California Federal Judge Edward M. Chen has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction in Ramos v. Nielsen, preventing the Administration from implementing its decisions to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, pending final resolution of the case.

This may be particularly good news for Sudanese TPS beneficiaries whose status is scheduled to be terminated in less than a month, on November 2, 2018. The others are scheduled to terminate on January 5, 2019 (Nicaragua), July 22, 2019 (Haiti), and September 9, 2019 (El Salvador).

In addition to finding that the plaintiffs in Ramos v. Nielsen were likely to prevail on the merits of the case, Judge Chen held that in balancing the equities, the immediate harm to the TPS beneficiaries far outweighed any immediate harm to the U.S. He found that the TPS beneficiaries, many of whom have U.S.-citizen children who know no other home than the one they have in the U.S., are facing a “Hobson’s choice” of either leaving the country without their children or leaving with their children and depriving those U.S.-citizen children of their lives in the U.S. Indeed, the Judge found that the U.S., rather than suffering harm from the continuation of TPS, actually might suffer economic harm due to the TPS terminations. Such prospective economic harm could include: $132 billion loss in GDP, $5.2 billion loss in Social Security and Medicare contributions, and $733 million in turnover costs in industries that now employ TPS beneficiaries, including “construction, hospitality, food service, landscaping, home health care, child care and retail . . . .” The court also noted the termination of TPS might have “adverse ramifications internationally” that ultimately would reverberate to the U.S. in the form of “’further irregular migration.’”

Echoing court decisions involving the Travel Bans and DACA, Judge Chen held that, on the merits of the case:

  • The Administration’s decision to no longer consider intervening country conditions may violate the Administrative Procedure Act; and
  • The Equal Protection Clause may have been violated, because of the possibility that the DHS decision to terminate TPS was pre-determined and infected with discriminatory animus.

Judge Chen has ordered the government to preserve the status quo “including all steps needed to ensure the continued validity of documents that prove lawful status and employment authorization for TPS holders” from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. He also ordered DHS to report within 15 days on the steps it is taking to comply. Judge Chen said he expects to set an expedited scheduled for the merits determination at the next hearing, on October 26, 2018.