After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of DREAMers and upheld Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), immigrants under Temporary Protection Status (TPS) hope their right to stay in the United States will remain as well.
“The reason we feel optimistic is because the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of DACA and the arguments that the lawyers were using are exactly the same arguments that we’re using in the defense case,” said National Day Laborer Organizing Network Co-Executive Director Pablo Alvarado
Alvarado and several others, many of whom are TPS holders, gathered outside the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to rally for the extension of the TPS program. They plan to meet outside the courthouse every week until the verdict is announced.
The court is hearing a case, Ramos v. Nielsen, filed by TPS holders and their U.S. citizen children from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. The case argues, among other things, that the termination of TPS by the U.S. government violated the Administrative Procedure Act and believed it was an act of racism that violates the constitution.
“There are three arguments essentially,” Alvarado said. “No. 1 is that the president—when he decided to terminate TPS for over 300,000 families—violated the constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act. No. 2, the president was motivated by racism when he decided to terminate TPS… He referred to the countries where [TPS] people come from as sh— hole countries.
Alvarado also stated the executive order to terminate TPS places families in possible situations where children and their parents will be separated.
“They have to choose between their parents and their country,” said Alvarado.
Created by Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS offers temporary immigration status to nationals of certain countries experiencing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Recipients are given a temporary work permit and a temporary stay of deportation.
There are 10 countries with TPS designations and, according to the Pew Research Center, there are over 317,000 TPS holders in the United States. The three countries with the most TPS recipients are El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti.
According to a study by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, TPS holders from just El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti have contributed $4.5 billion to the GDP of the United States. During this pandemic, according to Nicole Prchal Svajenka from the progressive think tank, Center for American Progress, about 131,000 are essential workers with almost 28,000 in California.
Alvarado is optimistic the courts will rule in favor of the TPS holders and he plans to join the protestors every Monday to countdown the days until their status is upheld.
“Every Monday we’re going to be here,” Alvarado said. “It’s a countdown to either justice or injustice. We are optimistic and we believe that it is a countdown to justice.”