Text: S.3759 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (12/13/2018)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 3759 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 3759

    To designate Venezuela under section 244 of the Immigration and 
  Nationality Act to permit nationals of Venezuela to be eligible for 
    temporary protected status under such section and to strengthen 
     internal migration systems in countries surrounding Venezuela.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           December 13, 2018

   Mr. Menendez (for himself, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Durbin, and Mr. Leahy) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
                     Committee on Foreign Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To designate Venezuela under section 244 of the Immigration and 
  Nationality Act to permit nationals of Venezuela to be eligible for 
    temporary protected status under such section and to strengthen 
     internal migration systems in countries surrounding Venezuela.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Venezuela TPS Act of 2018''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Venezuela is enduring an unprecedented economic, 
        humanitarian, security, and refugee crisis, consisting of 
        extreme food and medicine shortages, severe infant and child 
        malnutrition, rampant crime, and government-sponsored 
        repression.
            (2) Venezuela's economic crisis continues unabated and the 
        International Monetary Fund projects that inflation in 
        Venezuela could reach an annual rate of 1,000,000 percent in 
        2018.
            (3) As evidence of the humanitarian crisis created by 
        Venezuela's systemic economic turmoil--
                    (A) more than 9,000,000 people in Venezuela are 
                eating 2 or fewer meals a day; and
                    (B) approximately 75 percent of the population have 
                reported losing an average of--
                            (i) 19 pounds in 2016; and
                            (ii) 24 pounds in 2017.
            (4) Moderate to severe malnutrition among Venezuelan 
        children under 5 years of age increased by more than 50 percent 
        in 2017, and approximately 300,000 Venezuelan children are at 
        risk of dying from malnutrition, according to Caritas de 
        Venezuela, a Catholic humanitarian organization.
            (5) Pharmacies in Venezuela have shortages of approximately 
        85 percent of needed medicines and 76 percent of public 
        hospitals lack the basic medicines that should be available in 
        any functional public hospital, including those that are on the 
        World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.
            (6) As evidence of the significant effect that Venezuela's 
        economic crisis on public health, Venezuela's Health Ministry 
        reported that in 2016--
                    (A) there was a 30-percent increase in the infant 
                mortality rate; and
                    (B) there was a 65-percent increase in the maternal 
                mortality rate.
            (7) Violent crime in Venezuela has risen sharply and the 
        Venezuelan Violence Observatory, an independent nongovernmental 
        organization, calculated the national per capita murder rate to 
        be 89 per 100,000 people in 2017.
            (8) According to Citizens Council for Public Safety and 
        Criminal Justice, Caracas was the most dangerous capital city 
        in the world in 2017, with 111 murders per 100,000 residents.
            (9) According to the United Nations Human Rights Office of 
        the High Commissioner--
                    (A) Venezuelan intelligence and security forces 
                have increasingly used arbitrary arrests and detentions 
                to repress and intimidate civil society, political 
                opponents, and any voices of dissent; and
                    (B) between 2015 and 2017, at least 505 people 
                including 24 children, were executed by Venezuelan 
                security forces, leading the International Criminal 
                Court prosecutor to announce a preliminary 
                investigation into the use of excessive force in 
                Venezuela.
            (10) Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High 
        Commissioner for Human Rights, stated, ``The failure to hold 
        security forces accountable for such serious human rights 
        violations suggests that the rule of law is virtually absent in 
        Venezuela.''.
            (11) According to the United Nations High Commissioner for 
        Human Rights, more than 1,500,000 Venezuelans have fled the 
        country for reasons including violence, political oppression, 
        and the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of the Congress that--
            (1) 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; and
            (2) Venezuela should be designated under subsection 
        (b)(1)(C) of section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act 
        (8 U.S.C. 1254a) for a period of 18 months to permit nationals 
        of Venezuela to be eligible for temporary protected status in 
        accordance with such section.

SEC. 4. DESIGNATION FOR PURPOSES OF GRANTING TEMPORARY PROTECTED 
              STATUS.

