About 75 people rallied in front of the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals in Pasadena on Wednesday an hour before the court was scheduled to hear a case that could allow the Trump administration to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of 300,000 immigrants.
The event began early Wednesday morning at All Saints Church in Pasadena, but the crowd of more than 100 people dwindled during the march through Old Pasadena to the Ninth Circuit courthouse on Grand Avenue.
“Immigrants are what make America great,” said Magdalena Hernandez. “If anyone should leave it should be Donald Trump. He criticizes people from Mexico, but he himself is not the best this country has to offer.”
TPS is provided to immigrants who come from countries embroiled in armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or conditions that prevent a safe return.
Last year, Trump moved to terminate the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Syria, claiming that the original issues that forced the US to give hundreds of thousands of citizens from those nations temporary status have been resolved.
“My father has had TPS since 2001,” said Mario Trujillo. “Now they want to kick him out of the country for no reason. He has not committed any crimes. The law should be there to protect people, not punish them.”
The ACLU responded by filing a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of nine people with TPS and five US citizen children of TPS holders against the Department of Homeland Security in order to stop the termination of TPS.
The complaint also argued that the administration’s change to the TPS laws was unconstitutional because it was adopted to further the racist agenda of the administration
Earlier this year, during a negotiation over the fate of people who have TPS status, Trump referred to the affected nations as “shithole countries.”
“The Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for people from these countries was motivated by its racism against non-white, non-Europeans immigrants,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, legal director at the ACLU of Southern California and co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “That racist motivation was obvious from a number of statements that this president and others in the administration made, including about TPS holders specifically.”
In an October preliminary injunction, Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California cited a list of presidential statements that he said suggests Trump “harbors an animus against non-white, non-European aliens,” according to Salon magazine.
Chen also ruled that the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which establishes how the executive branch is supposed to make policy decisions by not giving public notice that it was changing how countries were being evaluated for continued protection.
The ruling allowed immigrants with TPS status to stay in the US until the case can be decided.
If the court upholds the injunction, the case could go to the US Supreme Court.