Op-ed: Senator Rick Scott

I am proud to represent Florida – the greatest melting pot in the world. Florida is an immigration state, with people from all over the world choosing to live out their version of the American dream.

As a U.S. Senator, I’ve made fighting for freedom in Venezuela and across the globe a top priority. I am working every day to fight against the genocide happening right here in our Hemisphere. Not only is Maduro murdering his citizens, but Russia, China and Iran are actively supporting Maduro’s genocide and, in doing so, gaining a foothold in our Hemisphere that presents a grave threat to our national security. 

I am glad the Trump Administration has taken a stand to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate President of Venezuela and implement strong sanctions against Maduro. On the humanitarian front, I called on President Trump in February to immediately extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans who previously came to the United States to escape Maduro’s regime.

Here’s some facts that Democrats refuse to acknowledge. TPS was never meant to be endless. It was meant to be a temporary legal status for families in need. The purpose of TPS is to provide quick relief to individuals in the United States who cannot return to their home country because of a temporary hardship – like a natural disaster or oppressive regime. Once that hardship is gone, the temporary status ends and these families can return to their home country. However, federal courts have gotten in the way of allowing the program to work as intended.

While I am disappointed that TPS for Venezuelans hasn’t happened yet, I refuse to give up.

I have proposed a common-sense solution that would immediately provide TPS to Venezuelans who have fled Maduro’s dangerous regime, and make much-needed reforms to the TPS program, which has been broken for years. My proposal has the support of Republicans in both the Senate and House, and I believe the President would sign it so we could help Venezuelans immediately.

But Democrats have repeatedly blocked my proposal from passing, and continue to use the Venezuelan community as a political prop instead of working with us to find a solution. That’s wrong. 

We need to get this program back to its original intent so we can quickly help those in need – like the Venezuelan community. We want those seeking refuge from war and oppressive regimes to have a safe haven in our country. 

My proposal fixes TPS. It puts control of TPS back in the hands of Congress instead of the courts. My proposal is the only way to help the Venezuelan people right now.

It’s clear now more than ever that the Democrats don’t actually want to get anything done on this issue. That’s why they are standing in the way.

But I will not accept this. As Americans, who would we be if we turned our backs on families suffering under genocide?

Venezuelans deserve better.

I won’t stop fighting until Venezuelans are granted TPS, and I won’t stop fighting for a free Venezuela. I hope the Democrats will join me in this fight.