October 16, 2020
Expulsion of Venezuelans using indirect flights could violate United States law and policy
Deportations underscore the Trump administration’s hypocrisy toward the victims of the Maduro regime
WASHINGTON – He Senator Bob Menéndez (DN.J.), Senior Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today he demanded the Trump Administration to account for secret deportations of Venezuelan citizens during fiscal year 2020 in possible violation of US laws and policies. Menéndez asked the Administration to immediately provide Congress with details on previously undisclosed deportations carried out using stopover points in Trinidad and Tobago.
“New documents provided to my office confirm that the deportations from the United States to Venezuela continued through third countries until at least March 2020, although the Trump Administration has offered little assurance that it will not continue to hand over Venezuelans to a regime that United Nations recently determined has committed crimes against humanity ”, Senator Menéndez wrote him Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and the Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy and Plans of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf.
Likewise, the letter outlines the Senator’s concern as the Administration’s deportation flights appear to have continued for many months after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned foreign passenger air transportation. to or from any airport in Venezuela beginning in May 2019. Earlier this year, Copa Airlines was fined for operating similar flights between the United States and Venezuela using stopovers in Panama.
“US law strongly prohibits the forcible return of refugees to a place where their lives or freedom would be threatened; US regulations have suspended all air travel to Venezuela; and US foreign policy must be based on counteracting systematic human rights abuses by the Maduro regime. The continued deportation of Venezuelan citizens by the government appears to violate each of these policies “, added Menéndez.
Last month, for the fifth time since early 2019, Senate Republicans blocked Venezuela’s Temporary Protected Status Act of 2019, rejecting the U.S. government’s proportion of support for Venezuelans, denying legal protection to approximately 200,000 Venezuelans in the United States and allowing the Trump administration to continue to forcibly return them to the Maduro regime. After being blocked, Menéndez vowed to keep returning to the Senate floor until Republicans had the nerve to expose Venezuelans to the Trump Administration’s deportation forces.
You can find a copy of the letter HERE.
Juan Pachon (202) 224-4651