Joint Statement: AFSC and CIRC condemn court decision to strip status of TPS Holders, Call on Congress to Act

September 24, 2020

Denver, CO  (September 17, 2020) Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision to lift the preliminary injunction in the case of Ramos v. Nielsen. This ruling allows the Trump administration to expel Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. The terminations could go into effect as early as March 2021 for TPS holders from Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti, and November 2021 for TPS holders from El Salvador. TPS is a provision under which the government grants protection from deportation to people from certain countries afflicted by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has been working with immigrants and refugees for more than 100 years – and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition spoke out against the decision.

“This court decision is doubling down on the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policy agenda, leaving nearly 300,000 TPS holders vulnerable to family separation and mass deportation,” said Jennifer Piper, Program Director for the Colorado AFSC. “Without Congressional action this will lead to devastating moral and economic consequences not just for TPS holders but for their families, communities and for the entire country.”

“TPS holders are tax-paying Americans who have been living and working in the country they call home for decades. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors. Over 131,000 TPS holders are essential workers helping to keep the country going during a historic pandemic. This immoral move by the administration will break up families, uproot lives, and deprive our country of vital members to our communities. TPS holders deserve a path to citizenship not a deportation order,” said Raquel Lane-Arellano, policy manager at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.

Multiple lawsuits are challenging the administration’s termination of TPS for several countries. The suits seek to stop the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing terminations. The suits also accuse the administration of ending TPS for certain countries based on racial discrimination and infringing on the constitutional rights of TPS beneficiaries.

“I am proud Black Haitian mother and TPS holder,” said Umaine, who works with AFSC in Miami and is a member of the National TPS Alliance. “Beyond the racism and the politics of Washington, I want Congress to look at our humanity and give us permanent residency! Us TPS holders have strong foundations in our communities.” Black and Brown immigrants are targeted by a xenophobic immigration enforcement system. Over 50,000 Black TPS holders are especially vulnerable because immigration enforcement works in tandem with racist and deadly policing.

AFSC and others across the country have been working hard to save TPS and create a pathway to citizenship for all – bringing TPS holders to Washington, DC to meet with elected officials, organizing call-in days, and holding local events. 

TPS holders and allies are calling on Congress to take action and support legislation like the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6). “We need legislation that provides permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders and the millions of other immigrants in the U.S.,” said Jordan Garcia, Program Director for Colorado AFSC. “We are demanding legislation that excludes harmful add-ons like increases in immigration enforcement and the militarization of border communities that further jeopardizes the lives of Black and Brown immigrants who are already subject to racialized policing by law enforcement.” 

On September 21st, 2020, TPS beneficiaries will embark On the Road to Justice, an 8-week journey starting in California and ending in Washington DC.  Stopping in 28 states, including Colorado, the Road to Justice will connect TPS holders, families, friends, and allies, traveling across the country as we bring a very clear message:  We will not hide. We will confront hate with love.  We will prevail in our fight for permanent residency and equality. And along the way, we will defend constitutional values for everyone. 

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