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Supreme Court Presented With a Landmark Immigration Case: Nielsen v. Preap

On October 3rd, 2018, US District Judge for the 9th Circuit, Edward Chen granted a preliminary injunction preventing the Trump administration from discontinuing temporary protected status, known as TPS, and deporting over 300,000 immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua. This ruling enacted that the administration must continue TPS and the employment authorizations for recipients.

Facts of the Case

Three lawful permanent residents filed a class action suit when immigration authorities took them under custody and detained them without a bond hearing years after they had served criminal sentences for offenses that can lead to a removal.
One of the lead plaintiffs, Mony Preap, has been in the United States as a permanent resident lawfully since 1981 and has two convictions for the possession of marijuana. He served his time and was released in 2006 but immigration took him into custody in 2013.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act was enacted in 1996 and grants immigration authorities to detain immigrants if they commit a crime but does not outline a time restriction. Instead, immigration authorities are granted the ability to detain immigrants any time after they serve their time for the criminal charge. The plaintiff’s main argument is that without a timeline, authorities can wait months, if not years to detain immigrants that are lawful permanent residents. The 1996 statute “lists a broad range of crimes, from serious felonies to misdemeanor offenses involving moral turpitude and simple possession of a controlled substance.”

What was the reasoning behind the ruling?

Judge Chen outlined in his ruling that there is sufficient evidence to propose that the administration may be violating the Constitution but also that the actions of the White House staff and administration reflect an “animus against non-white, non-European immigrants in violation of Equal Protection guaranteed by the Constitution.” (CNN) Additionally, Judge Chen highlights the importance of TPS beneficiaries to our local and national economies and how we will see a significant detriment if TPS were to be a removed protection. However, this continues to be a battle since this is a temporary measure and many fears that this is only the beginning. But here at Morales & Sparks, we will continue fighting for those that are searching for a better life.


Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general information and is not to be constituted as legal advice. If you need help with a specific issue, please seek the advice of an attorney.