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UUSC Deplores Ruling in TPS Case; Calls on Congress to Act

CAMBRIDGE, MA (September 15, 2020) — On Monday, September 14, a three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited opinion in Ramos v. Nielsen (now Ramos v. Wolf): a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for multiple countries. Two of the three judges voted to lift a lower court’s injunction barring cancellation of TPS—a program that temporarily shields immigrants from deportation to countries facing humanitarian crisis. A third judge dissented from the ruling and would have found for the plaintiffs.

UUSC’s President and CEO Rev. Mary Katherine Morn made the following statement:

“I am frankly baffled by the panel’s decision, which sets aside overwhelming evidence that this administration broke the law in cancelling TPS, just as it did in ending DACA. Both actions flow from this president’s oft-expressed racism against immigrants of color; as such, they violate the Constitution—which promises everyone in this country equal protection of the law. The plaintiffs and other TPS holders who have courageously fought for their rights deserve better than this.

The majority of people in this country reject the racism and xenophobia that seeks to exclude migrants and tear apart families. The time is past due for Congress to provide permanent protections and end the nightmare TPS families face. The Senate should immediately take up and pass the Dream and Promise Act that the House long since sent to their door, which would create a path to permanent residency.”

Thousands of TPS holders have built their lives in the United States based on a legal standing that is now threatened. They are the parents of an estimated 250,000 U.S. citizen children and contribute billions each year to the U.S. economy and tax base. Many are frontline professionals responding to the coronavirus pandemic, keeping other Americans safe at great personal risk. TPS holders also provide crucial lifelines for their countries of origin, which benefit from remittance payments from U.S.-based family members in times of humanitarian distress.

If the Ramos v. Wolf ruling is allowed to go into effect, barring further review by a larger panel of Ninth Circuit judges, it sets a countdown ticking in which the status will end for many TPS holders in March 2021. UUSC calls on Congress to heed this timeline and enact permanent protections now.


The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates.