On September 14, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Trump Administration is within its authority to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States. A copy of the decision can be found here. This decision affects citizens from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.
TPS is a form of relief granted to immigrants in the United States who are citizens of certain countries that the Department of Homeland Security has deemed unable to handle the return of its citizens adequately due to natural disasters, armed conflict, or other extraordinary conditions. A grant of TPS allows the beneficiary to live and work with authorization in the United States and without fear of deportation. A grant of TPS must be renewed during designated periods as well.
According to National Public Radio, “The Trump administration terminated TPS designations of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan in 2017 and 2018. (It later ended TPS for Honduras and Nepal, and a separate case brought last year by citizens of those countries is ongoing).”
Several TPS beneficiaries filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Trump’s Administration’s decision. A district court had issued a preliminary injunction, preventing the termination of the TPS program, but this week’s decision lifts the injunction, allowing for immigrants from the affected countries to be subject to removal as early as next year.
According to the New York Times, “The Trump administration has argued that the emergency conditions that existed when people were invited to come to the United States — earthquakes, hurricanes, civil war — had occurred long ago.”
However, most TPS holders have been living in the United States for a decade or longer. The plaintiffs in this case argued that the Trump Administration’s decision to end TPS was fueled by “animus toward ‘non-white, non-European immigrants.’”
The plaintiffs in this case plan to appeal the decision of the 9th Circuit. Immigrant advocates have been critical of this decision, which will potentially expose many individuals with TPS to removal from the United States, where they have established familial, economic, and social ties.
As the Trump Administration continues its effort to end legal immigration to the United States, its decision to end Temporary Protected Status is another measure that will cause severe consequences for over 400,000 immigrants in the United States.