On June 24, 2019, the law firm Handley Farah & Anderson filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on behalf of the nonprofit groups Adhikaar and the New York Immigration Coalition (“NYIC”) against four U.S. government: U.S. State Department, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The lawsuit seeks documents from those agencies related to the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for U.S. residents from Nepal. The lawsuit was filed more than nine months after the plaintiff organizations had submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to three of the agencies, which have failed to provide any response to the requests.
The Secretary of Homeland Security designated Nepal for TPS in 2015 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and a number of significant aftershocks struck the country, killing nearly 9,000 people, injuring more than 20,000 people, displacing millions, and destroying or significantly damaging over 750,000 homes. On April 26, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the termination of TPS for Nepal effective June 24, 2019, which has been postponed pending litigation in a related matter.
The documents sought by Adhikaar and NYIC will contribute to a much greater understanding of the relevant conditions undergirding the termination of TPS for Nepal. Specifically, the records will reveal the extent to which the Administration cabined its evaluation of conditions to those immediately caused by the April 2015 earthquake that struck Nepal, or whether subsequent conditions that impeded earthquake recovery including civil unrest, the obstruction of crossings at the Nepal-India border, inadequate sanitation and widespread flooding were part of the Administration’s determination. Moreover, the records will help clarify whether the determination to terminate TPS involved a changed legal standard, changed policy considerations, and/or the improper consideration of factors unrelated to conditions in Nepal that prevent Nepali nationals from returning to Nepal in safety.
Matthew Handley, a partner at Handley Farah & Anderson said, “Without getting access to these documents, which we think under FOIA we are entitled to, Adhikaar, NYIC and their constituents cannot evaluate what, if any, basis the Trump Administration had for terminating TPS for Nepal.”
A copy of the complaint is available HERE.
For more information about the lawsuit, contact Matthew Handley at [email protected].