A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered the administration of President Donald Trump to allow more than 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan to remain in the United States for the time being.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking the administration's plan to terminate temporary protected status, or TPS, for immigrants from those countries.
The order will remain effect until a full trial is held on a lawsuit filed by nine immigrants and five citizen children.
Chen scheduled a hearing on Oct. 26 to discuss next steps and said he wants an expedited adjudication of the case.
The judge wrote in a 43-page decision that the plaintiffs had raised serious questions about whether the decision to terminate the protection was motivated by unconstitutional bias against non-white, non-European immigrants.
He quoted disparaging comments made by Trump about Central American and African counties, including his Jan. 11 remark asking, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"
Chen also said the plaintiffs had made a substantial argument that the administration may have violated the procedural requirements of a federal administrative law "in order to implement and justify a pre-ordained result desired by the White House."
Temporary protected status is granted to people from countries facing upheavals such as natural disasters or civil war.
It has been in effect for people from the four countries for eight to 21 years.