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ICYMI: What You Need To Know About The Ninth Circuit Court Decision in Ramos v. Nielsen

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Yesterday, a federal appeals court handed down a ruling that threatens to effectively gut the TPS program and strip away legal protections from more than 300,000 TPS holders currently living in the United States. TPS holders from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan are now subject to deportation starting as early as next year and the ruling opens the door for TPS holders from Honduras and Nepal to suffer the same fate. Amid national outcry from immigration experts and advocacy groups, leading voices have emerged with perspectives on the significance of this long-awaited ruling and what comes next for TPS holders and their families: 

First and foremost, this decision does not impact TPS holders this year, the earliest terminations could go into effect is March 2021.

  • Miriam Jordan in the New York Times reports that “The Trump administration has agreed to maintain them until at least March 5, 2021, for people from five of the affected countries and until November 2021 for people from El Salvador.” Up until March 2021 current TPS holders cannot face deportation, can still obtain drivers’ licenses, and work authorizations are still valid. 

The decision puts TPS holders in jeopardy, but it’s not the only strategy advocates have at their disposal: Legislative or Executive action under a new administration could protect TPS holders from senseless deportation.

  • As reported in Roll Call, Ahilan T. Arulanantham, a senior counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and litigator on the Ramos case said that aside from other court rulings, “Congress or a shift in the White House in 2021 could intervene and alter the fate of TPS holders…all three branches of the government bear responsibility here, and any of the three can individually fix the problem.”

    Royce Murray, managing director of programs at the American Immigration Council, also raised the point that extending and redesignating status is the first step, but “We do ultimately think that these hundreds and thousands of TPS holders need a permanent solution.”
  • Julian Aguilar at the Texas Tribune also reports: “This is a difficult decision for our struggle but it is far from finished,” Paul Andre Mondesir, the lead organizer for the National TPS Alliance, said in a statement. “We will exhaust every legal recourse at our disposal to protect our community and our loved ones. We will take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary and continue to demand that Congress act now to pass a permanent residency.”

This decision yesterday is part of a long pattern of the Trump administration attacking immigrants and implementing policies rooted in racism and xenophobia and the appeals process for the Ramos decision is uncertain. Voters have the power to usher in a new administration and push lawmakers to act on permanent protections. The truth is that TPS and the fate of hundreds of thousands of hardworking, taxpaying, law abiding families is on the ballot in November.

  • Nicole Narea in Vox lifts up a quote from America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry, “Temporary Protected Status is on the ballot in November, and if we do not remove Trump … we could see one of the largest mass deportations and family separation crises in American history.” Narea also added, “The fate of TPS holders hinges on the outcome of the presidential election this fall…if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected, he has vowed to prevent TPS recipients from being sent back to countries that are unsafe and would pursue legislation providing a path to citizenship to those who have lived in the US for an “extended period of time and built lives in the US.”
  • Suzanne Gamboa reporting for NBC News also included part of a quote from Frank Sharry, “This disappointing court decision fuels Trump’s war on immigrants. Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has worked relentlessly to strip away the legal status of hundreds of thousands of individuals with Temporary Protected Status.” Trump has made it his mission to repeal protections granted by DACA and TPS, and his reelection could mean a total unraveling of our immigration system and hundreds of thousands of families being uprooted or torn apart. 

Clips of other leading coverage on the Ramos decision can be found below and the full statement from Frank Sharry can be read in full here: 

  • Michelle Hackman at the Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Can End Humanitarian Protection for Some Immigrants, Appeals Court Rules

  • Rachel Treismanin for NPR: Court Rules Government Can End Humanitarian Protections For Some 300,000 Immigrants 
  • Priscilla Alvarez at CNN: Court rules that Trump can end humanitarian protections for 300,000 immigrants 
  • Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News:  Appeals court allows Trump administration to end humanitarian protections for 300,000 immigrants