Senators propose bill to let thousands of
Venezuelans remain in U.S.
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[March 01, 2019]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican
and Democratic U.S. senators proposed legislation on Thursday that would
let an estimated 72,000 Venezuelans remain in the United States after
fleeing chaos in their country.
Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bob Menendez introduced the
legislation along with Democrats Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy and Cory
Booker. It would immediately grant "Temporary Protected Status" to allow
Venezuelans who passed security checks to remain in the United States
for 18 months.
There was no immediate indication of whether the Senate's Republican
leaders would allow the measure to come up for a vote. The bill's
backers hope that continued uncertainty in Venezuela and President
Donald Trump's support for the opposition movement seeking to oust
socialist President Nicolas Maduro will ease any resistance.
Trump has generally been an immigration skeptic, and his administration
has pushed to end TPS status for other immigrant groups, including
Salvadorans, Hondurans and Haitians.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The International Rescue Committee, which urged the Trump administration
to provide the TPS designation for Venezuelans earlier this week, has
estimated that there are 72,000 Venezuelans currently in the United
States who would be allowed to remain and work under the program.
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Senator Marco Rubio questions witnesses before the Senate
Intelligence Committee hearing about "worldwide threats" on Capitol
Hill in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua
The humanitarian nongovernmental organization has said that more
than 3.4 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015 as
its economic crisis has deepened, and estimated that more than 5
million will be displaced by this time next year.
Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of
Representatives by Republican Mario Diaz-Balart and Democrat Darren
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Roberta
Rampton; editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
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