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Activists rally at SF City Hall in support of TPS immigrants

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SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi speaks during a rally at City Hall organized by the National Temporary Protected Status Alliance that is part of the “TPS Journey for Justice” bus tour across the country on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

A group of immigrants traveling the country to bring awareness to people living in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status made a stop in San
Francisco Monday afternoon to hold a rally.

The TPS Caravan for Justice, as the activists are called, are visiting more than 50 cities across the U.S. over a 12-week period to highlight the Trump Administration’s decision to end the program for some.

The program allows people from nations facing upheaval or natural disasters to live and work in the United States on a renewable temporary basis.

The administration is planning to end TPS for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Liberia, Syria, South Sudan and Nepal at various times in 2019, citing improved conditions in those nations.

TPS for people from Sudan is set to end in November, while the end of TPS for people from Nicaragua is set for early January.

“We’re here to fix a system that is broken,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said at the rally outside of City Hall.

“It is about ensuring that all Americans understand how important TPS is. At a time when we should be expanding the program, the Trump Administration is eliminating it. At a time when we should be opening our borders to immigrants, the Trump Administration is doing everything it can to destroy the important sanctuary cities, like what we have here in San Francisco,” Adachi said. “We need to band together. We need to make sure that our message is heard loud and clear.”

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who also made an appearance at the rally, said, “Ending TPS for the countries, especially in Central America, where we’ve had it for so long, especially, where there continues to be so much violence and so many reasons for people to be escaping those countries to come to the U.S. to have safety for their families and themselves,” she said. “Immigrants contribute to our communities. They’re what make the U.S. amazing and strong and a place that we’re proud of.”

The activists are demanding that TPS holders be provided a path to permanent residency.

In March, a lawsuit filed by nine immigrants from countries affected by the TPS changes and five of their U.S. citizen children is seeking a preliminary injunction blocking the termination of their status.

Cristina Morales, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said at the rally that the decision early this year by the Trump Administration to end TPS for some has already impacted her and her family “really bad.”

Morales said, “If we don’t stop this administration, more families are going to be on the same boat.

“It’s hard for me to place my family in a situation where they have to decide to go back with me to a country they don’t belong to or to stay without me. And it’s not fair for me to go back. I don’t know that country. I’ve been here for so long; for twenty years. This is my home. I belong here,” she said.

According to the group National TPS Alliance, if TPS were ended for all countries, the termination would affect as many as 450,000 TPS holders, in addition to their 270,000 U.S.-born children.

“Without TPS, without having protections, it will be really easy for the government to get rid of us. They are going to send us with no excuses; they’re going to separate us from our families. And we don’t want that. We want justice. And we need all your help,” Morales said.

-Daniel Montes, Bay City News

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