A federal judge in San Francisco blocked the Trump administration from withdrawing protected status for more than 300,000 immigrants. The immigrants were living and working in the US as part of a temporary program that permitted them entry due to instability and natural disasters in their home countries.
The National Review reports that many of the workers have been living in the US for over a decade. Under the Trump administration’s proposals, the immigrants would be forced to adjust their immigration status or leave the country.
The rule came in a case that claims the Trump administration unlawfully amended the program’s rules due to racist beliefs.
According to USA Today, Judge Edward Chen ruled that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Donald Trump and his administration violated the Equal Protection Clause by basing his decision on discriminatory beliefs.
Chen concluded that the President holds negative attitudes towards “non-white, non-European individuals”. In his statement, Chen cited President Trump’s previous remarks against Muslims and Mexicans.
He concluded that instead of basing the decision to end the program on facts, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke was “largely carrying out or conforming with a predetermined presidential agenda to end TPS”.
Part of Chen’s decision was based on the fact that there is no immediate harm to the federal government if the decision to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program was delayed. However, there would be enduring, and longstanding harm done to the TPS holders living and working in the US.
Chen added that the program’s closure would put parents of US-born children in a difficult situation. Many would be forced to choose between returning home without their children or forcing their children to leave the US, the only country they have ever known.
According to TPM, a Department of Justice spokesperson rejected the judge’s comments, arguing that the ruling “usurps the role of the executive branch”.
The TPS program was offered to workers from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, and Sudan. Many visas were granted following natural disasters, like the earthquake in Haiti in 2013. Previous Presidents renewed the visas on an annual basis instead of forcing the workers into a harmful and difficult situation.
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Oliver is a UK-born freelance writer and journalist based in Boston. He is a self-confessed politics junkie with a passion for foreign and environmental policy. His work has been featured on Open Democracy, International Policy Digest, and the London Economic. He was a regular contributor for ASEAN Today.