Washington, D.C.—In response to the continued instability in Venezuela, Reps. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Alan Grayson (FL-09), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) have introduced the Venezuelan Refugee Assistance Act, H.R. 3744, to provide immigration relief to Venezuelans that have long-resided in the U.S., unable to return to their homeland:
“For the past decade, thousands of Venezuelans were forced to flee the brutal Chavez dictatorship. The situation has not improved under his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro. In the last few months alone we have seen countless examples of the regime’s thuggish tactics, unethical behavior, and lethal force. They’ve arrested top opposition leaders like Leopoldo Lopez and the Mayor or Caracas, and banned others from running for public office, like Maria Machado. They’ve also arrested over 3,000 opposition protestors in a riot that left dozens dead. This bill will help those Venezuelan nationals who have made a new home in the United States to remain here if they choose to since it is dangerous to return home.
Specifically, this legislation would address the issue by adjusting the status of Venezuelans that arrived in the U.S. prior to Jan 1, 2013 as long as they do not have a criminal record and were never involved in the persecution of others. They have until January 1, 2019 to register for adjustment.
I applaud the Venezuelan-American community in the United States for their continued efforts on behalf of the people of Venezuela and I stand in unity for their noble cause of justice and freedom and thank Rep. Grayson for his leadership throughout the years to help the Venezuelan people. I would also like to thank Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Schultz for being original co-sponsors,” said Rep. Curbelo.
“I’m proud to join my Florida colleague Rep. Carlos Curbelo in introducing this important piece of bipartisan legislation. The political turmoil in Venezuela demands that the United States do everything in its power to protect those who have been able to escape to freedom in America. We cannot in good conscience force Venezuelans to return to a country where they face arrest, torture, and execution only because they oppose the government. Granting them permanent residence status is the best, most logical way to ensure their safety. I thank Rep. Curbelo for all he has done for the Venezuelan American community, and look forward to working with him to see this legislation out of committee and onto the floor for a vote,” said Rep. Grayson.
Rep. Curbelo will be holding a press conference regarding H.R. 3744 on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 in his Miami district office.