Hundreds of thousands of people who hold Temporary Protected Status (TPS) celebrated the decision of Edward Chen, federal district judge in San Francisco, California. On the night of , the judge preliminarily ordered the government not to continue with its plan to cancel the Temporary Protected Status program, which gives protection from deportation to about 300,000 immigrants from a dozen of countries, including El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
Among the arguments cited by Judge Chen in his ruling, he stresses that ending the TPS program would irreparably affect hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries and their families. The judge also points out that there is an indication that racial motivations influenced the federal government to end TPS. Chen adds that eliminating this program would wreak havoc on local economies. Finally, he concludes that the elimination of the TPS program could undermine the stability of the affected countries, and therefore would harm our foreign policy interests.
With this order, the administration of President Donald Trump must temporarily suspend its plan to eliminate the TPS program, which was scheduled to happen in 2019.
Originally TPS was implemented in the United States as an emergency humanitarian measure for undocumented immigrants who cannot return to their countries due to civil conflicts, natural disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances. Among the beneficiaries are 190,000 Salvadorans nationwide.
The beneficiaries usually received protection from deportation and a work permit that they must renew according to government requirements, including not having a criminal record.
A report by The Center for Migration Studies (CMS)estimated that more than half of Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries have lived in the United States for 20 years or more. These immigrants work, pay taxes, have homes, own businesses, have American children, and provide significant contributions to our communities. Who benefits from their deportation? If someone has lived in a place for more than two decades, has put down roots, and has paid thousands of dollars in taxes, they cannot be considered
North Carolina ranks ninth in the nation with about 13,000 Central Americans covered by TPS, according to a report from CMS.
According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), TPS holders living in North Carolina contribute more than $570 million to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), money that could be lost within ten years if the government does not renew this immigration protection.
According to analysts, the ruling by Judge Chen is the beginning of a legal battle that could take several months and eventually reach the Supreme Court. This situation now makes the issue more uncertain for immigrants, hence the importance of seeking a permanent solution in Congress. We have an important task related to this issue. In the elections on , we must support candidates who do not promote an anti-immigrant agenda, but who think about the well-being of everyone, and who seek a path to legalization for TPS holders.