Florida Democrats support protection and aid for Venezuelans

Today, U.S. Representatives Darren Soto and Val Demings, State Representatives Carlos Guillermo Smith and John Cortes, and Mayor of Kissimmee Jose Alvarez joined a round table hosted by Casa Venezuela to talk about efforts to support Venezuelans in the U.S. and in their country.

During the event, elected officials called on the Trump administration and Congress to take swift action to provide humanitarian relief to the people of Venezuela and urged Senator Rick Scott to cosponsor bipartisan legislation that would give Venezuelans in the United States Temporary Protected Status.

Congressman Darren Soto

“The news coming from Venezuela is more and more concerning every day. Yesterday, Roberto Marrero, Juan Guaido’s Chief of Staff Juan Guaido was kidnapped by the Maduro regime, a clear example of the persecution Venezuelans are fleeing. We are fighting in Congress and in the Senate to grant TPS for Venezuelans, and it is important that both sides join this call. It is worrying to see Senator Rick Scott refused to sign on or co-sponsor legislation that would directly benefit Venezuelans in the US. Venezuelans need all hands on this fight. If Sen. Scott cares about Venezuelans, he should take concrete actions for them.”

Congresswoman Val Demings

“Today, we are here to carry the message from the Venezuela community to Congress, and to make everything possible to bring solutions to the Venezuelan people. Venezuelans are coming to the US looking for the American Dream. People are suffering a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and they are risking their lives to come to the United States, and if we are the greatest nation in the world, we have an obligation to help Venezuelans in need. It is also crucial to put pressure on Senator Scott and ask him to take concrete actions, already on the table, to help Venezuelans.”

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

“The grinding poverty, hunger and political repression going on in Venezuela must be addressed with strong immigration protections for those who have fled here. And while individuals from so many nations — including Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador, to name just a few — also desperately need extended TPS protection, the urgency is especially acute in Venezuela. What I saw on the Colombian-Venezuelan border this month, along with the disturbing experiences regularly shared by my neighbors and constituents, have made it clear to me that we must take immediate action.”

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith

“While Republicans are all talking about Venezuela, they are also trying to pass anti-immigrant bills in Tallahassee that would impact Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro regime. Talk is cheap, we need real action, and we need to protect Venezuelans in the United States. I have filed a House Memorial that would send a message to Congress and to this administration to act immediately and provide TPS for Venezuelans in the United States, and I am glad that many of my colleagues have joined this call for Venezuelans. Actions speak louder than words”

State Representative John Cortes

“Venezuelans are coming to our country fleeing from persecution. Many of them are professionals who had to leave everything and are looking for a better future for their families. Today, we are here asking to protect them by providing a way to work and live in the United States. From Tallahassee, we are sending a strong message to this administration to grant a Temporary Protection Status to Venezuelans. The time to act is now.”

Mayor of Kissimmee Jose Alvarez

“I am an immigrant from Cuba, I have seen how these authoritarian regimes destroy people’s lives. We need to stand together and make sure democracy is restored not only in Venezuela, but also in countries like Cuba and Nicaragua. We need action, and we are here asking this administration to end the empty words and help Venezuelans in the United States.”