ABA president expresses concern about loss of provisional residency for more than 300,000 immigrants

Immigration Law

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ABA President Hilarie Bass. Photo courtesy of the Office of the President.

ABA President Hilarie Bass issued a statement on Thursday raising concerns about the end of temporary protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the United States following natural disasters in their native countries.

In the statement, Bass said the ABA is concerned over the fate of about 250,000 Salvadorans, 60,000 Haitians and 5,000 Nicaraguans who lost their temporary protected status over the past two months. At the same time, Bass said the ABA is encouraged by bipartisan discussions addressing the plight of immigrants brought to the country illegally as minors.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday that it will end provisional residency permits for Salvadorans living here after earthquakes in El Salvador in 2001, the Washington Post reported. The immigrants have until September 2019 to leave or find a way to obtain green cards.

Temporary status is also ending for Haitians who came to the United States following a 2010 earthquake and Nicaraguans who came here after a 1999 hurricane.

The administration has also announced it is winding down the program that deferred deportation for immigrants brought to the country illegally as minors. The Justice Department had contended the Obama administration circumvented Congress when it implemented the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

A federal judge temporarily blocked phase-out of the program on Tuesday, the same day that President Donald Trump met with lawmakers to discuss a legislative renewal for the program.

Bass said the ABA was encouraged by the bipartisan discussions addressing DACA and immigration reform. “The ABA calls on Congress to work toward a bipartisan solution to establish comprehensive immigration reform for millions of hardworking immigrants who help sustain our nation and uphold our country’s founding principles,” she said.

Bass also said DHS recognized that some people losing their temporary protected status may be eligible for other protections under U.S. immigration law.

“The American Bar Association urges all individuals who risk losing their protected status to obtain qualified legal advice from a lawyer or accredited representative and to avoid individuals who lack proper credentials to practice immigration law,” Bass said.

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