Kemi Bello, ILRC Communications Manager

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                September 6, 2016                            

Kemi Bello, kbello [at] ilrc.org, (415) 321-8568

Over 100 Law Professors: President has Legal Authority to Protect Central Americans Fleeing Violence

Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala Immune to Most Legal Challenges

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, 102 immigration and administrative law professors delivered a letter to President Barack Obama stating that his Administration—through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—has the legal authority to and should designate El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala (the Northern Triangle countries) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), potentially benefiting 1.2 million undocumented immigrants. TPS is a form of humanitarian protection that provides protection from deportation and employment authorization for undocumented immigrants who cannot be safely returned to their country. 

The legal experts in the letter argue that such designation would likely be immune to the type of legal challenges that have stalled the President’s expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. The letter was written by Professor Erin Corcoran, former Director of the Warren B Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership & Public Service at the University of New Hampshire Law; Professor Andrew Schoenholtz, Director of the Human Rights Institute at Georgetown Law; and Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and Director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights at Penn State Law-University Park.

“The legal foundation for the administration to designate TPS to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras is clear,” states Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.Congress established TPS as a tool for responding to humanitarian emergencies like those in the Northern Triangle countries.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and the National Immigrant Justice Center delivered the letter to President, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on behalf of the professors. Recently, the ILRC released a report detailing the legal grounds for designation of TPS to Northern Triangle countries.

This is the second letter in support of TPS for the Northern Triangle countries sent by law professors. The first, sent earlier this year, outlined the deteriorating country conditions that warrant TPS designations. The law professor’s letter joins a chorus of growing voices in support of TPS for the Northern Triangle countries, including more than 270 immigrant and refugee organizations; 200 faith groups; 146 members of the House of Representatives; and 23 members of the U.S. Senate.

Read the full letter here.


About the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, law enforcement, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. https://www.ilrc.org