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September 9, 2019

Trump Wanted TPS Holders Out of the U.S. as of Today, but was Stopped by Court Order

LOS ANGELES – Nearly 200,000 migrants from El Salvador lawfully living and working in the U.S. under Temporary Protective Status (TPS) have work authorization papers that have a printed expiration date of today, Sept. 9, 2019.

But those Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), as the documents are formally known, are still valid by federal court order until at least January 2, 2020.

The situation was born of the fact that the Trump administration aims to kill the TPS program created in 1990 to protect people threatened by violence, natural disasters, and other dire matters in their home countries. Previous administrations have regularly renewed the program which, besides being humanitarian, yearly adds $4.5 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product according to a U.S. Census Bureau study.

It was during a discussion last year about TPS that Trump infamously complained that people given that status were from "shithole countries."

The TPS program for El Salvadorians would have expired today, but last October a federal judge issued a ruling that allows status holders from El Salvador, Sudan, Nicaragua and Haiti to stay and work in the U.S., at least for the time being. That ruling is being appealed by the government. If it's not overturned it will continue past January.

Understandably, there have already been reports of confusion over the EADs because of the printed expiration date. Advocacy organizations, including the National TPS Alliance, have launched an extensive education campaign to let workers and employers alike know that the EADs are still valid.

Indeed, federal law requires employers to accept an "expired" EAD — along with a copy of the Federal Register Notice announcing the extension of TPS — as proof of employment authorization. That Federal Register Notice can be found at

In 2018 the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the law firm Sidley Austin LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of TPS holders and their US citizen children to challenge the termination of the TPS program on several grounds, including that the Trump administration’s policy was born of racial animus. The lawsuit and a related lawsuit pertaining to TPS for Nepal and Honduras filed by the same groups, as well as Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, is pending.