Judge Prevents Termination of TPS for Certain Countries

A federal judge in California put a hold on the administration’s plans to stop renewing the legal status of 300,000 people living in the U.S. from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. All four countries were set to lose Temporary Protected Status over the next year, forcing immigrants, who had lived in the U.S. for years, to leave or risk getting deported.

This is good news for more than 1,000 Sudanese TPS beneficiaries who are set to lose their legal status in less than a month, on November 2, 2018. The others are scheduled to terminate on January 5, 2019 (Nicaragua), July 22, 2019 (Haiti), and September 9, 2019 (El Salvador).

The ruling is a preliminary injunction until the courts have issued a final ruling on whether the Trump Administration violated the law when it decided to terminate TPS for these. The judge found that the plaintiffs in Ramos v. Nielsen were likely to prevail on the merits of the case, and that the immediate harm to the TPS beneficiaries far outweighed any immediate harm to the U.S. He found that many of the TPS recipients have U.S. citizen children who know no other home than the one they have in the U.S. and forcing the TPS recipients to leave would force the separation of families or deprive the citizen children of their home. The Judge found further found that the U.S. might suffer economic harm from TPS terminations in GDP losses, Social Security and Medicare contributions and loss of workforce in areas such as construction, hospitality, and child care. Additionally, the judge mentioned the possible international problems that ending TPS would cause by forcing the TPS recipients to return to their home countries.

Citing court decisions involving the Travel Bans and DACA, the Judge pointed out that, on the merits of the case:

The Administration’s decision; from looking at all conditions in a country when reviewing TPS, to looking only at whether the country was still feeling direct impacts of the original disaster, probably violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s prohibition on making “silent” policy changes without public notice.
The Equal Protection Clause may also have been violated, because of the possibility that the DHS decision to end TPS was grounded on Trump’s own racial animus.

The judge ordered the government to maintain the status quo “including all steps needed to ensure the continued validity of documents that prove lawful status and employment authorization for TPS holders” from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. He also ordered DHS to report within 15 days on the steps it is taking to comply.

If you are in Virginia and are affected by this recent turn of events, please feel free to get in touch with our experienced immigration attorneys at the law office of Jeffrey Va Doren. We can help you with almost any immigration problem.