A lawsuit was filed on Monday to undo the Trump administration’s decision to revoke immigration protections for hundreds of thousands of people from several Central American and African nations.
The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of the American children of immigrants with temporary protected status. TPS is far from an immigration catch all; it’s reserved for people fleeing countries because of things like disease, natural disasters, and armed conflict. According to The Guardian, many TPS holders have lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years and, should the lawsuits fail, thousands will be separated from their families and deported immediately.
“These American children should not have to choose between their country and their family.” said Ahilan Arulanantham, advocacy and legal director of the ACLU of Southern California, the chapter that is filing the lawsuit.
The ACLU believes that the “new rule violates the constitutional rights of school-age United States citizen children of TPS holders,” by forcing children to make that impossible choice.
While TPS still exists (for now), the current administration has adopted a more restrictive utilization of the status. As a result, immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan — the countries President Trump allegedly referred to as ‘shit holes’ — will no longer be protected. Salvadorans will be the most impacted by the decision, as two-thirds of those with TPS status are from El Salvador. Their status was cancelled, according to the administration, because El Salvador has since rebuilt in the wake of the earthquakes that ravaged the nation in 2001.
It could also be likely that the Trump administration is upending TPS in an attempt to take visible action on one of his big talking points: quelling the threat of the (primarily Salvadoran) gang, MS-13.
In any case, if the lawsuit fails, hundreds of thousands of people will be deported — and many families will be shattered.