LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to push back against the Trump administration’s move to end Temporary Protected Status for thousands of Nicaraguan immigrants.
Nicaraguans with provisional residency — some of whom have been allowed to remain in the country since 1998 — have been given 14 months to leave the U.S., a decision that Supervisor Hilda Solis said would tear families apart.
“The Trump administration’s decision to end the TPS designation for more than 5,000 Nicaraguans with provisional residency is needless at best and callous at worst,” Solis said. “This action will tear apart families and upend the lives of hard-working immigrants who have contributed so much to our country for so long.”
Temporary Protected Status has been granted to immigrants unable to return home safety due to armed conflict, environmental disaster — such as an earthquake or hurricane — an epidemic or other extraordinary conditions.
The protections are temporary by design and in the case of Nicaragua were related to catastrophic damage wrought by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
Acting Homeland Security Security Elaine Duke said the conditions caused by the deadly hurricane no longer exist.
The administration delayed a decision on immigrants from Honduras, saying more time was needed to assess conditions in that country, and extended protections to July. It did not mention Salvadorans, Haitian or Syrians, whose status is set to expire in January or March, depending on the country.
Solis said she believed DHS was preparing to make additional announcements on Monday.
More than 200,000 Salvadorans live in the U.S. with provisional residency, making them the largest such group. An estimated 86,000 Hondurans and 59,000 Haitians have protected status.
Immigrants from Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen also have protected status with expirations scheduled later next year, with the exception of South Sudanese nationals whose status extends through 2019.
The board voted to send a letter to Trump and congressional leaders denouncing the decision to end TPS in Nicaragua and any pending termination as to Hondurans, Haitians and Salvadorans and demanding a permanent legislative solution.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas also highlighted Los Angeles County’s amicus brief in opposition of the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Childhood Arrivals program.
The “friend of the court” brief — in support of lawsuits filed by California and the University of California — alleges that the administration violated the Constitution and federal laws when it rescinded the DACA program.
“Los Angeles County is home to the nation’s largest concentration of DACA recipients,” Ridley-Thomas said. “We cannot turn our backs on them, as they are part of the fabric of our society, making significant contributions to our culture and economy.”
California’s suit was joined by the attorneys general for Minnesota, Maryland and Maine. The county’s brief was signed by a total of nine counties in California and Maryland and the Ramsey County Attorney in Minnesota.
DACA — which was implemented by executive action during the Obama administration — offers young undocumented immigrants the chance to work and study in the U.S. without fear of deportation. An estimated 800,000 people have signed up for the program, more than one-quarter of whom live in California.
A Cato Institute study projects that repeal would result in a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade, while the Center for American Progress estimates that it would create a drop in U.S. gross domestic product of $433.4 billion over the same time period.
Los Angeles County would be disproportionately hurt because so many DACA recipients call the region home. County-level data from the first year of the program showed that the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metro area had the highest concentration of requests approved under DACA, with 13 percent of the total.
The brief also argues that taking away protections under DACA would have public safety ramifications.
“DACA has helped make neighborhoods safer, because recipients are able to cooperate more freely and effectively with law enforcement to report crimes,” it states.