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“Nothing lasts longer than a temporary government program,” President Reagan once said. That adage certainly applies to the Temporary Protected Status program. TPS was intended to give only short-term permission for aliens to be in the U.S., but that permission has often gone on seemingly without end.

Fortunately, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-to-1 decision, has just dissolved an injunction that prevented the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from ending TPS for illegal aliens from Sudan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Haiti who have been in the U.S. for decades.

As Judge Consuelo Callahan explained in Ramos v. Wolf, the TPS program was created in 1990 to provide “temporary relief to nationals of designated foreign countries that have been stricken by a natural disaster, armed conflict or other ‘extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state.” It is codified at 8 U.S.C. §1254a; 21 countries and the Province of Kosovo have received TPS designations.

Initial TPS designations last for a period of 6 to 18 months. Sixty days before the end of the designated time-period, DHS is supposed to determine whether the conditions – such as a hurricane – that led to TPS status still exist. If DHS does nothing to terminate the TPS designation, it is automatically continued. The statute also very specifically says that the courts have no jurisdiction to review the decision by DHS to make the designation in the first place or to terminate it.

Between 2017 and 2018, the Trump administration terminated the TPS designations of Sudan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Haiti. These countries had one major thing in common – they had been on the TPS list for about two decades, with only one exception.

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