Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Has Been Blocked From Removing Thousands Of Central American Immigrants

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to temporarily halt its plan to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. The program allows thousands of immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S. for decades. The ruling, issued by U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen, affects more than 300,000 immigrants enrolled in TPS from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan.  Judge Chen said the government failed to show harm of continuing TPS and the plaintiffs showed that removing those immigrants could hurt the local and national economy.

The ruling protecting TPS comes in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The ACLU lawsuit says that the effort to end TPS “was motivated by intentional race and national-origin-based animus against individuals from what President Trump has referred to as “shithole countries.” Judge Chen’s decision comes only a week after a hearing in the case. It will go into effect immediately and is positive news for TPS recipients, who were less than a month away from losing their protections. U.S. Judge Chen cited a brief filed by 17 states that they would lose billions on dollars in turnover costs if TPS recipients are sent home.

This is the latest defeat for the Trump administration as they try to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

The ruling is the latest blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to change the nation’s immigration laws, following court orders limiting his travel ban targeting Muslim countries, his attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and his policy of separating migrant families along the U.S. border.

“This shows that Trump’s move to terminate TPS was based on his racial motivations and not in any law or consideration of safety,” Working Families United, which supports temporary protected status, said in a statement to NBC News. “With the suit still in court, Congress must act to create a pathway to legal residency and make the protections permanent.”

For thousands of immigrants under TPS, the ruling brings pause of fear after months of uncertainty.

For the lead plaintiff in the case, 14-year-old Christa Ramos (whose parents are from El Salvador), it means that she and her family can begin to live their lives again without fears of deportation.

“Ever since the TPS terminations were announced, I have been wondering how I can live a normal life if I am about to lose my mom,” Ramos said in a statement. “Today, my family and I are celebrating.”

The legal battle for TPS recipients is far from over as this is only a temporary fix.

There are still more legal battles for TPS recipients in the coming weeks as the case may make its way to the higher courts. It doesn’t force the administration to formally renew TPS, much less grant any more permanent legal status.


READ: Federal Judge Lets DACA Program Live Citing Harm If Program Is Canceled

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This Deported Veteran Has Returned To The US And Is Now An American Citizen

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This Deported Veteran Has Returned To The US And Is Now An American Citizen

SCREENSHOT / Green Card Veterans / FACEBOOK

Last year, Army veteran Miguel Perez was deported to Mexico, now he has finally become a United States citizen. While Perez served in the military with deployments in Afghanistan, a prior nonviolent drug conviction is why officials say the veteran was deported without warning. Perez was granted clemency by Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker and with the support of Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran herself, he was finally granted citizenship. 

Perez’s nightmare makes national news.

Perez arrived in the U.S. from Mexico legally when he was 8 years old. His parents and children are citizens, and Perez lived here with a Greencard for much of his life. In 2002 and 2004, Perez served in Afghanistan, when he returned, like many soldiers, he had PTSD. 

Pritzker said Perez should have had an “expedited path to citizenship” by way of an executive order by President George W. Bush, “but due to oversight, he was not afforded that opportunity.”

Perez says the experience at war overseas caused him to have PTSD and become addicted to drugs. It was this untreated addiction that would cause him to receive a felony drug conviction. He was convicted of delivering over two pounds of cocaine to an undercover cop in 2008 where he pleaded guilty. 

After serving his time for 7.5 years, in 2016 he was turned over to immigration officials where his Greencard was revoked. Last year, Perez was deported to Mexico. He says he was given no warning and no chance to speak to his family. 

Illinois Gov. J. N. Pritzker pardons Perez.

After a national public outcry, officials believed Perez was wrongfully deported. Pritzker granted him clemency in hopes of paving the way for the naturalization process with a clean record. “Now we believe that Miguel is eligible for naturalization because criminal conviction doesn’t render him ineligible through ‘bad moral character.’ That’s the term they use,” his lawyer, Chris Bergin told journalists in Laredo, Texas. “That’s what we’re going to argue, and I think it’s a good argument.” 
Bergin was sympathetic to Perez’s situation, suggesting it was a failure of the system to provide adequate support for veterans. 
“He served and saw serious action in Afghanistan,” Bergin said. “If we do support the troops, then we gotta support them all.”

Senator Tammy Duckworth fights on behalf of Perez and immigrants.

Senator Duckworth heard Perez’s case and went through many efforts to spare him from deportation by writing several letters of support including one directly asking U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson to personally review his case. 

“Miguel Perez was willing to protect our nation in uniform and his experiences after coming home—including the great lengths he went to reform his life—show us why we should never give up on our combat Veterans. While he shouldn’t have been deported in the first place, I’m glad he’s received this parole after Governor Pritzker granted him clemency to attend his citizenship hearing, and I wish Miguel the best of luck. It will be a proud day for our country when we can call Miguel a fellow American,” Senator Duckworth said in a statement. 

