Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, the Miami Herald published an article highlighting the constant fear some Venezuelans are forced to endure because of the Trump administration and Republicans refusal to provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to those who’ve fled the Maduro regime and are asylum in the United States.
Latino Victory Fund Vice President Mayra Macías issued the following statement in response:
“President Trump and congressional Republicans’ refusal to extend Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans proves that they are using their plight to score cheap political points with no intention of providing relief to the Venezuelan community. Extending TPS protections for those fleeing the catastrophic conditions in their country — something Democrats continue to fight for — is the least lawmakers can do. Latino voters will see right through Trump and Republicans’ attempts to court their votes while continuing to deport their friends and families. Venezuelans in Florida and across the country deserve better.”
‘This isn’t a life:’ ICE raids didn’t happen, but a Venezuelan immigrant lives in fear
By Amanda Rosa
The Doral delivery-man gets dressed for work each morning and peers out the peephole of his front door. He sees nothing. Not even the sun is up.
He opens the door and peeks his head out, looking both ways as if he’s crossing the street.
The man, who the Miami Herald agreed not to identify because he does not have legal status, has lived in the United States for 13 years after arriving from Venezuela on a tourist visa. He said that if he is deported to his home country, he will be killed.
“This isn’t a life,” he said Sunday, as he awaited possible detention during threatened immigration raids.
Earlier in the morning, the delivery driver went to work, fearful of the raids which were supposed to take place in several cities around the country, including Miami. The raids were meant to target undocumented immigrants like himself, who have received deportation orders.
But the raids never materialized, and Sunday morning was quiet in South Florida.
Although immigrant rights groups and attorneys encouraged undocumented immigrants to stay home and not answer the door, the man took the risk, he said, because he has to pay his bills. Besides, he said, his case is peculiar. He was given a deportation order despite already having an appointment with immigration officials later this week. He showed the Herald a signed document confirming the appointment, which his immigration attorney, Sandy Pineda, also confirmed.
In May, Pineda said, an ICE officer told her client to buy a plane ticket for a direct flight from the U.S. to Venezuela without asking him any questions about his case. (Direct flights from the U.S. to Venezuela do not exist.) He must come back to the Miramar ICE office this week to prove he has an itinerary to return to his home country.
Pineda, a managing attorney at the law firm of Angel Leal, said it is unlikely he will be prioritized during raids, but he is still at risk of being deported. He could be detained because of the order to deport him, but it’s just as likely for him to be left alone because his meeting was already scheduled.
“No one’s ever safe,” Pineda said. “It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
Her client is one of millions of Venezuelans who have fled what once was one of the wealthiest nations in the Western hemisphere. The former-paramedic recalled working at a pizzeria with other Venezuelan immigrants who left their old lives behind, including their careers in journalism, engineering, architecture and law.
He and his family are known to be staunch supporters of the opposition against current Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, Pineda said. Since he arrived in the U.S., the man has been trying to apply for asylum but to no avail. He appealed every time it was denied.
He’s certain he would die if he’s deported to Venezuela because he was almost shot in the head more than a decade ago, he said.
One of the attackers told another to shoot him. One of them brought a pistol to the man’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire.
That’s when the man knew he couldn’t stay in Venezuela. “I knew perfectly that they will kill me,” he said.
He gathered his things and left a month later in September 2006. His mother, who was already a U.S. citizen, filed a petition for her son to be in the U.S. legally while he applied for asylum. His petition was unsuccessful, and he received an order of deportation in 2009.
In 2018, Pineda was able to get him a stay of deportation, allowing him to stay for a year. She said she is working to reopen his case.