250 Venezuelans Leaders, Orgs Send Letter to Sens. Rubio and Scott Urging Them to Co-Sponsor SECURE Act
Letter follows a national summit of Venezuelans, Haitians and Central Americans asking Rubio and Scott to help provide permanent protections to all TPS holders
MIAMI, FL — More than 250 Venezuelan leaders and organizations from across the country sent a letter today to Senators Marco Rubio (R–FL) and Rick Scott (R–FL) urging them to co-sponsor the SECURE Act, which would provide a path to permanent residency to an estimated 650,000 TPS holders, including more than 320,000 Venezuelans, most of which live in Florida. Read the letter here.
The SECURE Act, which was introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), “needs at least one Republican co-sponsor and the support of 10 GOP senators to become law,” the letter states. It calls on Sens. Rubio and Scott to end the uncertainty by providing TPS holders from 12 countries, including Venezuela, a path to citizenship.
The average TPS holder has been in the United States for more than 20 years, contributing to the country’s economy and helping rebuild and recover from the pandemic. Yet many live in a constant state of uncertainty, needing to reapply to the program every 6 to 18 months and pay substantial fees.
The letter follows a national summit attended by hundreds of Venezuelans, business and faith leaders, media personalities and members of other TPS communities from Haiti and Central America, along with Republicans and Democrats including Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and Rene Garcia, Councilwoman Nancy Navarro, Montgomery County Councilmember, District 4, Miami-Dade Commissioner and Chairman of the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County, along with former Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo and Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Archdiocese of Miami.
Venezuelan leaders are a key constituency for Republicans in Florida and were instrumental in shaping the outcome of the 2020 elections in the state. The Venezuelan community fought long and hard for TPS designation and has worked side-by-side with both Republicans and Democrats in the process.
Maria Antonietta Diaz, President and Founder, Venezuelan American Alliance, and CEO and founder of GBS Group, said:
“To continue their development, our people need to be able to plan for the long run and to put down roots with the peace of mind that they will not have to pack their life up in a suitcase if somehow there is a change of administration that decides not to renew TPS. The stability of having a path to citizenship will allow our people to develop their potential, and that of their families, without the fear that they might be separated from their children.”
William Diaz, Founder, Casas de Venezuela National Network, said:
“We are writing this letter because TPS holders, including Venezuelans, need certainty in their lives so they can fully contribute to this country. Senators Rubio and Scott have expressed to me a strong commitment to support TPS and actions to restore democracy in Venezuela, and today we are asking them to co-sponsor the SECURE Act. The time to act is now.”
Leonard Boord, Founder of Slon Capital, an investment firm in Miami, and board member of IMPAC Fund (Florida Chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition), said:
“As a Venezuelan-American, business leader and entrepreneur, I can say that TPS holders are indispensable to our workforce and economic prosperity. They are not just employees and valuable members of our communities, they are also employers that create jobs, helping grow our workforce and boost our economy as we recover from the pandemic. They need certainty in their lives. That’s why we need you to cosponsor the SECURE Act now.”
Yaneth Galvis, Venezuelan TPS applicant, Hotline Coordinator at the Florida Immigration Coalition, said:
“I know I have protection, but this is not enough, what all TPS beneficiaries need, not just Venezuelans, EVERYONE, is permanent protection, since we know that TPS offers us protection for 18 months and we have to pay that expensive fee of $ 495 every 18 months and for each of the family members. What we need now is permanence, a path to citizenship not only for us Venezuelans who have suffered so much with that regime, that narco-tyranny, but for all TPS holders.”
The letter was signed by dozens of organizations, including: IMPAC Fund (Florida chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition), Venezuelan American Alliance, Casa de Venezuela Orlando, Proyecto Pulso, Center for Democracy and Development in the Americas (CDDA), We Are Más, Florida Immigration Coalition (FLIC) and Mujeres Latinas.