On the one-year anniversary of Perez’s deportation, she re-introduced three bills to support veterans and service members from deportation. The Veterans Visa and Protection Act, HOPE Act and I-VETS Act, “would prohibit the deportation of Veterans who are not violent offenders, give legal permanent residents a path to citizenship through military service and strengthen VA healthcare services for Veterans.” 

Perez becomes finally becomes a citizen. 

Long overdue swearing-in as a US Citizen!!!

Posted by Green Card Veterans on Friday, October 4, 2019

It wasn’t a call that the 41-year-old anticipated given the circumstances, but it was a welcome one nonetheless: he would be sworn in as a United States citizen. 

“I was like no way. Seriously? He was like, ‘Yeah, it’s official,’ ” Perez told CNN of when his lawyer got the news. 

Perez completed the naturalization oath with Green Card Veterans present. Now that he is back in the U.S. the veteran can spend time with his family and receive treatment for his health; Perez was being treated for an undisclosed issue when he received the call. 

“I get to take care of my health, first and foremost,” he said. “It’s been a long … a long journey, a long battle.”

On his first day back, Perez told CNN all he plans to do is go bowling with his son. Inspired by Perez’s situation Senator Duckworth and bill co-sponsors Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Mazie Hirono, and Senator Ron Wyden plan to keep fighting to prevent veterans from being deported.

“Men and women willing to wear our uniform shouldn’t be deported by the same nation they risked their lives to defend,” Duckworth said. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Is Getting Ready To Challenge Trump In The Supreme Court

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Is Getting Ready To Challenge Trump In The Supreme Court

Molly Adams / Flickr / agbecerra / Instagram

As the Supreme Court is set to take on the task of deciding the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) this fall, attorneys general from across the country sent in a filing brief in favor of the program. The 2012 Obama-era policy provided temporary legal status for participants and protected them from deportation. More importantly, it included the ability to work in the U.S. It also became a focal point in the debate over Trump’s proposed US-Mexico border wall back in February and his plans to take on illegal immigration. 

The Supreme Court decided to take on the case in June and will then hear oral arguments on the case in November with an expected ruling in the 2020 election year, putting the highest court in the land at the center of this divisive issue. For California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, this issue hits close to home. 

Of the roughly 700,000 DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, almost 200,000 of them live in California.

Credit: @XavierBeccerra / Twitter

In a brief filed last Friday to the Supreme Court, Becerra and other fellow attorneys generals from Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota argued that the Trump administration unlawfully terminated the program back in September 2017. Becerra has been at the forefront of the fight defending DACA. In his state of California, there are roughly 200,000 recipients and many of them go to school and work there. 

“The Trump Administration continues to hide behind the flimsy excuse that their hands were tied and they had to end DACA,” said Attorney General Becerra said last week. “The truth is there is no basis for that conclusion. Dreamers who have called America home for decades contribute significantly to our communities as teachers, first responders, entrepreneurs, and so much more. Many of them know no other home than the United States.”

Back in September 2017, the Trump administration initially said it was going to end the program, making the claim it was an illegal use of executive power by then-President Obama. That resulted in various lawsuits and injunctions filed by three U.S. district courts, including one in California. This would allow those who were previously granted DACA the power to renew their applications. 

When it was announced that oral arguments would be heard in front of the Supreme Court, Becerra was one of the most vocal political figures defending the program. He said then that he would do everything in his power to fight the Trump administration. 

“DACA reflects our nation’s commitment to helping hardworking people and creates hope and opportunity for a new generation – many of whom were brought to our country as toddlers. So far, both lower courts in our legal fight to protect DACA have agreed with us that the Trump Administration’s attempt to end it was unlawful,” Attorney General Becerra said back in June. “In California and across our nation, Dreamers enrich our communities as scholars, entrepreneurs, first responders, and much more. We look forward to making our case before the Supreme Court.”

The brief emphasizes the economic contributions that DACA recipients have on the U.S. and the consequences of terminating the program would have on the job market.

Credit: Unsplash

“Getting rid of DACA will reduce economic growth and cost our federal, state, and local governments about $95 billion in foregone tax revenues, without any appreciable employment gains for U.S. citizens,” Ike Branon wrote in an op-ed for Forbes last month. 

Dreamers contribute almost $9 billion in federal, state and local taxes every single tear. The result of removing the program would cause businesses to lose billions of dollars in turnover costs if their DACA-recipient employees are no longer able to legally live and work in the U.S. The statistics also show creating a pathway for legal citizenship is beneficial for all and will only cause more harm than good is rescinded. 

President Trump has repeatedly used DACA as a way to try to get lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform. So far, there has been no progress on that front as both Democrats and Republicans have not been able to come pass any legislation. 

As we wait for the Supreme Court to hear the case on DACA, thousands of people wait as their futures and livelihood in the U.S. hang in the balance. It will take more people like Becerra to stand up and voice their opinion on the program if it stands any chance of surviving. 

READ: City Officials Tell Judge Deceased Undocumented Immigrant Has No Rights Under The Constitution After Police Accidentally Killed Him