How Much Longer is ‘Temporary,’ Judge?
Another day, another judge wrests control of immigration enforcement.
A federal district judge in San Francisco on Thursday blocked a Trump administration move against a program that granted temporary status to hundreds of thousands of immigrants to live in the U.S., some for more than a decade.
Judge Edward Chen prevented action on some 240,000 immigrants facing a series of deportation deadlines starting next month. Under his interpretation, the migrants’ Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is open-ended and subject to endless extensions from his bench.
Judge Chen’s order follows lower-court rulings blocking the Executive Branch’s authority to restrict travel from countries linked to terrorism (the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the president) and to end the constitutionally questionable Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). A district court is also micromanaging detentions along the southwest border.
As its name connotes, TPS confers temporary residency to foreign nationals from countries embroiled in wars or major natural disasters.
Nearly 200,000 citizens of El Salvador were scheduled to lose their TPS status next fall – 17 years after it was granted because of an earthquake in that country. Honduran and Nicaraguan nationals residing here when Hurricane Mitch struck have enjoyed “temporary” hospitality since 1999. And the few hundred Somalis got TPS in 1991.
During previous administrations, TPS extensions were pro-forma to the point of absurdity. When Honduran TPS was extended two years ago, the Obama administration cited a coffee rust epidemic and increase in mosquito-borne diseases there.
The Trump administration argues, correctly, that the humanitarian program has been abused beyond its limits, and that conditions in the affected countries are now suitable for their citizens to return home.
But Judge Chen, appointed to the bench by Barack Obama, thinks TPS holders and the U.S. communities in which they now live would be harmed by removal. A brief filed by 17 states estimated they would lose $132 billion in gross domestic product, $5.2 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions and $733 million in employer turnover costs if TPS recipients are sent home. (No accounting is made of costs to educate, treat and serve these TPS charges.)
Such pleadings in Judge Chen’s hands suggest there will never be an appropriate time to put the “temporary” back in Temporary Protected Status.
Ironically, TPS was launched in 1990 to limit presidents from gaming the immigration system.
“Before TPS, presidents simply made up phony statuses such as Extended Voluntary Departure and Deferred Enforced Departure for illegals they didn’t want to deport — and gave them work permits, even though there was no legal basis for doing so,” writes Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Shamelessly, bureaucrats and politicians from both parties have continued to find workarounds. Now Judge Chen is doing some freelancing of his own. He doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on.
According to the statute governing TPS: ‘There is no judicial review of any determination of the [secretary of Homeland Security]with respect to the designation, or termination or extension. …”
“Judge Chen had no authority to even review the administration’s TPS terminations,” FAIR President Dan Stein stated Thursday.
Case closed. Sooner, not later.