Donald Trump’s “shithole countries” slur did indeed come back to haunt him after all. Citing in part his numerous racist remarks, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen yesterday put a temporary hold on the administration’s termination of temporary protections for settled immigrants, in a victory for hundreds of thousands from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan, as well as their U.S. citizen children.
Chen “found substantial evidence that the administration lacked ‘any explanation or justification’” to terminate Temporary Protected Status for these beneficiaries, The Washington Post reports, adding “there were ‘serious questions as to whether a discriminatory purpose was a motivating factor’ in the administration’s decision, which would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.”
It doesn’t take a court to figure out that officials terminated these protections not because conditions had improved in immigrants’ home countries—they haven’t—but because Stephen Miller, the White House aide and white supremacist behind the administration’s mass deportation agenda, wanted them out. Even before Trump slurred Haiti and El Salvador as shitholes and wondered aloud why we weren’t importing more Norwegians, there was evidence officials were snooping into the lives of Haitian TPS recipients for any hints of criminality in order to justify deporting them.
As intended in the dead-eyed gaze of Miller, without immediate relief, TPS termination will spark the next family separation crisis.
“Absent injunctive relief,” Chen wrote, “TPS beneficiaries and their children indisputably will suffer irreparable harm and great hardship. TPS beneficiaries who have lived, worked, and raised families in the United States (many for more than a decade), will be subject to removal. Many have U.S.-born children; those may be faced with the Hobson’s choice of bringing their children with them (and tearing them away from the only country and community they have known) or splitting their families apart.”
While the ruling is temporary “until the courts have issued a final ruling in the case Ramos v. Nielsen,” Vox reports, Chen “indicated that he’s likely to rule against the administration in his final analysis, too. But in the end, a right-wing shift in the Supreme Court, where the administration would likely go to continue pursuing its quest to end TPS, only further cements the need to pass legislation to protect TPS recipients—and we need a new Congress that will do just that.
“With regard to the 300,000 TPS holders threatened with being removed from their families, jobs, businesses and communities,” said Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, “it has long been clear that instead of adhering to the law, the Trump administration has been adhering to its radical nativist agenda. Fortunately, Judge Chen has ruled against this unlawful behavior and put a temporary halt to the cruelty and cynicism of this aspect of the mass deportation agenda of Trump, Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen.”