The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to an en banc rehearing in Ramos v. Mayorkas, potentially further extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for tens of thousands of individuals with current status from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan who have been in limbo waiting on a final ruling in the this case.

By way of background, in 2018, a federal district court in California issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Trump Administration from terminating TPS status for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Soon thereafter, TPS beneficiaries from Honduras and Nepal were also given injunctive relief.

In 2020, a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit set aside the district court ruling, but the termination did not go into effect because the government agreed not to terminate status while the TPS plaintiffs sought a rehearing.

In 2021, the Biden Administration entered negotiations with the TPS plaintiffs about how to achieve some sort of permanent status. The Ramos case was paused during these negotiations, which lasted until October 2022 when there was an impasse. The government agreed that TPS protection would continue, and work authorization would be extended, for all those countries involved for at least one year if the program was terminated through litigation or until June 20, 2024 – whichever was later. The en banc rehearing is the next (but not necessarily the last) step in this process.

The Biden Administration continues defending the Trump Administration’s determination ending TPS for the designated countries based upon the argument that the courts cannot substitute its determination in this case. However, to the extent the Biden Administration has been open to granting TPS to other countries, including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ukraine and Venezuela, and has extended and redesignated TPS for Burma, Haiti, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria, it may be open to resolving this matter in a way more favorable to the class. Under the most recent regulations, the over 100,000 beneficiaries from El Salvador, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Honduras will remain subject to the government’s decision to extend their TPS to June 20, 2024, or will have their status extended for at least one year after the program is terminated through litigation.

Jackson Lewis attorneys will provide updates as the rehearing process moves forward.