Thursday, October 4, 2018
District Court Enters Injunction in Challenge to Stripping TPS from Salvadorans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Sudanese
Judge Edward Chen yesterday entered an order (Download Tps order) in Crista Ramos et al. v. Kirstjen Nielsen, et al. In that case, Plaintiffs challenge the Trump Administration's termination of "Temporary Protected Status" (TPS) for immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan. The court entered a preliminary injunction and ordered that
"Defendants, their officers, agents, employees, representatives, and all persons acting in concert or participating with them, are ENJOINED AND RESTRAINED from engaging in, committing, or performing, directly or indirectly, by any means whatsoever, implementation and/or enforcement of the decisions to terminate TPS for Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua pending resolution of this case on the merits."
At oral argument in the case, Judge Chen reportedly was sympathetic to the plaintiffs' arguments that the end of TPS was an unexplained change in policy and motivated by racial animus. The order looked at possible racial animus in the decisions to end TPS:
"Because there is evidence that President Trump and/or the White House influenced the DHS on the TPS decisions to at least raise serious question on the merits, the remaining issue is whether there is evidence that President Trump harbors an animus against non-white, non-European aliens which influenced his (and thereby the Secretary’s) decision to end the TPS
designation. As Plaintiffs have catalogued, there is evidence of such as reflected by statements made by President Trump before, during, and after the TPS decision-making process13:
• In June 2015, Mr. Trump announced that he was running for President and delivered remarks characterizing Mexican immigrants as drug dealers or users, criminals, and rapists. See Degen Decl., Ex. 92 (Washington Post article). • “In December 2015, [Mr.] Trump called for ‘a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’” Degen Decl., Ex. 95 (New York Times article).
• In June 2017, President Trump stated that “15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti ‘all have AIDS’ and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never ‘go back to their huts’ in Africa.” Degen Decl., Ex. 95 (New York Times article).
• On January 11, 2018, during a meeting with lawmakers where immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries were discussed, including with respect to TPS designations that had been terminated, President Trump asked: “‘Why are we
having all these people from shithole countries come here?’ [He] then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway,” which has a predominantly white population. Degen Decl., Ex. 96
(Washington Post article). He also told lawmakers that immigrants from Haiti “must be left out of any deal.” Degen Decl., Ex. 96 (Washington Post article).
• In February 2018, President Trump gave a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference where he used MS-13 – a gang with many members having ties to Mexico and Central America – to disparage immigrants, indicating
that that they are criminals and comparing them to snakes. See Degen Decl., Ex. 93 (article from www.vox.com); see also Degen Decl., Ex. 98 (New York Times article) (stating that President Trump characterized undocumented immigrants as “‘animals’”).
• In July 2018, President Trump told European leaders that “they ‘better watch themselves’ because a wave of immigration of ‘changing the culture’ of their countries,’” which he characterized as being “‘a very negative thing for Europe.’”
Degen Decl., Ex. 99 (Washington Post article)."
Based on the evidence, the court concluded that "at the very least, the evidence submitted by Plaintiffs supports serious questions on the merits on the Equal Protection Claim. "