Durbin, Menendez Statement on Biden Administration's Decision to Grant TPS to Venezuelans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the below statement in reaction to the Biden Administration’s announcement that it will designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS): 

“Today’s welcome announcement by the Biden administration reaffirms American support for the Venezuelan people. For years, the world watched in horror as man-made humanitarian and political crises turned Venezuela into a failed state—leaving the Venezuelan people to face political violence and without access to food, water, and electricity. Despite these disastrous and dangerous conditions, Venezuelans were still forcibly deported back to their country by the Trump Administration. 

“Today’s action ensures that more than 300,000 Venezuelans in the United States can receive temporary legal status so they will not be forced to return to such terrible conditions and brings stability to these Venezuelan families.”

While former President Trump refused to grant Venezuelans TPS during his four years in office, Senate Republicans repeatedly blocked Durbin’s and Menendez’s Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act, allowing the Trump Administration to continue forcefully returning them back to the Maduro regime. 

Established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from deportation and the opportunity to apply for a work permit for eligible foreign nationals from certain countries who are unable to return safely to their home country due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions. 

In 2018, Durbin traveled to Venezuela where he met with then-President Nicolas Maduro, members of the opposition including Juan Guaidó, the President of the National Assembly, the Ministers of Health and Nutrition, business leaders, civil society groups, doctors, and humanitarian organizations.