[RECORDING] Venezuelans To Hold National Summit Calling on Republican and Democratic Senators to Support a Path to Citizenship for all TPS
Link to recording: https://bit.ly/32aKeJd
MIAMI, FL — Members of the Venezuelan diaspora held a virtual press conference on Tuesday, April 13, to call on Democratic and Republican senators to pass the SECURE Act, which would provide permanent protections to TPS holders from 12 countries, including Venezuela, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. During the event, organizers announced a national TPS summit to craft the path forward on the SECURE Act, which needs a Republican sponsor in the Senate, and 10 Republicans to avoid a filibuster. To sign up for the summit click here.
There are an estimated 200,000 Venezuelans eligible for TPS in Florida alone. The average TPS holder has been in the country for more than 20 years, contributing to our economy and helping us rebuild and recover from the pandemic. Many of them are mixed citizen/immigrant families who have purchased homes and opened businesses, paid taxes, attended schools and places of worship. Despite being an integral part of our communities, TPS holders live in a constant state of uncertainty, need to reapply to the program every 6 to 18 months, and pay substantial fees. It is time to end the uncertainty.
Kathy Bird Carvajal, Executive Director, IMPAC Fund, said: “We need to bring certainty to TPS holders by giving them a path to citizenship so that they can fully contribute to their communities and our economy. The SECURE Act would deliver that stability. The summit looks to bring together Republicans and Democrats so they can pass this important legislation.”
Leopoldo Martinez, President, Center for Democracy and Development in The Americas (CDDA), Chair del National Committee de Latino Victory, said: “TPS is fortunately here, late for many of these Venezuelan refugees, but here. For many, it has been several years of struggle finding ground here, whether through asylum laws, or within the complexities of a broken immigration legal system. The resilience and search for a status of the Venezuelan refugee families during these years has developed attachments to this great country, their children have become Dreamers, some of them citizens by birth. Providing economic security to thousands of Venezuelan families will help them, help their loved ones in Venezuela, and help the United States. Venezuelans that are seeking a path to permanence are talented, hard working, entrepreneurial and thousands are well trained professionals. They will contribute undoubtedly to US economic growth.”
Yaneth Galvis, Venezuelan TPS applicant, Hotline Coordinator at the Florida Immigration Coalition, said: “I came to the United States looking for safety for myself and my two daughters, I had a time of insecurity and uncertainty that caused me a lot of stress. Now I feel very encouraged, happy, and motivated to continue working on my future and that of my two daughters. I know I have protection, but this is not enough, what all TPS beneficiaries need, not just Venezuelans, EVERYONE, is permanent protection.”
Al Cardenas, Former Chair of the Republican Party of Florida and Co-Chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition and IMPAC Fund: “The first word of this program is T, which stands for temporary — and that is a challenge. Temporary status means you don’t quite put away your suitcase in case you need to leave the country. That means you’re not gonna make long-term decisions that are good for you and your family and for others. We want to urge our Senators from Florida to cosponsor and pass this important bill, a bill that would provide those with TPS status with a direct path to residency and eventually citizenship. It is a unique opportunity for our Republican Senators to embark on an important bipartisan effort.”
Maria Antonietta Diaz, President and Founder, Venezuelan American Alliance, and CEO and founder of the GBS Group, said: “As a Venezuelan-American, businesswoman and community leader, I can say that our diaspora is entrepreneurial in its core. We came to contribute to this country. 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.”
Denise Rincon, Director, Venezuelan Association of Massachusetts, Inc, said: “While Americans continue to grapple with the coronavirus crisis, an estimated 650,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders from 12 different nations, including Venezuela, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, are helping to support the nation by serving as essential workers. 64% of voters, vs. 23%, overwhelmingly support granting TPS to immigrants who have been living and working in the U.S. for many years. The SECURE Act delivers stability and a path to citizenship for TPS and DED families who have built their lives in the U.S. They have homes and businesses, attend schools and places of worship.”
Press conference hosts: 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. Event cosponsors: Casa Venezolana – Americana, Illinois Venezuelan Alliance, Venezolanos en Sanford, Asociación de Venezolanos Puerto Rico, Casa de Venezuela Jacksonville, Venezuela USA Foundation, Casa de Venezuela Atlanta, Casa de Venezuela en SW Florida, Venezuelan Association of Massachusetts, Venezuela Para Ti, Casa de Venezuela Greater Philadelphia, Casa de Venezuela Delaware, VenAmerica, Médicos Unidos Venezuela, AVA – Austin Venezuelan Association, Fundación 10 de Diciembre – USA, and Avenext.