House Passes ‘Temporary’ Amnesty for Venezuelans
By Preston Huennekens | July 2019
This week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 549, the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019. This bill would essentially amnesty thousands of Venezuelan nationals, many of whom are here illegally.
The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program was established as a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country as a result of a natural disaster, civil violence, or other extraordinary conditions making the country “unable, temporarily, to adequately handle the return of its nationals.” Unfortunately, the program rewards illegal aliens already in the U.S. with protected status — a practice, which has resulted in decades of abuse, as presidents of both parties rarely rescind the status even after home-country conditions improve. When President Trump sought to end TPS protections for Honduras and Nepal, activists filed multiple lawsuits.
In this case, the House of Representatives usurped executive authority by passing a bill that would grant protections for Venezuelans in the United States. The bill was originally considered under suspension of House rules earlier in the week, meaning that it required a 2/3 majority to pass. In an effort to kill the bill, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) called for a roll call vote, resulting in its failure by a vote of 268-154, with 37 Republicans voting alongside every Democrat.
Undeterred, Democratic House leadership brought the bill back to the floor under a closed rule for a vote on Thursday. Needing only a simple majority, it passed by a vote of 272-158, with 39 Republicans surprisingly voting in favor:
The FAIR-opposed bill now heads to the Senate, where it is unlikely that it receives a vote. Additionally, President Trump hinted that he may veto this legislation if it somehow reaches his desk.