A federal appeals court in the United States has approved the Donald Trump administration’s decision to end humanitarian protection to over 300,000 immigrants. On Monday, September 14, the US 9th Circuit Appeals Court in California, in a 2-1 decision, overruled two previous injunctions against the Trump administration’s move passed by a federal district court judge in 2018.
The Trump administration had ended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a humanitarian protection granted by the US Department of Homeland Security or the DHS for undocumented migrants of various nationalities between 2017 and 2018. TPS protected undocumented migrants and asylum seekers coming from countries hit by severe political crises.
The appeals court on Monday cleared the termination of TPS for those hailing from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. This could pave the way for eventual deportation of nearly hundreds and thousands of undocumented migrants, many of whom have been living in the US for nearly two decades. Separate lawsuits are ongoing by TPS beneficiaries of other nationalities whose status has been terminated.
The earlier injunctions by federal judges in San Francisco and New York were passed on the basis of president Trump’s racially-disparaging statements against different nationalities on multiple occasions. In one such public meeting, he referred to the nations as “shithole countries”, which was widely condemned as racist and prejudicial.
The plaintiffs of the lawsuits that sought to block such termination of their status argued that the decision by the Trump administration to repeal TPS was both arbitrary and racially prejudiced. The majority decision of the appeals court judgement, while holding the president’s statement as objectionable, stated that the decision of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was not affected by the president’s attitude.
In a statement, the National TPS Alliance, which has been representing the families affected by the Trump administration’s decision, stated that despite “overwhelming evidence that Trump’s TPS terminations were motivated by racism, this action will move forward and it now clears the way for the Trump Administration to de-document and tear apart 400,000 families.”
“We vow to continue our struggle for justice and equality. We don’t take this decision as the final verdict. We will continue to fight in the Court system, in the streets, in the halls of congress and in the court of public opinion,” said Wilna Destin, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.