TPS Protects Families. A New Ruling This Week Puts the Program at Risk.

September 18, 2020 | National

“This government has failed me and the other 250,000 US citizen children of TPS holders,” said Crista Ramos, 16-year-old lead plaintiff in the Ramos v. Nelson lawsuit. Through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Crista’s mom has been able to live in the U.S. for two decades, working legally, paying taxes, and raising her family in a safe place. The Trump Administration put Crista’s family and thousands of others in jeopardy by ending TPS for over 95% of all TPS holders, and although TPS holders and their children – including Crista – filed lawsuits challenging the terminations, a recent court decision has given the Trump administration the green light to put these families in jeopardy again.

Established through the bipartisan Immigration Act of 1990, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of immigration status that provides employment authorization and protection from deportation for those who cannot safely return to their country of origin. This program offers life-saving, temporary humanitarian protection for those who otherwise would be forced to return to a country where they’d be at risk from war, famine, or a natural disaster, for example.  

There are over 400,000 TPS holders that rely on this status to stay safe, work, and contribute to their communities. TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras contribute a combined $4.5 billion in pre-tax wages and salary income to the GDP and $560 million to Social Security and Medicare every year. TPS holders have made homes in the U.S and started families; they are our neighbors, our friends, and our coworkers, and they are parents of 270,000 American citizens. 

This week, in a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration has the discretion to end TPS protection for 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. This means thousands of immigrants could be forced out of their homes of decades, separated from their families, and deported to countries where they would be unsafe. This family separation – and even the threat of separation – will have devastating effects on the health, well-being, and economic security of TPS holders and their children. These families deserve compassion and protection, not continued cruelty. 

The Children’s Defense Fund joins our peers in the Children Thrive Action Network (CTAN), a new coalition working to defend and support children in the United States in mixed-status families, to urge the Trump administration to show compassion for these families and for Congress to create a permanent path to citizenship for people with TPS. Let’s do the right thing for our families. 

Read CTAN’s full statement here.