“TPS is based on a law and is legal immigration status as opposed to delayed forced departure. For this reason, we are restarting our campaign to actually survive with those fleeing the misery caused by the Maduro regime, ”he said of the bill, first shared with POLITICO.
Democrats were quick to point out that Trump’s short-term move to offer DED does not replace the need to provide TPS to Venezuelans. While both the Delayed Departure Program and TPS allow recipients to legally live and work in the United States, immigration experts say a protection status designation is required by law and has a specific legal framework. DED is not an immigration status and is granted at the discretion of the President.
Menendez, Florida Democrats and Republicans have been pushing for TPS to be granted to Venezuelans for years, but efforts to convince Trump or get it passed in legislation have failed. In 2019, the democratically-run house passed a non-partisan law to grant Venezuelans TPS. But legislation has been held up in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Now Menendez is confident that if the Democrats are in the majority and the Biden administration supports the effort, Congress can make it. President Joe Biden said repeatedly during his campaign that he would extend the TPS to Venezuelans.
An extension of the status to Venezuelans would, according to information, protect around 200,000 Venezuelan citizens in the USA from deportation Congressional Budget Office estimates.
TPS is used to protect immigrants coming from countries destroyed by natural disasters or armed conflict. It is the same temporary legal status that the Trump administration has announced to phase out in 2018 for more than 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan and Nepal over the next few years. Under Biden’s immigration plan, TPS recipients would be entitled to automatic green cards.
The bill, which is jointly sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) And Cory Booker (DN.J.), marks another effort by the top Democrats to keep immigration as central Subject to consider now that Biden is in office. Menendez is also leading the Senate’s efforts to pass Biden’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, which aims to provide undocumented immigrants a route to citizenship and address the root causes of migration from Central America.
Menendez said last week his office had planned to enact the comprehensive bill over the next three weeks, with the aim of getting it passed this year to avoid falling within the challenges of election year 2022.
But despite the majority, Democrats will face an uphill battle to get a big immigration package through. Menendez has already recognized that any large-scale bill requires negotiations with Republicans to get at least 10 GOP members to pass it in the Senate.
Meanwhile, some Democrats and immigrant advocates are pushing for smaller bills to be implemented quickly that would give the country’s undocumented immigrants legal status. One move is to offer undocumented essential workers legal status through reconciliation.