The Department of Homeland Security said Friday that temporary protections for immigrants from six countries will be extended, shielding them from possible deportation.
Temporary immigration protections for people originally from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras, Nepal and Sudan have been extended to Jan. 2021.
The department's action come as part of their continuous effort to comply with a temporary court order in ongoing lawsuits filed to stop President Donald Trump and his administration from both terminating protections from deportation and work permits for immigrants from countries that were granted Temporary Protected Status.
TPS grants temporary legal status to immigrants from certain countries fleeing natural disasters and civil wars. For almost 20 years, previous administrations from both parties have renewed the TPS status of tens of thousands of people, but the Trump administration said it wants to end the program for a majority of recipients.
"It's good news. It's an extension of our previous victories," Jessica Karp Bansal, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California told NBC News. She's the attorney for plaintiffs in two different lawsuits filed over the last two years to block the Trump administration from ending TPS.
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In October 2018, TPS holders from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador won a preliminary injunction, requiring the Trump administration to extend their immigration protections and work authorizations while the case is ongoing.
Seven months ago, a district court judge temporarily stopped the government from ending immigration protections to people from Nepal and Honduras.
Bansal said that as long as both Ramos v. Nielsen and Bhattari v. Nielsen are being resolved in the courts, DHS is expected to announce similar extensions every nine months.
DHS is set to officially publish a federal register notice announcing the latest extension on Monday.
If courts ultimately rule in favor of TPS holders, that doesn't mean they'll get "permanent protections," said Bansal.
"The most the cases can do for TPS holders is determine that the terminations announced were illegal, but that doesn't prevent anyone in the future, not the Trump administration or any other government, who wants to end TPS," she said. "The only way to avoid that is through Congress, a legislation."
Organizers at the National TPS Alliance — a network of nonprofits, community groups and unions — said in a press release that the latest extension "will provide additional time for TPS holders and the TPS Alliance to continue their efforts to ensure a permanent solution for all TPS holders."
“This proves that when our community comes together to fight for justice we win. The lawsuit against Trump’s racist termination continues to be a lifeline for TPS holders who are fighting for a permanent solution,” said José Palma, national coordinator with the TPS Alliance.
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