Immigrants Say Court Ruling Is a Big Shot of Adrenaline

A busload of immigrants, calling themselves the TPS Journey 4 Justice Caravan is traveling across the country to raise awareness about Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.

The group set off from Los Angeles in August but by the time it landed in New York this weekend, something had changed: a federal judge had blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end TPS for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan, saying it was racially motivated and would cause irreparable harm to children.

One of the passengers, Cecilia Martinez, is a TPS recipient from Long Island who said after learning of the ruling, she was “screaming, crying for two hours. Because it’s a light of hope in all this darkness.”

“This is like a huge breath of air for many TPS holders from these countries,” said Pabitra Khati Benjamin, executive director of a Nepali American group, Adhikaar. “It gives us a little space to hold back, try to figure out how we’re going to strategize and move forward.”

The Trump administration has argued that the executive branch has wide latitude to set immigration policy, and that TPS was never intended to be a permanent program, as the name suggests.

Ninaj Raoul, of the group Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, stressed that the court ruling was itself temporary.

“At least it buys us time for the residency campaign that the National TPS Alliance has,” said Raoul, “because what we’re really going for, is permanent residency.”

By Arun Venugopal for WNYC
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