Court Rules Trump Administration Can End Temporary Protected Status for Immigrant Families
The ruling would require more than 300,000 immigrants to leave the United States beginning next year.
On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that the Trump administration can now end temporary protected status for some immigrant families that have been living and working legally in the United States. The 2-1 decision lifted a block on Trump's ability to end TPS for more than 300,000 people from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador. If the ruling stands, immigrants from the first three countries could be deported as early as March 2021, with the El Salvador group following by November 2021. Many would also be forced to leave behind children who are U.S. citizens.
Immigrants from El Salvador make up the largest group of TPS recipients with an estimated 263,000 people, but a bilateral agreement would allow Salvadorans an extra year to stay in the U.S. if the courts uphold Trump's termination of the program. "To end protections for ... TPS families, including the more than 130,000 people who have been risking their lives as essential workers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, would be very cruel; especially during these difficult times," Paul Andre Mondesir, lead organizer for the National TPS Alliance, said in a statement.
The ruling means that those immigrants affected will now have to find other ways to remain in the country legally or depart after at least six months (longer in the case of El Salvador). The case is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, though, which could further delay the outcome. TPS recipients from Nepal and Honduras could also later be affected depending on the outcome of a case involving other nationalities.
The TPS program was established in 1990 under the presidency of George H.W. Bush, and allows citizens of countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other emergencies to seek temporary refuge in the U.S. or extend their current stays. The program allows participants to renew their protection for periods of up to 18 months, but the government has repeatedly extended protections for citizens of countries that it declares are still unsafe. According to the National TPS Alliance, this means that the majority of TPS holders have been living in the U.S. for more than a decade.