AG Becerra Co-Leads Amicus Brief Standing Up for Temporary Protected Status Holders

SACRAMENTO, Sept. 19, 2018 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia in leading a multistate amicus brief in support of plaintiffs in Saget v. Trump. In this case, plaintiffs challenge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policy to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for thousands of Haitian nationals, many of whom have lived in the United States for decades and have U.S. citizen family members in their households. TPS is a humanitarian program that provides legal status and work authorization to people whose countries of origin are unsafe and cannot safely accommodate their return.

“Revoking TPS will undermine our economy and our public safety,” said Attorney General Becerra. “TPS holders are our neighbors and coworkers who have come to the United States seeking safety and stability. Uprooting their lives does not improve our communities. We will continue to fight the Trump Administration’s wrongheaded actions tearing families apart.”

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In the brief, the states support plaintiffs’ argument that DHS’s new policy on TPS can and should be reviewed by the courts. The brief also cites numerous studies that show that terminating TPS for Haitian recipients will do serious damage to states, localities and communities. Over the next ten years, loss of legal status for Haitian TPS holders is projected to cost more than $2.7 billion in GDP, more than $428 million in Social Security and Medicare contributions and nearly $60 million in employers’ turnover costs.

In the brief, the states also point out that the Trump Administration’s action will force hardworking families to make agonizing choices, as 27,000 U.S. citizen children have been born to Haitian TPS holders and nine percent of TPS holders are married to a U.S. citizen. TPS holders are placed in the impossible position of choosing whether to stay in the United States and live unstable lives in the shadows, return to Haiti alone leaving their American children behind, or take their children with them to a demonstrably unsafe country. The resulting family separation increases the likelihood of trauma for separated children, and imposes serious burdens on families and foster care systems and undermines public health and safety. Multiple federal agencies acknowledged in internal documents that TPS holders face serious risks if they are forced to return to their country of origin.

In this brief, California, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia are joined by the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virgina, Vermont and Washington.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting longtime residents with TPS. Last month, Attorney General Becerra led an amicus brief in a California case, Ramos v. Nielsen, relating to the termination of TPS for nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. In June 2018, the Attorney General co-led a similar multistate amicus brief in a Massachusetts case, Centro Presente v. Trump. In March 2018, as part of a coalition of 18 states and the District of Columbia, he urged Congress to grant TPS holders lawful permanent residence (green cards), which wou ld allow them to remain in the United States if their TPS status were terminated.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.