change that would frustrate immigration hawks and cheer people who advocate for more welcoming immigration policies.

Read the Daily Beast article here.


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