Immigrants Score Major Victory Against Trump Administration

Racial Justice

Immigrants Score Major Victory Against Trump Administration

Federal Court in Boston Rejects Government’s Effort to Dismiss TPS Litigation

In a detailed, 42-page opinion issued late Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper rejected the federal government’s request to dismiss Centro Presente v. Trump, a high-profile lawsuit challenging the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras.  The Court also rejected the government’s attempt to remove President Trump from the case.

The landmark case, brought by affected TPS immigrants represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart, LLP, was initially filed in February 2018 and seeks relief on behalf of Haitian-Americans United (HAU), Centro Presente, and more than a dozen individual TPS recipients.  Citing numerous discriminatory statements made by President Trump, the complaint alleges that the Trump Administration’s termination of TPS for each of those three countries was based on racial animus and on an incorrect interpretation of the law.

The government sought to have the case dismissed in its entirety, arguing in favor of wide discretion for the executive branch in immigration matters—a point further buttressed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the travel ban case (Trump v. Hawaii) issued several weeks ago. The District Court rejected the government’s arguments. In ruling that the case must move forward, the Court found that the TPS recipients have raised viable constitutional and procedural claims against the federal government and President Trump. The case will now proceed to discovery, including fact-finding and depositions.

This decision also follows the release of a groundbreaking report by the Lawyers’ Committee, Centro Presente, and Alianza Americas detailing the extreme violence and poverty that TPS recipients will experience if they are forcibly deported. The report, a product of a week-long fact-finding mission to Honduras and El Salvador, further confirms the urgent need for protecting life-saving immigration programs such as TPS.

“The Court carefully examined all aspects of this case. We look forward to progressing in this important case and holding the federal government accountable for illegally and improperly cancelling TPS and the life-saving humanitarian protection it provides to immigrants,” said Oren Nimni, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee and counsel for the TPS recipients.

“This favorable decision gives hope to immigrant families and children. TPS recipients have been an important part of our communities for decades. They are raising U.S. citizen children. They own businesses and homes. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by the federal government and President Trump,” added Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente.

“TPS provides critically important protection for Haitian-Americans. Without TPS these families and children will be deported to a country that cannot guarantee their safety or wellbeing. We deserve better. And this favorable ruling gives Haitian people a voice and an opportunity to make our case for justice,” said Pastor Dieufort Fleurissaint, a leader of Haitian-Americans United (HAU).