Curbelo, Soto Introduce Bipartisan Venezuelan Refugee Assistance Act

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Washington, D.C., April 26, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Representatives Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Darren Soto (FL-9) today introduced bipartisan legislation to provide immigration relief to Venezuelans that have long resided in the United States and are unable to return to their home country due to the deteriorating political conditions there. The Venezuelan Refugee Assistance Act would allow Venezuelans that arrived to the United States prior to January 1, 2013 to apply for legal permanent resident status, so long as they do not have a criminal record and have never been involved in the persecution of others. Venezuelans would have until January 1, 2021 to register for adjustment. 

“For over a decade, thousands of Venezuelans were forced to flee the brutal Chavez dictatorship, and now, the situation has not improved under his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro,” Curbelo said. “In the last few weeks alone we have seen countless examples of the regime’s thuggish tactics, unethical behavior, and lethal force against innocent civilians. Top opposition leaders, like Leopoldo Lopez, remain locked up in Maduro’s prisons while the dictator continues to stop at nothing to try and control all branches of government. Over the last several years, thousands of opposition protestors have been arrested and dozens have been left for dead or killed. This bill will allow Venezuelan nationals who have made a new home in the United States to remain here if they choose to, since it is too dangerous to return home.”

"The whole world has seen all the heartbreaking images of children suffering from malnutrition, seniors facing life threatening illnesses who have no access to medicines or appropriate healthcare, desperate mothers trying to find food in the streets to feed their families. We have seen young students dying at the hands of President Nicolás Maduro's brutal, thuggish, corrupt regime," said Soto. "Basic human rights and democracy must be restored in Venezuela. That's why I am proposing this bill with Rep. Curbelo, so our brothers and sisters from Venezuela who are already in the United States receive protected immigration status as a result of this humanitarian crisis." 

Other original co-sponsors include Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-26) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-23).

Curbelo previously introduced the Venezuelan Refugee Assistance Act in the 114th Congress. 

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