Phil Helsel, NBC News, January 24, 2018
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the Trump administration’s plans to end temporary protected status for Haitians, the group said Wednesday.
The NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said that the planned end of the “temporary protected status” for Haitians who were allowed entry to the U.S. following a devastating earthquake in 2010 “discriminates against immigrants of color” and violates protections of due process and equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.
“The decision by the Department of Homeland Security to rescind TPS status for Haitian immigrants was infected by racial discrimination,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., said in a statement.
The department said at the time that conditions in Haiti now allow for the safe return of nationals of that county and that the “extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist.”
Approximately 46,000 Haitians were allowed to enter the U.S. and work without fear of deportation, according to the Pew Research Center. Other reports and officials have put the number as high as 60,000. The lawsuit says rescinding TPS could expose 58,000 Haitians to deportation.
The lawsuit comes almost two weeks after President Donald Trump reportedly used the term “shithole countries” to refer to African nations during a meeting that included discussions about Haiti and El Salvador. Critics have called the reported comment racist. Trump has denied that he insulted Haitians and said “this was not the language used,” and he has denied being a racist.
The NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund referenced those reported comments in announcing the lawsuit Wednesday. Protected status has been extended multiple times. The group says that a 2010 cholera outbreak and a Category 4 hurricane in 2016 have exacerbated the problems in Haiti.