US extends temporary legal status of 337,000 immigrants until 2024 amid court battle

The Biden administration said on Thursday it would extend deportation protection and work permits to an estimated 337,000 migrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal and Honduras through the summer of 2024, ahead of a court ruling that would increase their legal status next year. may end. ,

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a notice that it will allow immigrants from these countries to legally live and work in the US under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) policy until at least June 2024. Created in 1990, TPS is a deportation relief program that the United States can extend to citizens of countries beset by armed conflict, natural disasters, or other humanitarian crises.

Thursday’s announcement comes two weeks after court talks between the Biden administration and lawyers representing TPS holders brokeIt paves the way for the Trump administration’s decision to end the legal status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants enrolled in the program to take effect.

TPS families march in Washington urge Congress to pass immigration law
Activists and citizens with temporary protected status march toward the White House on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC, to call on Congress and the Biden administration to pass immigration reform legislation.

Drew Anger / Getty Images

But in its notice on Thursday, DHS said immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal and Honduras would be allowed to have their work permits and deportation protection at least 365 days after the department terminated related TPS programs, or Until June 30, 2024 – whichever date comes later.

June 30, 2024, the extension also applies to some Haitian and Sudanese expatriates, but they are also eligible to apply for work permits and deportation protection under the extension of TPS programs to Haiti and Sudan by the Biden administration. declared that they are not affected by the litigation. in federal court.

“DHS is well aware of the importance of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in providing stability to people’s lives,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News on Thursday.

As of the end of 2021, 241,699 Salvadorans, 76,737 Hondurans, 14,556 Nepalese and 4,250 Nicaraguans were enrolled in the TPS program, according to data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

TPS allows beneficiaries to live and work in the country without fear of deportation, but it does not provide them with a path to permanent residency or citizenship. Those who lose their TPS protection may be eligible for deportation, as long as they do not apply for and have been granted another immigration benefit.

As part of its immigration action, the Trump administration attempted to end TPS programs for hundreds of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras and Nepal. But those terminations were blocked by lawsuits in federal courts that argued that the terminations were rooted in racial antagonism and were not reasonably justified.

In September 2020, however, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Trump administration the green light to end TPS programs, saying that courts cannot review DHS decisions related to the policy. The ruling, however, did not take effect, as lawyers representing the TPS holders asked the court to consider hearing the case with “n bank” or all active judges participating.

The Biden administration, which promised to halt the deportation of TPS holders to “vulnerable” countries, entered court talks to try to settle the lawsuit over Trump-era termination decisions. This formally expanded TPS programs to immigrants from Haiti and Sudan.

After a year of court negotiations, lawyers for the TPS holders announced on October 26 that they had failed to reach a settlement with the Biden administration. Both sides are now waiting for the 9th Circuit to accept or decline the request to hear the case.

If the request is denied, the 9th Circuit’s decision will become binding from September 2020, unless the Supreme Court intervenes.

Ahilan Arulanantham, one of the lawyers representing the TPS holders in the trial, said Thursday’s announcement was a “significant victory”. But he called it an “interim one”.

“Despite today’s extension, the Biden administration is still defending Trump’s racist TPS termination decisions in court,” said Arulantham, co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy, who, unless the Biden administration acts, Will be on the books.” UCLA School of Law.

Arulanantham called on the Biden administration to create new TPS programs for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal and Honduras, as it has done for Haiti and Sudan.

Democratic lawmakers have advocated allowing TPS holders who have lived in the US for years to apply for permanent residency as part of a proposal to legalize unauthorized immigrants. Many TPS holders have been residing in the country for more than two decades. For example, the TPS program for El Salvador began in 2001.

But congressional Democrats and Republicans have not been able to reach an agreement on immigration for decades, and GOP lawmakers have resisted creating a legalization program, absent changes to US border policy.

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