A federal appeals court recently overturned an injunction that since Oct. 2018 has blocked the Trump administration from terminating the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The case, Ramos v. Wolf, affects more than 400,000 TPS holders.

Key points:

  • The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit does not immediately terminate Temporary Protected Status for the four countries.
  • Last year, the Department of Homeland Security set out a framework providing a wind down period of 120 days for Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, and a 365-day period for El Salvador if the court overturned the injunction. However, the court’s ruling does not automatically trigger the winding down, and DHS will announce if either period begins.
  • The TPS beneficiaries who brought the lawsuit are expected to appeal to the full en banc court.
  • TPS for two other countries, Honduras and Nepal, is also implicated by decisions in the Ramos case, because of an agreement linking Ramos with another case that raises similar issues, Bhattarai v. Wolf.

Background: The court heard an appeal in a case in which a U.S. District Court in California issued a preliminary injunction in 2018 preventing DHS from terminating TPS for the four countries while the lawsuit proceeds. The Ninth Circuit vacated the injunction and ruled that the decision to terminate TPS was not reviewable by the courts. A separate injunction that blocks DHS from terminating TPS for Haiti is on appeal with another federal appeals court whose ruling is pending.

BAL Analysis: The decision does not immediately affect TPS designations for the four countries, which DHS had extended until Jan. 4, 2021. For information on the status of TPS for specific countries in light of the litigation, USCIS has a TPS page on its website.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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