The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a divided decision, vacated a preliminary injunction issued by US District Judge Edward Chen in 2018 that prevented the administration from ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The panel remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

The TPS program was first introduced by Congress in 1990, a protection offered to citizens of countries experiencing natural disasters, protracted unrest, conflict or other “extraordinary circumstances” to stay in the United States and be protected from deportation. More than 300,000 people from 10 different nations currently use the program, some of whom have lived and worked in the United States for decades.

The court held that the Trump administration had “full and unreviewable discretion” to terminate TPS.  The ruling could also allow the administration to finalize its decisions to end TPS for individuals from Honduras and Nepal.

In view of this ruling, Partner Paul Virtue noted in Law360:  “I’m not surprised. If the administration has the authority to grant Temporary Protected Status, then they certainly have the authority to terminate it”.

The court of appeals ruling means that TPS holders may lose their permission to stay and work in the U.S. in 202. However, the case is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which could delay the outcome.  Thus, another lawsuit is before the Second Circuit concerning 40,000 Haitian TPS recipients, and many advocates are hopeful that the Democratic presidential candidate, if elected, will reverse these policies.

Please continue to follow our blog for up-to-date information, as well as recent rulings on TPS protections.