Rep. Joe Garcia Asks to Stop Deportations to Venezuela

The South Florida congressman wants President Barack Obama to grant more political asylum applications from Venezuela and to stop deporting people there

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014  |  Updated 12:32 AM EDT
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The State Department said Tuesday it has expelled three Venezuelan diplomats in response to last week's expulsion of three U.S. consular officials from Caracas. NBC 6's Hank Tester reports.

The State Department said Tuesday it has expelled three Venezuelan diplomats in response to last week's expulsion of three U.S. consular officials from Caracas. NBC 6's Hank Tester reports.

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A South Florida congressman wants President Barack Obama to grant more political asylum applications from Venezuela and to stop deporting people there.
 
The Miami Herald reports that in a letter Monday to Obama, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., said Venezuelans who have lived in the U.S. may be targeted if they return home. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has blamed some of the recent clashes between his government forces and opposition demonstrators on the U.S. and other countries.

Garcia held a press conference Tuesday at Miami International Airport to talk about the situation in Venezuela. He addressed some Venezuelans' fears that they might be forced back to their native country.

“To ask these people to return to that, when we know that they have credible fear of persecution – to use the word for asylum-seekers or refugee-seekers – is unjust,” Garcia said.

Other members of Florida's congressional delegation also have called for various U.S. actions such as sanctions.

In Doral Tuesday, there were complaints that the U.S. government and the U.S. news media are ignoring Venezuela.

“The international press and the mainstream press is not, is not reporting the reality of Venezuela,” Councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera said.
 
Thousands gathered for rallies across Florida over the weekend to show solidarity with Venezuela's political opposition. More than 250,000 people of Venezuelan origin call the U.S. home, and about 40 percent of them live in Florida.

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