A California appeals court will decide on a 2018 ruling that did away with President Trump's elimination of TPS for 400,000 U.S. migrants.
Hundreds of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and their children, citizens of the United States, appeared Wednesday in a California-based federal court to request that the program eliminated by President Donald Trump be salvaged.
Around 500 TPS beneficiaries and their families from more than 20 states who presented a lawsuit against the president’s 2018 measure, appeared at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California, to tell the Trump administration the drastic decision will cause irreparable harm to theirs and hundreds of thousands of families across the country.
"I'm here because I want to keep my family together; I think everyone should get up to say what's right and what's wrong," said Giselle Posada, 10, daughter of a TPS beneficiary at a press conference in front of the building court.
Posada is one of the plaintiffs who last year challenged the Trump administration in federal court for ending the visa protections for around 400,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal and Sudan given the ‘status,’ some of them two decades ago, after political and natural disasters forced them to leave their home countries.
Posada entered the hearing with her father, Donald, a Honduran immigrant who has been living in the country for over 20 years and will lose his TPS-granted work permit next January if the three appellate court judges side with the Trump Administration.
"We want to tell President Trump and these judges that our citizen children have rights in this country, and that they alone could not survive. They need their family," said the young Posada.
Last year, Judge Edward Chen of the District Court in San Francisco sided with the plaintiffs, saying that eliminating TPS for current beneficiaries would cause "irreparable harm" to immigrants and their families, and ordered the program be maintained.
The federal government appealed the decision, hence, Wednesday’s audience.
Martha Arevalo, executive director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), told Efe that the decision of the three-judge panel consisting of Ryan Nelson, Consuelo M. Callahan and Morgan Christen "could mean the first setback in this legal battle."
Nelson and Callahan are conservative judges with Republican tendencies. Nelson was appointed by Trump and today he was incisive about the exposure of lawyers representing immigrants.
"We are not so optimistic because we know that there is a lot of politicization in this, that is why we wanted them to see the faces of all the citizens that are being affected by the decisions of the current government," said Arevalo.
For Esmeralda Rodriguez, who traveled from Nebraska to demonstrate outside the Pasadena courthouse and be present at the hearing says her fight will not stop until her father and the others affected obtain permanent legal status.
TPS only allows reprieve from deportation and authorization to work. Those protected may also apply for permission to travel internationally and return to the United States. The status does not offer holders any road to permanent legal status, or citizenship.
"We cannot give up, this government has to understand that its policies are causing division and it is hurting Americans like me," said the young woman.
The panel of three judges is expected to rule on the case in the coming weeks.
Arevalo said that they are already preparing to appeal the decision if it does not favor them, but insists that the fight is also concentrated in Congress, where, since March there has been a pending project that would give a path to legalization for TPS and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients.
According to data from the Congressional Research Service, in 2018 there were more than 436,000 registered in the TPS throughout the country. Approximately 90 percent are from El Salvador (262,000), Honduras (86,000), Haiti (58,000) and Nicaragua (5,000).