USA and the UK
Humanitarian Protections for 300,000 Could End
In a ruling of 2-1, a panel of three judges in the California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision which had blocked the Trump administration’s move to phase out the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan.
The ruling is also likely to affect the status of people from Honduras and Nepal, who filed a separate lawsuit that was suspended last year pending the outcome of the broader case.
The appeals court ruling means that those immigrants who are affected will be required to find another way to remain in the United States legally. Currently, it is expected that the wind-down period will last until at least early March and up to year for immigrants from El Salvador.
An End of Protections for TPS Enrolees?
Judge Consuelo Callahan, who was an appointee of former president George W. Bush, explained in that the Trump administration’s decision to phase out the afforded immigration protections were not reviewable and should not have been blocked.
President Trump’s push to end the TPS as we know it was originally blocked. [Image Credit: Politico]
Referring to Trump’s past criticism of non-white, non-European immigrants, Callahan said:
“While we do not condone the offensive and disparaging nature of the president’s remarks, we find it instructive that these statements occurred primarily in contexts removed from and unrelated to TPS policy or decisions”.
Paul Andre Mondesir, who is the lead organizer for the National TPS Alliance said in a statement:
“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.”
Ahilan Arulanantham, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, a union which represents plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said that they would seek another “en blanc” review of the matter by 11 of the appeal court’s judges.
During a call with reporters, the attorney called the decision “deeply flawed” and said that the case could eventually be appealed against in the U.S. Supreme Court, depending on the outcome of the request for a broader appeal court review.
The termination of TPS for Haitians could also run into legal troubles. This will be subjected to separate litigation in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
“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”.
What is the TPS Scheme?
The TPS scheme allows foreigners whose home countries experience natural disaster, armed conflict or another extraordinary event to remain in the United States and also apply for work permits.
The status must be reviewed periodically by the secretary of homeland security, who is permitted to extend the scheme for 6-18-month intervals.
The largest number of immigrants in the group are El Salvadorians, with an estimated 263,000 covered by the scheme.
Tough Trump Talk on Immigration
Trump’s tough immigration stance was a hallmark of his election campaign in 2016 and is also a key element in his strategy for his re-election campaign this year.
His challenger in the Presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden has labelled the decisions on TPS as “politically motivated” and he has said that he would protect those on the scheme from being returned to unsafe countries.
The Trump administration has argued that most countries in the program have recovered from the related disasters or conflicts, and that the status has been renewed for years beyond its need.