Attorney General Becerra Leads Effort to Defend Temporary Protected Status Holders Before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Friday, February 8, 2019
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that the State of California, along with Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, is leading a coalition of 22 Attorneys General in an amicus brief in Ramos v. Nielsen before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The brief supports the plaintiffs’ efforts to prevent the potential deportation of hundreds of thousands of people who hold Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The brief asks the Ninth Circuit to uphold the preliminary nationwide injunction that plaintiffs obtained in the district court, blocking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from terminating TPS designations for Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

“We will not back down in the face of the Trump Administration’s callous campaign to tear apart our communities,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Our country thrives on the contributions of all our neighbors, regardless of national origin. Trump’s xenophobia has no place in our great country.”

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. Many TPS holders have lived here for a decade or more and have started families and businesses, bought homes, and significantly contributed to their communities.

Under the Trump Administration, DHS changed its long-standing practice of looking at the entirety of the conditions in a country when determining whether it is safe for TPS holders to return. Without any substantial explanation, DHS argued that it can only look at the original condition in the home country that prompted its TPS designation when deciding whether to extend that designation. This new policy ignores other intervening conditions that pose serious threats to the safety of TPS holders. The plaintiffs in this case alleged that DHS enacted its new rule without following legal requirements; the district court agreed and stopped DHS from implementing the new policy pending the final outcome of the case.

The amicus brief notes that DHS’s new rule is contrary to the public interest and will harm the people of California and other states in a number of ways, including its impact on:

  • Family members, including hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizen children, who will suffer trauma and hardship from unnecessary and forced separation;
  • The economy and the workforce, which are enriched by the employment, entrepreneurship and contributions of TPS holders;
  • Public revenues, which are enhanced by the taxes contributed by TPS holders, including an estimated $100 million in property taxes collected annually from Salvadoran homeowners with TPS alone;
  • Health and child care delivery, which will suffer from disruptions in care provided by TPS holders who work at child care facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals, as well as provide in-home care;
  • Public health, which will be hindered by the loss of employer-sponsored insurance for TPS holders and their families; and
  • Public safety, which will be damaged by making former TPS holders less likely to report crime.

In the brief, the states also argue that the district court’s decision to enter the preliminary injunction on a nationwide basis was correct, based on the substantial evidence the court had before it regarding the national impact of the federal government’s decisions to rescind TPS designations.

Attorney General Becerra led the filing of this brief along with Attorneys General from Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, who are joined by the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting longtime residents with TPS. In addition to this case, the Attorney General has co-led amicus briefs challenging DHS’s actions regarding TPS in Saget v. Trump 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. The California Department of Justice also led a multistate amicus brief at the trial court in Ramos v. Nielsen in August 2018.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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