Immigrants from Honduras and Nepal filed a class action lawsuit against the United States government Monday, alleging that the Trump administration’s decision to end the temporary protected status for these immigrants was “motivated by racial animus.”
The temporary protected status program allows individuals from certain countries to legally live and work in the U.S. if they are not safe in their own country due to armed conflict, natural disaster, or other such circumstances. The Trump administration has moved to end this designation for many countries, arguing conditions have improved.
A judge blocked the administration’s efforts to end this program for the 300,000 people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan currently living in the U.S. under TPS, but the October decision left out more than 100,000 immigrants from Honduras and Nepal. Many of these people came to the U.S. at a young age and have established lives.
“TPS holders from Nepal and Honduras have over 50,000 U.S.-citizen children,” states the lawsuit. “These children, many of whom are school-aged, face an impossible choice between leaving the only home they have ever known and growing up without one or both of their parents.”
The suit—which names Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, former deputy secretary Elaine Duke, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. government as defendants—says the Trump administration “reviewed TPS designations with the goal of removing non-white, non-European immigrants from the United States.”
“DHS was directly influenced by the White House and its racist immigration policies, and it made decisions regarding TPS terminations on that unlawful basis,” it continues.
The suit was filed by six immigrants and two of their American-born children in federal court in San Francisco, the Associated Press reports.
Honduras was designated for TPS in 1999 following a devastating hurricane, and under the Trump administration, the DHS set the program to expire in January 2020. Nepal was designated in 2015 following a severe earthquake, but the program will terminate in June 2019.