Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Trump’s Bid to Cut-Off TPS

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Demonstration for TPS in Miami, FL. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On Mon., Sep. 14, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a preliminary injunction issued by a lower court that had preserved Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for individuals from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Sudan. This was a victory for the Trump administration, which seeks to cinch off TPS.

In a 2-1 decision (two Republican-appointed judges, one Democrat-appointed), the court found that the lower court had acted outside of its authority when it sided with plaintiffs arguing that the administration’s decision to end their TPS violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The Ninth Circuit opinion pointed out that the TPS statute says there is no judicial review of the secretary of Homeland Security’s determination “with respect to the designation, or termination or extension of a designation, of a foreign state” for TPS.

FANM’s Marleine Bastien: “The court’s decision today leaves nearly 300,000 TPS holders vulnerable to one of the biggest mass deportations in our country’s history.” Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP

In Miami, the Family Action Network Movement (FANM) protested the ruling, saying that “in the wake of the decision on the current injunction in the case Ramos v. Nielsen, TPS holders, their families and communities… condemn the negative decision. In Miami alone, it is estimated that 23,000 TPS recipients will be affected by this decision, many of which have been in the United States for more than 20 years.”

“This is terrible news!” said Marleine Bastien, FANM’s Executive Director. “The court’s decision today leaves nearly 300,000 TPS holders vulnerable to one of the biggest mass deportations in our country’s history. These hardworking taxpayers, many of whom have resided in the United States for over 20 years, could be forced to return during a global pandemic to vulnerable nations still struggling from political turmoil, violence, and unrest. In addition, their over 275,000 U.S. citizen children would have to make the heart-wrenching decision whether to leave their home or be separated from their families. How can we be a nation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if we continue to allow for family separation?! How can we profess to be a nation of immigrants if we continually disdain and disregard those who are black and brown? We demand U.S. Senators to rebuke this disgusting decision and to immediately pass ‘The Dream and Promise Act’ passed by the House of Representatives in 2019 protecting TPS recipients. Since 1990, TPS holders have only been protected temporarily. They are completely unprotected now. Congress must protect them! We must all protect them! It is our moral duty as Americans and as people.”

over 400,000 people live in the United States with TPS with over 200,000 U.S. citizen children

Thousands across the U.S. are rallying against the decision on the injunction, seeking to underline that TPS holders and their families deserve and urgently need a path to permanent residency and citizenship in the U.S..

“TPS holders have laid down roots in the United States,” explained Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “They’ve created families, businesses, and in the middle of a pandemic, nearly 130,000 of essential TPS working in the frontlines across the country have kept us safe. This negative decision is cruel, exposing families and making them vulnerable to family separations. Now, more than ever, we need to stand with our immigrant communities. We will continue working to transform existing legislation and public policies in order to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and just to the hundreds of thousands of TPS holders and DACA recipients, and the millions of immigrants who reside in the U.S..”

There are over 400,000 people living in the United States with TPS and over 200,000 U.S. citizen children of TPS holders. In the wake of disasters in foreign countries, the U.S. government granted humanitarian relief (in the form of TPS) to people from affected countries already living in the United States. For the countries at issue in the lawsuit, the U.S. government extended TPS repeatedly — for at least eight years, and in the case of most countries for more than 15 years — based on repeated findings that it remains unsafe to return. In the past year, the Trump administration announced the termination of TPS for over 98% of TPS holders, from six countries. The lawsuit Ramos v. Nielsen concerns the first four of the terminations — of Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador. This is the first time any TPS termination has been enjoined by a federal court.

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