    (a) Designation.--
            (1) In general.--For purposes of section 244 of the 
        Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a), Venezuela 
        shall be treated as if it had been designated under subsection 
        (b)(1)(C) of that section, subject to the provisions of this 
        section.
            (2) Period of designation.--The initial period of the 
        designation referred to in paragraph (1) shall be for the 18-
        month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this 
        Act.
    (b) Aliens Eligible.--As a result of the designation made under 
subsection (a), an alien who is a national of Venezuela is deemed to 
satisfy the requirements under paragraph (1) of section 244(c) of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)), subject to 
paragraph (3) of such section, if the alien--
            (1) has been continuously physically present in the United 
        States since the date of the enactment of this Act;
            (2) is admissible as an immigrant, except as otherwise 
        provided in paragraph (2)(A) of such section, and is not 
        ineligible for temporary protected status under paragraph 
        (2)(B) of such section; and
            (3) registers for temporary protected status in a manner 
        established by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
    (c) Consent To Travel Abroad.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
        give prior consent to travel abroad, in accordance with section 
        244(f)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
        1254a(f)(3)), to an alien who is granted temporary protected 
        status pursuant to the designation made under subsection (a) if 
        the alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Secretary of 
        Homeland Security that emergency and extenuating circumstances 
        beyond the control of the alien require the alien to depart for 
        a brief, temporary trip abroad.
            (2) Treatment upon return.--An alien returning to the 
        United States in accordance with an authorization described in 
        paragraph (1) shall be treated as any other returning alien 
        provided temporary protected status under section 244 of the 
        Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a).

SEC. 5. STRENGTHENING INTERNAL MIGRATION SYSTEMS IN COUNTRIES 
              SURROUNDING VENEZUELA.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of State, in consultation with the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, shall work with international partners, 
including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to support 
and provide technical assistance to strengthen the domestic capacity of 
countries surrounding Venezuela and in the region to provide migration 
services and asylum to eligible Venezuelan citizens--
            (1) by establishing and expanding temporary and long-term, 
        in-country reception centers and shelter capacity to meet the 
        humanitarian needs of Venezuelan migrants or Venezuelans 
        seeking asylum or other forms of international protection;
            (2) by improving migration and asylum registration systems 
        to ensure that Venezuelan migrants and Venezuelans seeking 
        asylum or other humanitarian protection--
                    (A) receive meaningful due process and access to 
                legal protections; and
                    (B) receive proper documents in order to prevent 
                fraud and ensure freedom of movement and access to 
                basic social services;
            (3) by creating or expanding a corps of trained migration 
        and asylum officers capable of--
                    (A) providing migration services; and
                    (B) evaluating and deciding individual asylum 
                claims consistent with international law and 
                obligations; and
            (4) by developing the capacity to conduct best interest 
        determinations for Venezuelan migrants to ensure that their 
        needs are properly met.
    (b) Strategy.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, shall submit a strategy describing 
plans for assisting the development of the asylum processing 
capabilities described in subsection (a) to--
            (1) the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;
            (2) the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate;
            (3) the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate;
            (4) the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of 
        Representatives;
            (5) the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of 
        Representatives; and
            (6) the Committee on Appropriations of the House of 
        Representatives.
    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--
            (1) In general.--There is authorized to be appropriated to 
        the Secretary of State $10,000,000 for fiscal year 2019 to 
        carry out the activities set forth in subsection (b), in 
        accordance with this section.
            (2) Notification requirement.--
                    (A) In general.--Except as provided under 
                subparagraph (B), amounts appropriated or otherwise 
                made available pursuant to paragraph (1) may not be 
                obligated until 15 days after the date on which the 
                President provides notice to the committees listed in 
                subsection (b)(1) of the intent to obligate such funds.
                    (B) Waiver.--
                            (i) In general.--The Secretary of State may 
                        waive the requirement under subparagraph (A) if 
                        the Secretary of State determines that such 
                        waiver is in the national interest of the 
                        United States.
                            (ii) Notification requirement.--If a waiver 
                        is invoked under clause (i), the President 
                        shall notify the committees listed in 
                        subsection (b)(1) of the intention to obligate 
                        funds under this section as early as 
                        practicable, but not later than 3 days after 
                        taking the action to which such notification 
                        requirement was applicable in the context of 
                        the circumstances necessitating such waiver.
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