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Judge Blocks Trump's Plan To End Temporary Protected Status For 300,000 Immigrants


Immigrants from four countries who have temporary protected status just got a reprieve. A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's plan to take away those protections. More than 300,000 immigrants were facing deportation after years in the United States. NPR's Joel Rose reports this ruling will allow many of them to stay in the U.S. legally for now.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan have been panicked about losing their legal status, some in just a few weeks.

HOWAIDA AL-ARABI: The deadline was coming really fast, and it was terrifying and distressing.

ROSE: Howaida al-Arabi (ph) came to the U.S. from Sudan 21 years ago. She lives in Massachusetts where she earned a master's degree and works in health care. The temporary injunction will let her keep that job. And on a call with reporters, al-Arabi says she's relieved not to be going back to a region that's still reeling from civil war and genocide.

AL-ARABI: The judge's decision yesterday was a huge and big relief. I will not be forced to return to a place where I'm afraid to go to and where I have not lived for more than 20 years.

ROSE: Al-Arabi is one of the plaintiffs alleging that the Trump administration violated their constitutional protections of due process and equal protection. The administration has terminated temporary protected status, or TPS, for immigrants from troubled countries around the world. In his order, Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco wrote that ending TPS would cause irreparable harm and great hardship. And the judge found there's evidence President Trump was motivated to end the program by racial bias. The Justice Department denies that the administration, quote, "did anything improper," unquote. Immigration hard-liners said the injunction is an example of activism by liberal judges.


DAN STEIN: This kind of legal decision is exactly what the American people are sick of.

ROSE: Dan Stein is the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which wants lower levels of immigration to the U.S. Stein posted a video on Facebook today that's been viewed thousands of times. He says TPS was intended to help people from countries suffering from war or natural disasters, but it wasn't supposed to last forever.


STEIN: Last time I checked Webster's Dictionary, temporary meant short term, not permanent.

ROSE: While the fight continues in court, TPS holders are pushing Congress to give them permanent residency. Joel Rose, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Joel Rose is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. He covers immigration and breaking news.