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June 13, 2023

LOS ANGELES — Today, the Biden administration announced it is rescinding the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) terminations of former President Trump, and extending TPS for more than 300,000 TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua.

In 2017 and 2018, President Trump revoked humanitarian legal status for individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan and later for Nepal and Honduras. Beneficiaries of TPS and their U.S.-citizen children brought an unprecedented lawsuit, now titled Ramos v. Mayorkas, challenging these terminations. They won a preliminary injunction in 2018, which has protected their legal status for the past five years.

The en banc Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is poised to hear arguments concerning the legality of the Trump terminations, and the validity of the injunction, on June 22 in Seattle.

“We do not know fully what effect this announcement may have on the en banc argument currently scheduled for June 22. There are many details to work out, some of which really matter to our clients and the TPS holder community. The Biden Administration has now afforded them some protection but failed to ensure them the permanent residence they deserve, leaving them in a continued state of uncertainty,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, counsel for plaintiffs and faculty co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. “In 2017 and 2018, when Trump ended TPS for more than 95% of people who had it, most people had never heard of TPS, and there had never been a lawsuit challenging any TPS decision. But the TPS holder community organized night and day, building their political power, and together we stopped the Trump terminations in their tracks. While we welcome this step in the right direction, our struggle for justice continues.”

TPS holders and lawyers recognized the Department of Homeland Security action as an important step forward–though long overdue and still incomplete.

"I can remember the day I found out that Trump terminated TPS for me and my family. I was devastated. And then my family and I mobilized, and never looked back," said Elsy Flores de Ayala, a TPS holder who has lived in Washington DC since 2020, an organizer with the National TPS Alliance, and a plaintiff in litigation challenging the terminations. "We survived and grew stronger these past five years. And we know that this is the bare minimum that we deserve. We will continue to fight to protect our families."

Most TPS holders affected by this decision have had legal status in the United States for more than 20 years. This status has been threatened by the Trump terminations.

“For five years, hundreds of thousands of TPS holders have been in legal limbo, first due to Trump’s racist decisions and then due to Biden’s inaction,” said Emi MacLean, counsel for plaintiffs and senior staff attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. “The Trump TPS terminations have been illegal since the day that they were made. The fact that TPS holders continue to have protection today and tomorrow is due to the tireless advocacy of TPS holders who have never given up, and will continue to fight for what they deserve.”

“We are pleased the Biden Administration has finally taken steps to rescind former President Trump’s cruel and unlawful TPS terminations. But it is not enough for President Biden to simply be less bad than Trump,” said Jessica Bansal, counsel for plaintiffs and legal director of Unemployed Workers United. “To truly live up to his campaign promises, the Biden Administration must pursue permanent protections for TPS holders who have lived in this country for 20 years and extend TPS to people who have arrived more recently from El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua” 

The status of the Trump terminations has remained unresolved over the past five years. Though the Biden administration has since redesignated Haiti and Sudan for TPS, the administration has not acted to provide any protections for TPS holders from the other four affected countries.

The plaintiffs are represented by the ACLU Foundations of Northern and Southern California, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, Unemployed Workers United and the law firm Sidley Austin LLP. The coalition of organizations representing TPS holders includes the National TPS Alliance, Adhikaar, African Communities Together, Carecen Los Angeles, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

“The TPS extension has again given us temporary relief but we cannot continue our life in one- to two-year increments,” said Keshav Bhattarai, lead plaintiff in a companion case challenging the TPS terminations of Nepal and Honduras, and a member of Adhikaar. “We have made the U.S. our home, and we are here to stay.”

“I learned my mother had TPS the day that the news broke that Trump was trying to separate our family. I was in middle school at the time,” said Crista Ramos, who is the lead plaintiff in Ramos v. Mayorkas and the college-age child of a TPS holder. “After years of calling out the Trump administration’s racist decisions, and calling on the Biden administration to fulfill its promises, this is an important step forward. We have had to fight every step of the way to keep our families together and our community united. That does not end today: we will not stop fighting until our families are protected.”

More about the plaintiffs:

Litigation documents:

Biden administration press release: