Durbin Speaks With Venezuelans About Need For Senate To Pass Bipartisan, House-Passed Venezuela TPS Legislation

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, today spoke via conference call with Venezuelans in Illinois and around the country on his efforts to pass the bipartisan, House-passed Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 in the U.S. Senate.  The legislation would designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and protect approximately 200,000 Venezuelan nationals in the United States from deportation.  They also discussed the increasingly dire situation in Venezuela, made worse by the coronavirus and further political repression.     

Durbin and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) have repeatedly made unanimous consent (UC) requests to immediately pass this legislation on the Senate floor, but Senate Republicans have blocked every request.  This bipartisan bill passed the House more than one year ago, on July 29, 2019.  This legislation is only needed because the President, who could immediately grant TPS to Venezuelans without Congressional action, refuses to do so.

“Ironically, while the President’s State Department has issued travel warnings advising Americans not to visit Venezuela because of the danger, this President still won’t protect Venezuelans in the U.S. who are afraid to return to their home country.  And while Senate Republicans could pass the bipartisan House bill to grant Venezuelans Temporary Protected Status, they refuse,” Durbin said.  “However, I will not stop advocating for Venezuelans and fighting for this legislation with my Democratic colleagues until it is the law of the land.” 

In February 2019, Durbin and Menendez, along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019, a bill to immediately grant TPS for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home country and to strengthen migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela. 

Last month, Durbin, Menendez, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) led a group of 23 Senators in again calling on President Trump to support the victims of the Maduro regime by granting TPS to Venezuelans fleeing the political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in their home country.

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