It was the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled on Monday to end Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for immigrants in the U.S. from four Black and brown countries, but Donald Trump deserves all the credit. That’s because the president “flipped” the traditionally liberal West Coast-based circuit by methodically appointing nothing but conservative judges.
But a closer look at the ruling that will end TPS status for an estimated 500,000 citizens of Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan — including hundreds of thousands of children who were born in the U.S. — shows it will disproportionately impact people working in industries that have been deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic.
The protected statuses were scheduled to expire early next year.
Monday’s 2-1 decision reversed a 2018 ruling extending the protected status because the U.S. District Court “abused its discretion in issuing the preliminary injunction,” the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision — a decision that will affect people working in essential business sectors such as health care, food processing, delivery and the service industries.
The Center for American Progress, a nonprofit, nonpartisan and independent think tank, found in April that about 131,000 people working in the aforementioned essential industries were TPS holders. With COVID-19 cases surging around the country, sending these immigrants who serve such dire and necessary roles in the pandemic could be seen as short-sighted at best and downright insensitive at worst.
But, of course, Monday’s ruling was all but by design as the president has made no secret of his contempt for nations that he infamously referred to as “shithole countries.” One of the ways Trump managed to accomplish his apparent version of ethnic cleansing was to stack the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with conservative judges. Not only has Trump appointed nearly a quarter of all active federal judges in the United States — he gave 51 judges lifetime jobs in just three years — but he has also named 10 judges to the 9th Circuit. That’s more than one-third of the circuit’s active judges.
In particular, Trump has even asked lawmakers “Why do we need more Haitians?” in reference to one of the largest groups of TPS holders.
However, the ruling downplayed any concern of racism involved in Trump’s anti-immigrant and pro-deportation rhetoric.
“Plaintiffs fail in their burden of showing a likelihood of success, or even serious questions, on the merits of their claim that racial animus toward ‘non-white, non-European’ populations was a motivating factor in the TPS terminations,” the court said in part.
Immigration advocacy groups slammed the decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and urged Americans to vote against Trump on Election Day.
“The country and our people can not, should NOT be put through four more years of this incompetence, and destruction,” Patrice Lawrence, Co-director of UndocuBlack, a group representing undocumented Black immigrants, said in part a statement emailed to NewsOne Monday night. “This administration is a toxin, and the time to stand firmly on the right side of history is now. We need everyone and anyone who cares about us to dismiss this TPS ruling and be committed to fighting like hell to make sure the work permits for folks do not expire as slated for January 4, 2021.”
The National Partnership for New Americans called the ruling “inhumane” and racist.
“This decision was made with racial animus and betrays our tradition as a nation of refuge that welcomes immigrants who come from countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disaster, and other extraordinary events. It is simply inhumane for the United States to send people back to these countries that remain in crisis,” Nicole Melaku, the group’s executive director, said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “TPS recipients are integral parts of our communities and have been so for years, and in many cases, for decades, with over 200,000 U.S.-born children who will be affected by this administration’s callousness. Instead of the racist exclusion of immigrants based on their country of origin, we need immediate administrative and Congressional relief for TPS holders and their families.”