An important reprieve for TPS holders – but Congress still must act

Haitian protester in January
A Haitian immigrant at a rally in January. More than 4,700 Haitians in Massachusetts have TPS and risk deportation as soon as next July.

BOSTON, October 4, 2018 – Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen granted a preliminary injunction preventing the federal government from ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua.

The ruling, in a case filed last March by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and other advocates, provides a much-needed reprieve for hundreds of thousands of TPS holders – especially those from Sudan, whose protection was scheduled to end on Nov. 2.

In Massachusetts, more than 6,000 Salvadorans and 4,700 Haitians face deportation as soon as next July once their TPS ends – even though they’ve lived here lawfully for at least 15 years, and many have U.S. citizen children.

In his ruling, Judge Chen cited multiple statements by President Trump about immigrants of color and Muslims as evidence that TPS termination was “based on animus against non-white, non-European immigrants in violation of Equal Protection guaranteed by the Constitution.” The issues raised by the plaintiffs, he wrote, “are at least serious enough to preserve the status quo.”

MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona hailed the decision, but warned that it’s only a temporary victory.

“This is a very important decision and a powerful rebuke of the Trump administration’s actions,” she said. “Yet the fight is far from over. This case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court, and there is a significant risk that the administration will ultimately prevail.”

“Only Congress can solve this problem,” she added. “We need to change federal law to provide a path to citizenship for TPS holders. We believe the best option is the American Promise Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-NY, and co-sponsored by Rep. James McGovern and six other members of the Massachusetts delegation so far. We encourage all members of Congress to support this legislation and fight for its passage. We must ensure that TPS holders in our Commonwealth can continue to legally work, raise families and contribute to our economy.”