NAACP sues over Trump’s plans to end protection for Haitian immigrants
BY SUE B. SIMON
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP (the largest civil rights organization in the United States) on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, over the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the so-called Temporary Protected Status for Haitians who migrated to the country following the massive January 2010 earthquake.
The legal action, taken by the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the NAACP, is against DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and the former acting head of the agency, Elaine C. Duke. Acting on behalf of the NAACP, the separate entity that is the organization’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund argues that the DHS decision “discriminates against immigrants of color, and demands the reinstatement of the status for thousands of Haitians.” The lawsuit argues that the DHS action denies “Haitian immigrants their rights to due process and equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, remarked in a statement: “Governmental decisions that target people based on racial discrimination violate our Constitution.” She elaborates:
“The decision by the Department of Homeland Security to rescind TPS status for Haitian immigrants was infected by racial discrimination. Every step taken by the Department to reach this decision reveals that far from a rational and fact-based determination, this decision was driven by calculated, determined and intentional discrimination against Haitian immigrants.”
In the lawsuit, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund mentions the racist remarks made by President Donald Trump on January 11th during a meeting at the White House with several U.S. senators relating to immigration matters. In that meeting, the president reportedly referred to African nations and Haiti as ‘shithole nations.’
Temporary Protected Status covers hundreds of thousands of people who are living in the United States and who are temporarily unable to return to their countries of origin because of safety concerns or other issues. Haitians gained the status days after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated the country in January 2010.
President Barack Obama repeatedly renewed the 18-month protected status for Haitians. But in November, the Trump administration announced that it would not renew the status for thousands of Haitians when it expires next year.