Earlier this year, the Trump Administration started the clock to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for those in the country who registered for it from Haiti, Sudan, Honduras and El Salvador. Those affected would start losing legal status in the United States starting in November, but on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen temporarily blocked the administration’s plans until the final resolution of the case of Ramos v. Nielsen. The case questions the legality of the administration rescinding TPS status for these countries. The move affects more than 300,000 people from the affected companies who were allowed to remain in America after disasters made it inhumane to expect them to return home.
The administration’s position has been that temporary means temporary, but in many cases, the initial disaster flowed into economic or political instability that made a return home equally dangerous, if for different reasons. For that reason, some have lived in the U.S. for almost 20 years with TPS status, and have established lives here with jobs, family, and homes. Going home after all this time would be an extreme hardship not only for individual and their families but the communities they're a part of.
Chen’s ruling contends that if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) planned to make changes to how to weigh the merits of a country’s TPS status, it would have to do so in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act. In this case, DHS narrowed the factors it took into account without pubic notice. He also wanted to review the suit’s claim that the termination of TPS status was based on the racial animus that President Trump has displayed in his derisive comments about Muslims, African nations, and Mexicans to name a few.
Those affected should make plans as if nothing has changed. They can’t count on the courts to uphold Chen’s ruling and need to consult an experienced immigration attorney to explore possible status changes that would insulate them from the uncertainty that accompanies TPS status now.