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Haiti, El Salvador and Others to Keep Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Designation

laptop-2838921_640-300x178A federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s plans to end the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for the over 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.

Late last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to remove the TPS designation of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, claiming that the conditions that initially allowed for these countries to receive TPS designation, such as political unrest, extreme natural disasters, and gang-related violence, are no longer as prominent as they once were. And so, the federal government found it reasonable to require citizens from these countries in the United States to pack their bags and head home.

US District Judge Edward M. Chen of San Francisco, however, found that the government’s decision to end the legal status for these countries was problematic on several fronts.

  • First, he noted that the decision lacked “any explanation or justification.”
  • He also agreed with the plaintiff’s argument that the President’s motivations for rescinding the TPS of what he called “shithole countries” are likely discriminatory, citing Trump’s previous statements disparaging Haitians and other immigrant groups, which would then make the decision in violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Chen wrote that there is substantial evidence to believe that the Department of Homeland Security, in their decision to remove TPS for these countries, “was influenced by the White House and based on animus against nonwhite, non-European immigrants in violation of Equal Protection guaranteed by the Constitution.” He added that these issues are serious enough to require the status quo to remain in place.

Chen justified his decision by pointing out that many of the TPS beneficiaries who have lived, worked, and raised families in the United States for more than a decade would have to be deported. It would also mean that these families, many of whom have children born in the country, would have no choice but to be separated.

Removing the legal status of these families and enabling their deportation would, according to Chen, put them in the difficult position of facing “the Hobson’s choice of bringing their children with them (and tearing them away from the only country and community they have known) or splitting their families apart.”

Devin O’Malley, speaking on behalf of the Justice Department, released a statement claiming that the administration would continue fighting for the integrity of the country’s immigration laws and our national security. O’Malley went on to criticize Chen of usurping the executive branch’s role in protecting the nation’s borders and introducing the idea that both the White House and Homeland Security acted improperly.

If you, or a loved one, are under Temporary Protected Status and would like to know how this latest ruling to designation changes might affect you, talk to the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm to discuss your rights. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to schedule a consultation with Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.