Jeff Chiu / AP
A federal appeals court panel ruled Monday that the Trump administration can end humanitarian protection for about 300,000 immigrants living in the United States, paving the way for their potential deportation from next year.
Decision 9 of the 9th Circuit Law affects citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, many of whom have lived in the United States for decades, have children born in the United States and are considered significant workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the end of temporary protection status, a form of humanitarian relief created by Congress and administered by the Department of Homeland Security.
The TPS grants a work permit and deferral of deportation to foreign nationals residing in the United States whose countries of origin face natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other “extraordinary and temporary circumstances” that make it uncertain for them to return.
The Trump administration ended TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan in 2017 and 2018. (It later ended TPS for Honduras and Nepal, and a separate lawsuit filed last year by citizens of those countries is ongoing.)
Several TPS recipients from the four countries and their children filed a lawsuit challenging the dismissals, both for procedural reasons and on the grounds that the rule was motivated by animus against “non-white, non-European immigrants”, as they said, was proved by comments made by Trump and other administrative officials.
A district court has previously issued a preliminary injunction. Monday’s decision by a three-judge panel in the Court of Appeal lifted the injunction, meaning that immigrants from the affected countries could be suspended from January.
Complainants and their attorneys said Monday they are preparing to appeal the decision throughout the 9th circuit.
Definition of “temporary”
The National TPS Alliance, a grassroots advocacy group, said the decision paves the way for the administration to “document and tear” 400,000 families apart.
The group explains that TPS provides protection for short periods of up to 18 months, but the federal government has continuously extended it to the countries mentioned in the trial “based on repeated findings that it is still uncertain to return.”
As a result, it said most TPS holders have lived in the United States for more than a decade and have contributed to their communities and raised their families.
Many of the more than 200,000 U.S. citizens of TPS holders have never been to the country their parents come from and had to choose between their families and their homes.
“This government has failed me and the other 250,000 U.S. citizens of TPS holders,” said Crista Ramos, chief plaintiff in the case.
The role of race
Two out of the three panel judges ruled that the plaintiffs could not prove that race animus was a factor when the administration annulled the TPS.
According to a summary of the Court’s decision:
That [judges] explained that while the district court’s findings that President Trump expressed racial animosity toward “non-white, non-European” immigrants and that the White House influenced TPS termination decisions were supported by record evidence, the district court cited no evidence, linking the president’s animus to the TPS dismissals – such as evidence that the president personally sought to influence the TPS dismissals, or that any administration official involved in the TPS decision-making process was himself motivated by the animus.
Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, expressed disappointment at the court’s refusal to acknowledge a connection between Trump’s remarks and the administration’s decision to end TPS.
“The racial animus that led to these decisions is real and cannot be ignored,” Werlin said.
Impact on families and communities
Immigration advocacy companies are hampering the court’s ruling, noting that it will affect hundreds of thousands of TPS holders as well as their families and communities.
In a statement, Werlin said the decision would “throw their lives into further turmoil at a time when we all need greater security.”
As the global pandemic continues, immigrants with protected status make up a large proportion of the country’s frontline workers. More than 130,000 TPS receivers are important workers, according to the Center for American Progress.
“TPS recipients have deep economic and social roots in communities across the country,” said Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “And when the United States responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, TPS recipients stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans and perform significant work.”
Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, the largest real estate sector association in the country, noted that thousands of such immigrants own homes and businesses and clean and protect larger properties as longtime union members.
“It is deeply disturbing and genuinely furious that the Ninth Circuit allows the Trump administration to end the temporary protected status of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan and opens the prospect of deportation for hundreds of thousands of people who have created the United States. Indicates their legal home for decades, ”said President Kyle Bragg.
Support for completion of temporary status
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for lower immigration levels, welcomed the decision as “a victory for the American people and an unmistakable reprimand of activist judges trying to make immigration policy off the bench.”
“This decision represents a victory for the idea that the American people must be able to provide the necessary and appropriate temporary humanitarian relief with the full expectation that their generosity will not be exploited once the emergency is over,” the FAIR said. President Dan Stein in a statement.
El Salvador expansion
TPS holders from El Salvador, one of the affected countries, already have a slightly longer window to stay in the US
The Trump administration announced last fall that it would extend the validity of work permits for El Salvadorans with TPS until January 4, 2021. It also gives El Savadorans with protected status an extra year after the end of TPS-related lawsuits to repatriate .
El Salvador has the highest number of TPS recipients in the United States, while their home country has the world’s highest murder rate per capita. Inhabitant, according to the National Immigration Forum. The group says Monday’s decision will affect an estimated 300,000 Salvadorans, more than half of whom have lived in the United States for at least 20 years.