Attorney General Aaron Ford Joins Multistate Effort to Defend Temporary Protected Status Holders Before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

February 8, 2019

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in Ramos v. Nielsen before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The brief supports the plaintiffs’ efforts to prevent the potential deportation of hundreds of thousands of individuals currently residing in the U.S. who hold Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Furthermore, the brief asks the Ninth Circuit to uphold the preliminary nationwide injunction that plaintiffs obtained in the District Court that would prevent the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from terminating TPS designations for Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan.

    “Nevada is home to more than 4,000 Temporary Protected Status holders who are working, contributing members of our community at large,” said Attorney General Aaron Ford. “Facing dire circumstances, they sought shelter and comfort here. While this Administration has attacked this population and the program that protects them, my office has filed this brief to show support for these 4,000 individuals who call Nevada home, and we will continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our families.”

      “Protecting the TPS program isn’t a negotiating tactic — it’s a promise made to the thousands of TPS holders for whom home means Nevada,” added Governor Steve Sisolak. “My administration will always stand up for the most vulnerable in our State, including our friends and neighbors who fled disease, violence, starvation and other life-threatening conditions. Nevada’s TPS holders are vital members of our economy and society, and we will continue to fight to protect them.”

        Temporary Protected Status designations protect individuals who are in the United States and whose home countries face armed conflict, natural disasters or other crises that make the return of TPS holders to their home countries unsafe. Many TPS holders have resided in the U.S. for a decade or more, starting families and businesses, purchasing homes and contributing to their communities.

          Under the Trump Administration, DHS changed its long-standing practice of evaluating the conditions of a country as a whole when determining whether it is safe for TPS holders to return. Without any substantial explanation, DHS argued that it can only look at the original condition in the home country that prompted its TPS designation when deciding whether to extend that designation. This new policy ignores other intervening conditions that pose serious threats to the safety of TPS holders.

            The plaintiffs in this case alleged that DHS enacted its new rule without following legal requirements, and the District Court agreed and blocked DHS from implementing the new policy pending the final outcome of the case. In this brief, the coalition of attorneys general note that DHS’s new rule is contrary to the public interest and will harm the people of Nevada and other states in a number of ways, including its impact on:

              • Family members and especially hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizen children, who will suffer trauma and hardship from unnecessary and forced separation;

                • The economy and the workforce, which are enriched by the employment, entrepreneurship and contributions of TPS holders;

                  • Public revenues, which are enhanced by the taxes contributed by TPS holders, including an estimated $100 million in property taxes collected annually from Salvadoran homeowners with TPS alone;

                    • Health and child care delivery, which will suffer from disruptions in care provided by TPS holders who work at child care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals, as well as provide in-home care;

                      • Public health, which will be hindered by the loss of employer-sponsored insurance for TPS holders and their families; and

                        • Public safety, which will be damaged by making former TPS holders less likely to report crime.

                          In the brief, the attorneys general also argue that the District Court’s decision to enter the preliminary injunction on a nationwide basis was correct, based on the substantial evidence presented to the court regarding the national impact of the federal government’s decisions to rescind TPS designations.

                            In addition to Nevada, attorneys general from the following states and territories have joined this brief: California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

                              A copy of the amicus brief is available here.