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“Senator Rubio has had numerous opportunities to support TPS for Venezuelans,” Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said.

On Oct. 27, Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell urged Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to stand with Venezuelans living in the US and support Temporary Protected Status (TPS). 

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“Senator Rubio has had numerous opportunities to support Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans, and he has refused. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans would be protected if the Republican-controlled Senate or Trump supported our legislation to grant TPS to Venezuelans,” said Rep. Mucarsel-Powell. “If Senator Rubio truly wants to stand with the Venezuelan people yearning for democracy, he will support TPS and ask the Trump administration to do the same.” 

Rep. Mucarsel-Powell’s comments came in response to Sen. Rubio’s letter to President Donald Trump in which he asked him to exercise his constitutional authority and grant Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to eligible Venezuelan nationals currently in the US.

What Is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) provides temporary immigration status to nationals of specifically designated countries experiencing an ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Foreigners with TPS can remain in the US and work without fear of deportation. 

The Trump administration currently allows TPS for foreigners from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. 

On Sept. 30, Senate Republicans blocked TPS once again for Venezuelans. 

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“Nicolás Maduro is a dictator—plain and simple,” Sen. Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) said on the Senate floor last month. “His regime is a cruel criminal cabal that has destroyed Venezuela. Some 200,000 Venezuelans currently live in the United States without legal status. They are unable to safely return to their homeland and would benefit from Temporary Protected Status. I believe we have to do the right thing. We must uphold American values and offer them protection.” 

In Rubio’s letter to Trump, he said he was “alarmed” to learn that at least 188 Venezuelans, some of whom reportedly did not have a criminal record, were deported from the US this year. Rubio requested Trump sign DED for Venezuelans to prevent their deportation.  

What Is DED? 

Deferred Enforced Departure or DED is a discretionary decision made by the President to protect a class of individuals from removal. According to the Congressional Research Service, DED has been used five times since 1990 and, most recently, for Liberia.

What Is the Difference Between TPS and DED?

According to Penn State Law, TPS and DED’s main difference is who passes the legislation and benefits of each program. TPS originates from a statute enacted by Congress and is used to protect people temporarily from removal.

TPS beneficiaries receive a stay of deportation and work authorization. By contrast, DED does not have a statutory basis but is derived from the presidential powers in the US Constitution. DED beneficiaries receive a tenuous status, akin to prosecutorial discretion, and work authorization. 

Rubio added that DED “does not provide status pursuant to federal immigration law but does enable an individual to legally work in the country for the duration of the designation.”