A federal appeals panel ruled that the Trump administration can end humanitarian protections for some 300,000 immigrants living in the U.S., clearing the way for their potential deportation starting next year, NPR reports. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision affects citizens from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, have U.S.-born children and are considered essential workers during the pandemic. At issue was the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), humanitarian relief created by Congress and administered by the Department of Homeland Security. TPS provides a work permit and stay of deportation to foreign nationals living in the U.S. whose home countries are facing natural disaster, armed conflict or other “extraordinary and temporary conditions” that make it unsafe for them to return.
The Trump administration terminated TPS designations of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan in 2017 and 2018. It later ended the relief status for Honduras and Nepal, and a case by citizens of those countries is ongoing. TPS beneficiaries from the four countries and their children sued challenging the terminations both for procedural reasons and on the grounds that the rule was motivated by animus toward “non-white, non-European immigrants,” citing comments made by President Donald Trump and other administrative officials.