The Venezuelan community in Florida recently sent a clear message to Marco Rubio and Rick Scott: It’s time to drop any opposition to granting permanent legal status to Venezuelans. While Rubio claims he supports the Venezuelan community in Florida, he admitted he won’t support a path to legal status for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans currently on TPS. Now, community leaders are calling Rubio out for abandoning them, saying he “promised to work for our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.”
A recent poll suggests half of Venezuelans in Florida will withdraw their support for Rubio and Scott if they do not support permanent immigration status for Venezuelans.
The results of the poll, released Tuesday by the Venezuelan American Alliance, show that Venezuelans showed that they expect more from the two Republican senators who represent Florida, but above all “that they fulfill what they have promised us,” [William Díaz, a community leader in Central Florida] said.
It is estimated that more than 320,000 Venezuelans qualify for TPS, with most living in Florida. But Samuel Vilchez Santiago, a young Venezuelan leader, said this “is not permanent. This is like a Band-Aid that does not solve anything. We need a permanent solution.” Vilchez Santiago said the poll shows “Venezuelan-American voters in Florida are willing to turn their backs on Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott should they vote against a path to citizenship for our community.”
In an interview with El Sentinel Orlando, Díaz said Rubio expressed he supported TPS for Venezuelans, but that the government should find a way out of Maduro’s rule and that Venezuelans then return to help rebuild Venezuela. The activist criticized the senator’s statements and said, “So, I ask him, if Castro and Díaz Canel are overthrown in Cuba tomorrow, should the Cubans go back to the island? Because if Venezuela has to be rebuilt, Cuba has to be rebuilt, and perhaps he would be a good governor of a province there on the island.“
Rubio further stated that “while Venezuelans who fled Maduro’s narco-terrorist regime cannot return home safely today, I know they are waiting for the day when they can return to their beloved homeland. That is why it is essential that we continue working with our democratic allies to ensure a Venezuela free of tyranny and ensure that this temporary status in the United States does not become permanent.”