The Trump Administration has been trying to put an end to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for many countries including: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal and Sudan. Upon legal challenges to TPS termination, the courts have delayed termination at least temporarily. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) generally has the authority to designate a foreign country for TPS when it is not safe for individuals to return home due to ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. But Congress is taking TPS into its own hands for a “new” group – Venezuelans who are currently living in the United States.

The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 is co-sponsored by two representatives from Florida – Darren Soto (D) and Mario Diaz-Blart (R). It passed the House by a majority, but not a veto-proof two-thirds majority.

Venezuela’s economy is in a collapse and food shortages are reported. Representative Diaz-Balart stated that TPS would protect those “who have fled the oppressive Maduro dictatorship . . . until it is safe for them to return . . .”  The Congressional Budget Office reports that approximately 200,000 Venezuelans who are seeking refuge in the United States would be eligible for TPS. DHS reports Venezuelan asylum applications have grown exponentially since 2014.

President Donald Trump and Acting Director of USCIS, Ken Cuccinelli, had denied requests to institute TPS for Venezuela through an administrative process despite the Administration’s condemnation of the conditions in Venezuela. The hope is that the bi-partisan support in the House will lead to the Senate taking up and passing the bill. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in February and does have some bi-partisan support, including from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

Jackson Lewis will provide updates as they become available.

Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.