Temporary Protected Status Holders Celebrate Victory Over Trump Policy, Protecting the Rights of 400,000+ People

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By Julie McCaffrey

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and their U.S. citizen children declared victory this week with the end of a six-year lawsuit preventing the Trump administration from ending humanitarian protected status for more than 400,000 people, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Most of the people put at risk by the Trump administration were those who lived lawfully in the U.S. for 20 years or more.

The ACLU reports the cases Ramos v. Mayorkas and Bhattarai v. Mayorkas challenged the Trump administration’s effort to terminate TPS for individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan in 2017 and 2018.

In 2018, the plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction which ensured the legal status of all TPS holders in the years following. While this was appealed, an appellate order reversing the injunction was vacated by the Ninth Circuit last year, writes the ACLU.

The Biden administration rescinded the prior administration’s TPS termination in June 2023, added the ACLU, and extended TPS for more than 300,000 holders. While this extension included TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, and Nicaragua, the administration also previously extended TPS to Haitians and Sudanese people.

Reflecting the Biden administration’s “unequivocal” policy change, the federal district court dismissed Ramos v. Mayorkas on Dec. 28, 2023, as the changes in policy “fully addressed the Plaintiffs’ objections by granting TPS status and/or rescinding the TPS terminations at issue,” writes the ACLU.

Ahilan Arulanantham, counsel for plaintiffs and faculty co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at UCLA school of Law, said, “The federal government told the court that the illegal conduct it perpetrated in 2017 and 2018 ‘will not be reinstated.’”

Arulanantham added, “The court relied on that statement, finding that it will not ‘revert to the previous administration’s contrary policy,’ as the government ‘has squarely rejected that policy.’”

However, should Trump be reelected later this year, senior Trump advisors have been transparent they plan to end TPS again.

The ACLU states TPS holders have further committed themselves to defending TPS and their community again, if need be. They also have expressed, added the ACLU, “strong unity and strength from all that they achieved,” but made it clear that their larger struggle cannot be won through litigation alone.

“If the government goes back on its word, we will hold it accountable,” continues Arulanantham.

Hiwaida Elarabi, a plaintiff from Sudan, added, “we have learned so much through this journey and from each other. We will be ready to fight again if needed.”

Crista Ramos, the lead plaintiff and a U.S. citizen daughter of a TPS holder, said, “I was in eighth grade when this started. Now, I’m in my second year of college, and I’m dedicating myself to immigrant rights. We were motivated by deep love for our families and anger at clear injustice.”

Jose Palma, a TPS holder and coordinator at the National TPS Alliance, echoed similar sentiments to Ramos, noting, “Organizing shoulder to shoulder, we fought to defend the TPS program and won. Though we haven’t arrived at our destination of achieving permanent residency, we know solo el pueblo salva el pueblo (only the people save the people).”

“Despite the dark and depressing moments at times, we found community by sticking together and fighting as a family, for all TPS holders in this country. Our fight has never been about only TPS; it is about immigration justice for all,” added Sajjan Pandey, a plaintiff and TPS holder from Nepal, and an Adhikaar member.

About The Author

Julie is a third year at UC Davis majoring in Communications and Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. She hopes to advocate for women's reproductive rights and make the justice system fairer for sexual assault survivors.

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