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AG HERRING JOINS COALITION OF 17 ATTORNEYS GENERAL CALLING ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO HALT TERMINATION OF TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS
RICHMOND (June 22, 2018) – Today, Attorney General Mark R. Herring and a coalition of 16 other state attorneys general filed an amicus brief supporting litigation to halt the Trump Administration’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) terminations for individuals from El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras. These refugees came to the United States decades ago seeing asylum following natural disasters in their home countries. Virginia alone is home to more than 20,000 El Salvadorans who were granted TPS after a series of earthquakes in 2001 caused widespread damage in the country.
“These men, women, and children came to Virginia as refugees, escaping dangerous living conditions in their home countries,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “They have become valued members of our communities, opening businesses, building careers, and in many cases starting families with spouses who are U.S. Citizens. Ending this program now would unravel these families’ lives and force them to leave the safety and opportunity in this country and this Commonwealth.”
In the case Centro Presente v. Trump, the plaintiffs, which include membership organizations Centro Presente and Haitian-Americans United Inc. and a group of 14 individuals, have called for judicial review of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) termination of TPS. The plaintiffs argue that judicial review would serve as an important check on executive action they allege is unconstitutional and unlawful, and would prevent harm to hundreds of thousands of TPS holders who reside in the United States, their families, and their communities. Today’s amicus brief, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, supports the plaintiff’s call and asks the court to deny the defendants’ motion to dismiss.
According to the brief, the Department of Homeland Security’s termination of TPS would strip community members of legal authorization to work in the United States and could result in their deportation to countries that are unsafe and unprepared to receive them.
The brief states that TPS terminations will hurt the economy and civil society by:
- Tearing apart thousands of families that live in “mixed-status households” where one or both parents hold TPS while some or all of the children are U.S. citizens.
- Threatening state economies and workforces, costing a projected $160 billion in GDP, $6.9 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions, and nearly $1 billion in employers’ turnover costs.
- Disrupting care for vulnerable populations, such as children, seniors, and those with disabilities, who are dependent on child care facilities, nursing homes, home healthcare companies, and hospitals staffed largely by TPS holders.
- Endangering public health; TPS holders who lose their authorization to work will lose their access to health care, thereby putting them at greater risk for disease and illness and increasing healthcare costs incurred by states.
- Threatening public safety; TPS holders and their families will be less likely to report crimes.
Today’s brief argues the plaintiffs’ claims are subject to judicial review because TPS holders who believe their constitutional rights have been violated – along with institutions that can bring such claims – have a right to bring those claims before a court for review. The brief also notes that judicial review is appropriate because plaintiffs’ claims allege DHS’s practices and policies are unlawful, and because DHS’s termination of TPS will inflict serious harm on the public at large.
When conditions in a foreign country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, the DHS may designate TPS for nationals from that country who are present in the United States. Once designated, nationals may apply to live and work legally in the United States. After a period of 6-18 months, DHS must decide whether to extend the status. If TPS status is extended, TPS holders must reapply for the status and must meet strict recertification criteria, including that they remain law-abiding members of the community.
Joining today’s brief are attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.