A federal judge in San Francisco blocked the government’s plan to end temporary protection for immigrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan. The judge issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by immigrants with temporary protected status (TPS) from those four countries.
What is TPS?
The temporary protected status allows immigrants – including those who entered illegally – from countries ravaged by natural disasters or civil conflicts to live and work in the U.S. until the situation improves back home. The protections are up for review every 18 months, but most have been automatically extended for years.
Currently, there are more than 300,000 citizens from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador who are in America under the TPS designation. El Salvador has the largest number of immigrants with TPS.
What was the government trying to do?
The Trump administration has always shown a deep skepticism toward the TPS program: In January, the USCIS announced the last and final extension of the status. This would essentially end the program for good. Had the government’s plan succeeded, Nicaraguan beneficiaries will lose their protected status in January 2019, Haitians in July 2019, Salvadorans in September 2019, and Sudanese in November 2019.
In March, immigrant advocates in California brought a lawsuit on behalf of those TPS beneficiaries from the four countries who face deportation once their protected status ends.
What is the latest decision?
On October 3, 2018, Judge Edward M. Chen of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an injunction temporarily barring the government from terminating TPS for Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan. The judge found that, “without dispute,” local and national economies “will be hurt if hundreds of thousands of TPS beneficiaries are uprooted and removed.”
The decision gave immigrants across the country a glimmer of hope. “It’s a light in the dark tunnel we’re walking in now,” said a Salvadoran TPS immigrant who’s built a career and family in the U.S. for the past two decades.
The injunction takes effect immediately and will remain in effect for nationals of these countries until there is a final decision in the lawsuit. USCIS will soon issue additional guidance regarding TPS status and employment authorization. If you or someone you know have any questions about the temporary protection program, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers to explore your immigration options. Don’t wait – while the injunction is of great importance, it is only temporary – call our office today.