NAACP sues DHS over protections for Haitian immigrants

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The NAACP is suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after its decision to cancel a temporary residence program that’s allowed nearly 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States.

The lawsuit — filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund — accuses the agency of taking irrational and discriminatory action and argues it was “an egregious departure from the [Temporary Protected Status] statute’s requirements and an intent to discriminate on the basis of race.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, called it a “simple case.”

“Our democracy rests on the bedrock principle that every person is equal before the law,” Ifill said in a statement.

“Governmental decisions that target people based on racial discrimination violate our Constitution.”

Ifill said the decision by the Trump administration 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,” Ifill said.

The president and CEO of the NAACP said that the action by DHS was “clearly racially motivated.”

“The U.S. Constitution prohibits singling out certain immigrants for harsh treatment based on their skin color and/or ethnicity.  But more than that, basic fairness militates against this draconian action taken by DHS under the direction of President Trump,” Derrick Johnson said.

The lawsuit comes after DHS canceled a temporary residency program that allowed nearly 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the U.S. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke gave Haitians living with temporary protected status (TPS) until July 22, 2019, to either leave the country or apply for a different legal immigration category.

Under TPS, citizens of designated countries that have undergone a major natural or man-made disaster are allowed to conditionally remain in the United States legally until their home nations recover.

The lawsuit also comes after it was reported earlier this month that President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries.”

Trump faced widespread backlash and accusations of racism after the comments were reported.

Trump pushed back against the report and denied he is racist.

–This report was updated at 11:45 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Elaine Duke Haiti Lawsuit NAACP Temporary protected status United States Department of Homeland Security

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