Local News

Group gathers in Raleigh to protest ruling that would end protected status for some immigrants

Posted September 15, 2020 1:13 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2020 4:49 p.m. EDT

— A split federal appeals court panel ruling said the Trump administration can terminate humanitarian protections for 300,000 immigrants from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. The decision means that thousands of immigrants who have lived in the United States could eventually be deported.

The Temporary Protective Status Program allows immigrants from certain counties the right to a work permit, protection from deportation and authorization to travel to and from the United States. The program is conditional, and members have to get their status renewed periodically.

When the Department of Homeland Security reviews an immigrant’s TPS status, it considers whether conditions prevent a person from returning to their home country or whether they would face extreme hardships if they did so.

Members of the TPS Alliance who gathered in downtown Raleigh Tuesday said the ruling will tear families apart. The group gathered on Tuesday outside the North Carolina Legislative Building.

Organizers said there are roughly 2,000 people in North Carolina who are part of this program, including the head of the group, Gregorio Cruz.

He said he came to the United States 23 years ago from Honduras and has built a life, family and career here.

"I don't want to just throw away everything. I want to continue to pay my mortgage, my loan and my credit cards," Cruz said.

Emelina Umana is an undocumented immigrant, but she considers the U.S. home after leaving El Salvador 20 years ago. After raising a family in Durham, she and her husband may be forced back to their native land.

"Her biggest concern is if she or my dad have to go back, we don't have anything over there. We don't have anything to land on," said Umana's daughter, Yaquelin.

Members said they planned to continue their fight for residency by contacting local churches and businesses to get with them in their fight for residency.

They also said they planned to appeal the federal court ruling and exhaust every legal resource right up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

TPS does not provide a path to permanent residence or citizenship in the U.S. If someone’s TPS designation ends, they return to the immigration status they held before receiving the TPS designation. Those who are not eligible for other immigration benefits, are designated as undocumented and could face deportation.

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