Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R.-Fla., has written to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to express his concern about the amount of time it takes to process asylum and refugee applications submitted by Venezuelan nationals.
Diaz-Balart said he was profoundly concerned about the "alarming deportations of Venezuelan nationals fleeing political persecution."
He accused Venezuela of using politically motivated human rights abuses to punish dissenters and silence critics, according to a news release.
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"I am concerned that the recent delays in processing these applications are the unfortunate result of a timid foreign policy that favors placating tyrants over assisting oppressed peoples achieve their democratic aspirations," Diaz-Balart wrote.
"It would be shameful if the administration allowed its asylum decision ... to be delayed or denied in order to placate the very tyrant that asylum applicants seek to escape."
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Although Diaz-Balart neglected to mention him by name, Hugo Chavez has been president of Venezuela since 1999.
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