Press Release

ADL Urges Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to Uphold Ruling Halting Termination of Temporary Protection Status for Vulnerable Groups

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Los Angeles, CA, February 12, 2019 … ADL (The Anti-Defamation League), along with a number of civil rights organizations, has filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit urging the Court to uphold the District Court’s decision halting the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.

As an anti-hate organization, ADL has played an active role in responding to anti-immigrant fervor and critiquing the normalization of hate. We strongly support a humane immigration policy that maintains America’s role as a refuge for those seeking asylum.

“Our brief shows that racial animus is a driving force for key members of the Administration charged with implementing TPS programs. While nothing in the Constitution requires the United States to afford Temporary Protected Status, there is a clear constitutional prohibition against race-based discrimination in implementing government policies. Unfortunately, that is exactly what we believe is happening in this case,” said Steven M. Freeman, ADL Vice President of Civil Rights.

Kimberley Plotnik, ADL Western Counsel, added, “Based on the record in this case, it seems readily apparent that race and nationality discrimination were motivating factors in the administration’s decision to terminate TPS for individuals from affected countries. We are arguing that the administration has clearly communicated a preference to exclude non-white and non-European immigrants.”

TPS is a form of humanitarian immigration relief that allows individuals from designated countries to live and work legally in the United States if they cannot return safely to their country of origin due to armed conflict, natural disaster or other extraordinary circumstances. Most TPS recipients came to the U.S. at a young age, have lived here most of their lives, and have strong ties to this country.

In October 2018, the 9th Circuit issued a preliminary injunction temporarily preventing the TPS terminations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, which affect more than 300,000 individuals, as well as thousands of U.S. citizen family members, from being implemented.

One of the central questions in the case is whether the decisions to terminate TPS were motivated by racial animus and discrimination. The brief submits that ample evidence of racial animus by the Administration exists -- highlighting the pernicious history of the “America First” slogan. ADL previously wrote to the President explaining that, for many Americans, the term “America First” will always be associated with and tainted by its history.

The fate of TPS remains uncertain as similar cases play out across the country. Here however the court could send a message that there is no place for hate – especially coming from the U.S. government.  Meanwhile today, TPS Families march on Congress to enact permanent protections for all Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

Eighteen organizations joined with ADL on the coalition brief: Bet Tzedek, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, National Council of Jewish Women, OneJustice, Public Counsel, Service Employees International Union, UnidosUS, Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, The Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism,  Men of  Reform Judaism, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, United Farm Workers of America, Japanese America Citizens League, American Federation of Teachers, and Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  The brief was prepared by Loeb & Loeb LLP.

For additional information about the mainstreaming of anti-immigrant hate, see ADL’s recent report Mainstreaming Hate: The Anti-Immigrant Movement in the U.S.