House passes TPS for Venezuela
On a second trip to the House floor in a week, HR 549 (the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019) was passed by the House with a bipartisan vote of 272-158. The bill failed to obtain two-thirds of the House for suspension calendar passage on July 23 and was resurrected by sponsors on July 24 for reconsideration in the House under a simple majority vote for passage.
As summarized by Congressional Quarterly:
This bill grants temporary protected status (TPS) to Venezuelans in the United States for an initial period of 18 months. It expresses the sense of Congress that Venezuela’s economic, humanitarian, security, and refugee crisis has resulted in extraordinary and temporary conditions that currently prevent Venezuelan nationals from safely returning to Venezuela.
Under the measure, to be eligible for TPS status the individual must have been continuously present in the United States since the bill’s enactment, be otherwise admissible to the United States as an immigrant, and register for TPS status with the Homeland Security Department.
Individuals granted TPS status under the bill may travel outside the United States as long as he or she demonstrates than an emergency or an extenuating circumstance beyond their control requires them to travel.
The bill requires TPS applicants to pay a surcharge of $360 in addition to any other application fees, although the Homeland Security secretary could waive the surcharge.
Besides being yet another immigration bill passing either body of Congress, this bill uniquely “legislates TPS” status for Venezuela outside the existing executive process. Advocates hope that strong passage in the House will encourage the Senate to act quickly, perhaps as soon as next week before August recess.