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Democrats Say Sanctuary City Ban Would Hurt Venezuelan Refugees

March 18th, 2019 by Jake Stofan

Florida Democrats are using the political crisis in Venezuela to say banning sanctuary cites would actually hurt the South American refugees.

A bipartisan bill in the State Legislature would officially call on Congress to do more, but Democrats say Republicans can’t have it both ways.

Venezuelan Floridans have protested at the State Capitol, demanding more action be taken to help the people of Venezuela as the political crisis in the county worsens.

“We try to show the world the real crisis in Venezuela,” said protester Erika Rojas with Ola Tallahassee.

A bipartisan bill scheduled for a vote on the House floor this week would officially call on Congress to do more to fight against the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

“Not having food, going into the garbage, going into the gutters, laying in the street. Do we as human beings, do we like seeing this stuff? No, they’re human beings we’ve got to help them,” said Rep. John Cortes.

While supporting for the Venezuelan people isn’t a controversial political stance among Florida lawmakers, Democrats say a Republican led bill that would ban sanctuary cities in the state would harm refugees.

“It will escalate deportations of Venezuelans back to their home country where they will starve or be victims of violence,” said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

But Senator Joe Gruters, sponsor of the sanctuary city ban, says the concerns are overstated.

“Well my guess is if they’re fleeing Venezuela, they’re not criminals,” said Gruters.

Another Bill would request congress grant temporary protected status to Venezuelan refugees.

That would in theory protect them from deportation under the sanctuary city ban.

“So that those Venezuelans will rest assured when they arrive in the United States that they will not be deported back to Venezuela,” said Smith.

There are currently 38,000 Venezuelans in Florida, but that number could increase exponentially if a temporary protected status were to be granted.

In 2018 the Florida Legislature ordered the State Pension Fund to sell all of its investments in the Venezuelan Government.

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