Wall Street Journal: Elliott Abrams Still Seeking Welcome for Venezuelan Migrants

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 01: A protester holds a Venezuelan and American flag as she and other Venezuelans and their supporters show their support for the anti-government protests in Venezuela on March 1, 2014 in Miami, Florida. In Venezuela, protests over the past couple of weeks have resulted in violence …
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Elliott Abrams is still pushing the U.S. government to welcome migrants from Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan dictatorship, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reports March 18:

U.S. Special Envoy Elliott Abrams, the State Department official who is leading U.S. diplomatic efforts in the Venezuelan crisis, has advocated granting immigration relief to more than 70,000 Venezuelans in the U.S. so they won’t have to return to Venezuela against their will.

“As I have said and testified, the question is under careful review within the administration,” Mr. Abrams said when asked to comment on the email exchange. “I am confident we will reach a consensus soon.”

The statement comes after Breitbart News reported that officials have shut down Abrams’ request for a welcome policy — dubbed TPS or Temporary Protected Status — for Venezuelans now living in the United States. But more than one million Venezuelans have fled the country, and many may try to move to the United States if the U.S offers a welcome.

“We would not want to open the floodgates for them,” a White House official told Breitbart News March 13. “The Vice President, the National Security Council, and the President all share the same position, which was articulated by Ambassador [John] Bolton over the weekend, which is our priority is that Juan Guaido be elevated into power and [Nicolas] Maduro leave,” the official said.

Bolton is Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser. On March 10, Bolton told ABC News that Maduro and his aides:

…have not sought to arrest Guaido and the National Assembly and the opposition. And I think one reason for that is that Maduro fears if he gave that order, it would not be obeyed. The fact is, and the media don’t know it because people don’t talk about this, there are countless conversations going on between members of the National Assembly and members of the military in Venezuela; talking about what might come, how they might move to support the opposition.

But I do think momentum is on the side of Guaido. I think [Guaido has] the overwhelming support of the population and the overwhelming support of the enlisted personnel in the military and the junior officers.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Abrams has argued that dire humanitarian conditions would justify the move. “We have absolutely got to avoid any non-criminal deportations while we sort it out. To send some family back to [Venezuela] now would make us all laughingstocks,” Mr. Abrams wrote in a sharply worded email sent Feb. 24 to the National Security Council and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

But the senior director of the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere Affairs, Mauricio Claver-Carone, replied the same day that such a move would open the administration to charges of hypocrisy after it has rolled back such immigration protections for people from other countries.

“Understood,” he replied by email to the State Department envoy’s warning of the U.S. becoming a laughingstock. “But so would arguably sending [the] message that Maduro isn’t going anywhere and we’re in for [the] long-game. It would create [a] false sense of confidence for regime elites. Plus, it opens up inconsistencies, of which we’re going to be accused vis-à-vis other countries.”

The dispute over Venezuelan migrants comes as Democratic legislators seek asylum for Venezuelans, including at least 75,000 said to be living in Florida.

They claimed 75,000 Venezuelans arrived on short-term visas, including tourist visas, which do not allow them to work. If they take jobs or overstay their visas, they can be repatriated to Venezuela. There is no evidence that officials plan to deport Venezualans back to the dictatorship.

The push for TPS is backed by some Republicans who claim it would boost GOP support in Florida’s 2020 presidential election, a source told Breitbart News.

But there is little or no evidence that Venezuelans will vote for a low-immigration, small-government GOP, the source said. For example, Guaido’s political party, Voluntad Popular, or “Popular Will,” is a member of the Socialist International group. It wants the nation’s huge oil reserves to be extracted by private companies but also wants to use the oil funds to create a national fund.

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