San Francisco, CA /Los Angeles, CA – Following a hearing before a packed courtroom on Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen today rejected the government’s motion to dismiss a case brought in March by 9 holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and 5 of their US citizen children. The Trump Administration’s recent decisions to terminate TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan and Nicaragua threaten to deprive hundreds of thousands of immigrants of legal status.
“I am glad that a judge has recognized that TPS holders have rights that must be respected,” said Orlando Zepeda, a plaintiff from El Salvador who is the father of two US citizen children, one of whom is also a plaintiff. “My wife and I have lived in this country for more than 25 years, and we have had TPS for most of that time. Our children have never been to El Salvador. This is our country and we must defend our rights—in court, in Washington and in our communities.”
“We are grateful that the Court found it had authority to consider the important claims raised by the TPS holders and their US citizen children in this case,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, Legal Director at the ACLU of Southern California. “We are proud that our clients have resisted the Trump Administration’s racist attempts to separate them from their communities. We will continue to work to ensure that they receive justice from our government, and look forward to the next phase of this case.”
“Today’s victory ensures TPS holders and their children will have their day in court,” said Jessica Bansal, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “We are inspired by their courage and committed to defending their rights in the face of the Trump Administration’s callous and discriminatory efforts to separate them from their families.”
The case alleges that the Administration violated the constitutional rights of TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua, as well as the constitutional rights of their children. The case further alleges that the government violated the Administrative Procedure Act.
In his decision, Judge Chen held that “Plaintiffs have plausibly pled that President Trump made statements which a reasonable observer could construe as evidence of racial bias animus against non-white immigrants, and that he thereafter influenced and tainted DHS’s decision-making process with regard to TPS.”
The plaintiffs are represented by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the ACLU of Southern California and Sidley Austin LLP. Plaintiffs are members of various organizations including the National TPS Alliance, CARECEN Los Angeles and African Communities Together.
The court order is available here.
More information about TPS, the case and the plaintiffs is available here.