The Trump administration said Thursday it will extend special immigration protections for Haiti and three other countries until January 2020.

The decision by the Department of Homeland Security, announced Thursday, gives thousands of Haitians an additional six-month reprieve from deportation, but holders of Temporary Protected Status still face uncertainty as the Trump administration continues to fight in the courts to end the program.

The decision affects Haitians, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Sudanese in the United States.

“This extension gives space to breathe to some of us. However, thousands of TPS holders who are not included in this lawsuit are still in limbo without any court protections,” said Hiwaida Elarabi, a TPS holder from Sudan and one of the plaintiffs in a California court case that led to the extension.

The extension affects over 300,000 people who have been allowed to temporarily live and work in the U.S. after war or major natural disasters in their own countries.

In October, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen granted a preliminary injunction stopping the administration and the Homeland Security from terminating TPS for immigrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan.

“TPS for those countries will not be terminated unless and until any superseding, final, non-appealable judicial order permits the implementation of such termination,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services order says.

The government has appealed the judge’s ruling. The California case is one of five lawsuits that have been filed challenging the administration’s decision to rescind the temporary protection. In January, a federal trial in New York ended with internal government emails showing that the administration was so determined to end the program for Haitians that it ignored its own government’s research flagging health and safety concerns in Haiti.

A decision in the case isn’t expected until after Friday. Continue reading

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