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Temporary protections extended for some immigrants as lawsuit continues

“However, thousands of TPS holders who are not included in this lawsuit are still in limbo without any court protections," a TPS holder said.
Image: Dept. Of Homeland Security HQ As Congress' Spending Plan Funds Agency Only Through February
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal hangs on a fence at the agency's headquarters.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday that temporary protections for immigrants originally from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan will continue to next year.

The department took the action Thursday to continue complying with a temporary court order in an ongoing lawsuit filed to stop the Trump administration from both terminating protections from deportation and work permits for immigrants from the 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 would be ending the program for a majority of recipients.

The department said in a notice it filed in the Federal Register that TPS will continue for beneficiaries from the countries through Jan. 2, 2020.

“There is no need to pay a fee or file any application; the extension is automatic,” Jessica Karp Bansal, co-legal director at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said in a press release.

Plaintiffs in the Ramos v. Nielsen lawsuit, filed in March 2018, won a preliminary injunction requiring the Trump administration to extend TPS holders’ protections and work authorizations while the case is ongoing.

“Similar extensions will be announced every nine months as long as the Ramos appeal continues,” Karp Bansal, who is also a counsel for the plaintiffs in the Ramos case, said.

Hiwaida Elarabi, a Sudanese TPS holder and one of the plaintiffs in the case, said the extension gives him and other beneficiaries “space to breathe.”

“However, thousands of TPS holders who are not included in this lawsuit are still in limbo without any court protections," Elarabi stated in a press release.

Gustavo Torres, executive director of the Maryland-based immigrant services organization CASA, stated in a press release, "Congress is pursuing the real solution — a permanent solution for all TPS holders that keeps families together and allows TPS holders to continue their critical contributions to our country's economic health."

In a statement to NBC News, a DHS spokesperson said, “TPS was terminated as required by law by the Secretary for a number of countries. Litigation ensued and DHS is complying with the intervening court order. Today’s Federal Register Notice is evidence of that continued compliance. What is often not reported is that the Trump Administration has forcefully advocated for Congressional action to provide legal status for long-standing TPS beneficiaries in good standing: a change to the law is needed, not judicial intervention.”