Immigrants sue US over temporary protected status being ended
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Trump administration’s decision to end a program that lets immigrants from four countries live and work legally in the U.S. was motivated by racism and leaves the immigrants’ American born children with an “impossible choice,” according to a federal lawsuit filed on Monday.
Nine immigrants and five children filed the suit in federal court in San Francisco to reinstate temporary protected status for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.
The status is granted to countries ravaged by natural disasters or war. It lets citizens of those countries remain in the U.S. until the situation improves back home.
The lawsuit — at least the third challenging the administration’s decision to end temporary protected status — cites President Donald Trump’s vulgar language during a meeting in January to describe African countries.
“They did it because of xenophobia, and we need to make sure that we say it loudly so that everyone knows,” said Martha Arevalo, executive director of the immigrant advocacy group, Central American Resource Center.
Arevalo spoke at a rally to announce the lawsuit outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco that was attended by some of the plaintiffs and dozens of demonstrators, some carrying signs that read, “Let Our People Stay.”
One of the plaintiffs, Cristina Morales, said she came to the U.S. in 1993 at the age of 12 after fleeing El Salvador to escape domestic violence. She received temporary protected status in 2001 and now works as an afterschool teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area.
She was accompanied at the rally by her 14-yearold daughter, Crista Ramos, who along with her 11-year-old son, Diego Ramos, are U.S. citizens.
“I don’t want the government to split my family and to lose my home, my friends and the opportunity for a good education,” Crista said.
Morales, 37, her voice quivering with emotion, said she has nothing to go back to in El Salvador.