Washington — Complying with a court injunction, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday it was extending(TPS) programs for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Sudan — which the Trump administration has sought to terminate.
In a notice that is scheduled to be officially published to the Federal Register Friday, DHS said current TPS holders from the four nations will have their protections extended through Jan. 2, 2020. By extending the legal status of more than 250,000 immigrants facing possible deportation, the administration is complying with a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. Circuit Court for the Northern District of California in October.
"After the Trump Administration cruelly threw the lives of TPS holders into disarray in an illegal revocation of their temporary immigration status, it was high-time that the Department of Homeland Security extended their status after the court ruling," Rep. Raúl Grijalva wrote in a statement Thursday. "Xenophobia should never be the driving force of immigration policy, and DHS should also extend TPS status to those from Nepal and Honduras after they callously removed their protections in 2018."
In a statement to CBS News Friday morning, a DHS spokesperson said the notice is evidence of the department's "continued compliance" with court orders. "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," the spokesperson added.
Since President Trump was sworn in, his administration has sought to end TPS programs for several countries, including El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan, Nepal and Nicaragua. But, like the attempt to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, the administration's efforts have been hampered by court rulings.
The October decision by the Northern District of California stemmed from the Ramos v. Nielsen lawsuit, in which the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and immigrant rights organizations sued DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the agency for alleged discrimination and rulemaking violations in their decision to end the TPS programs for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Sudan. Advocacy groups have also filed another lawsuit to block the administration from terminating TPS for Honduran and Nepalese immigrants.
About 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians, 2,500 Nicaraguans and 1,000 Sudanese currently have TPS protections.