Attorney General Becerra Co-Leads Effort to Stand Up for Temporary Protected Status Holders

Monday, December 30, 2019
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today announced co-leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief in support of holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in Saget v. Trump. TPS is a humanitarian program that provides legal status and work authorization to people whose countries of origin are unsafe and cannot safely accommodate their return. Currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the case is challenging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to terminate TPS for thousands of Haitian nationals, many of whom have been in the United States for decades and live with family members who are U.S. citizens. In the brief, the coalition urges the appellate court to uphold the preliminary injunction obtained in the district court, blocking the Trump Administration’s attempt to end TPS for Haitians.

“TPS protects people who are our neighbors, healthcare providers, teachers, and so much more,” said Attorney General Becerra. “When the Trump Administration attacks TPS, it’s attacking the well-being of communities across the country – threatening to tear families apart in the process. We’ve stood up and won on this issue before and we’ll continue to fight for the rights of those living in the United States.”

In the brief, the coalition notes that terminating TPS for Haitian recipients will have a serious impact on states, local governments, and their communities. Many TPS holders have lived in the United States for a decade or more and have started families and businesses, bought homes, and significantly contributed to their communities. In fact, over ten years, the loss of legal status for Haitian TPS holders is projected to cost more than $2.7 billion in GDP, more than $428 million in Social Security and Medicare contributions, and nearly $60 million in turnover costs for employers.

Terminating TPS for Haitians will force hardworking families to make agonizing choices between leaving the United States alone or taking their children to a country that is unfamiliar to the children and where their safety is uncertain. Approximately 27,000 U.S. children have been born to Haitian TPS holders and about nine percent of TPS holders are married to a U.S. citizen. If these families are torn apart, children will be traumatized, and state foster care systems will be burdened. Ending TPS also undermines public health and safety, as former TPS holders and their children will be less likely to report crime and get the healthcare they need. Further, in the brief, the coalition sets forth why DHS’ explanations for terminating TPS are pretextual and notes that the district court properly concluded that the decision to terminate TPS for Haiti likely violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to defending longtime residents with TPS. TPS protects individuals who are in the United States and whose home countries face armed conflict, natural disasters, or other crises that make the return of TPS holders to their home countries unsafe. In addition to this case, the Attorney General has co-led amicus briefs challenging DHS’ actions regarding TPS in Ramos v. Nielsen and in Centro Presente v. Trump. In March 2018, as part of a coalition of 18 states and the District of Columbia, Attorney General Becerra urged Congress to grant TPS holders green cards, which would allow them to remain in the United States if their TPS status were terminated. Overall, more than 400,000 migrants from 10 countries are protected by TPS in the United States. California is home to nearly 75,000 TPS recipients, by far the highest population in the country.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Becerra, Attorney General Racine, and Attorney General Healey are joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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