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TPS Holder-Plaintiffs, Litigators React To Court’s Decision on Temporary Protected Status

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A recording of the call is available here.

 Earlier today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ gave its decision on an injunction in the lawsuit Ramos/Bhattarai v. Nielsen, siding with the Trump administration in their unlawful three year anti-immigrant crusade to strip hundreds of thousands of people  — including more than 130,000 essential workers and 273,000+ U.S. Citizen children — of their legal status and put them at risk of deportation and family separation. In response, plaintiffs and litigators held a press call to discuss the decision.

While the decision will not impact people’s status this year, time is running out to protect TPS holders, and the battle continues in the courts, in the halls of Congress, and at the ballot box this November. TPS holders across the country have fought hard to remain in the country they call home— in their communities, at their jobs, in neighborhoods, and in their homes, and will continue to face this administration head on as it continues its unlawful and bigoted anti-immigrant agenda.

Ahilan T. Arulanantham, Senior Counsel at the ACLU of Southern California commented, “There are two problems with this decision. First, the court did not say the Trump Administration worked in compliance with law. Instead it found no court could review the question of their compliance because in the court’s view that decision is unreviewable. In our opinion, that decision is wrong and should be deeply troubling to anyone, regardless of political affiliation. If a future administration were to grant TPS status to everyone from one country to sweeten a trade deal, according to this ruling nothing could stop that action. Second, we think this decision is deeply flawed because the court acknowledged that President Trump “expressed racial animus against ‘nonwhite, non-European’ immigrants.” We will seek review of this decision, and will ask for the 9th Circuit  to review and if not, we will ask the Supreme Court for review.” 

William Martinez, an organizer with the national TPS Alliance and TPS holder himself said, “It’s a very important moment for us, for the TPS community, to hear what this ruling means for our families and what this means for our fight for permanent residency… Right now is not the time to panic. Right now is the time to be smart, mobilize, and organize our communities towards a permanent residency for all TPS holders and all their families affected by these decisions.”

“I’m just shocked.” said Wilna Destin of Unite Here in Orlando, TPS holder and plaintiff in the Ramos lawsuit, “We have coronavirus, we have hurricanes…there’s so much going on. And we’ve been waiting for this [decision]…for me, it’s another disaster. We are very disappointed, but we’re not gonna stop. We still have to fight, fight until we get what we deserve for our family, for our children… We don’t choose where to be born, we don’t choose what color to be born. We’re just born, but we want to survive.”

Sajjan, a Nepalese TPS holder, plaintiff in the Bhattarai lawsuit, and an essential worker, said,  “We knew this would be a hard fight and a long fight. We knew from the very beginning that the Trump administration is racist and against us and our community. I’ve lived here for decades working as a gas station worker and even got COVID, which I am still recovering from. I have been feeling hopeful, but today with this decision I’m sad. However I’m still motivated to keep going. I have lived here for decades as a law abiding citizen, and I put my life on the line living in California as a gas station worker.  Just like so many other essential workers like myself  who hold TPS, we love this country and we put our life  on the line for this country. I know that we’ll keep fighting, I hope there will be a change in leadership and I hope you all continue to support us.

Jose Palma, a TPS recipient from El Salvador and a member of the Executive Committee for the national TPS Alliance added, “I feel very disappointed, but there are a few things to highlight today: from the very beginning we knew this Administration was throwing hate at everyone and directly attacking the TPS community. Instead of hiding, we decided to get organized and fight. Today is just another dark day in U.S. history. We know that the court is one strategy we have been using, and from the beginning we knew the court was a strategy to delay the action. We were supposed to be out three years ago, and we are still here. That’s something to celebrate. We have been doing everything we can on the streets, organizing rallies and press conferences, and right now we have more than 60 communities ready and organized to take action. We know for sure that the court decision -even in the best scenario- was only temporary. We will continue fighting and using the court, but we need Congress to take action. We will continue organizing with our allies across the country for all 12 countries protected by TPS and a move to permanent residence. We know it’s a bad decision today but we also know that immigrants have been facing this reality since we decided to come to the U.S. We have been doing everything we can and we will continue. This time around we need to change the administration. We know that we need to get somebody who understands what it looks like and understands the contribution of people with TPS and everyone else. We will continue organizing, and you will continue hearing from the TPS alliance and our allies. Instead of hiding, we will move forward and we will confront the evil with love.