Immigration Law

Suit filed to block Trump's proposed end of Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans, Haitians

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Citing racial motivations, advocates in Massachusetts are suing the Trump administration for ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from immigrants from El Salvador and Haiti.

The complaint, brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and Centro Presente, says the administration’s reasons for ending TPS status “are nothing but a thin and pretextual smokescreen for a racially discriminatory immigration agenda — one that the [p]resident has been astonishingly blunt about articulating.”

Since declaring his run for office, Donald Trump has made insensitive and derogatory comments about various minority groups, including calling Mexicans “rapists” and falsely claiming that Haitians who received visas to the U.S. last year “all have AIDS.” It was also reported that the president lamented that some immigrants were from “shithole countries,” including Haiti, and that he wished more Norwegians would immigrate.

“The Administration’s decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador and Haiti manifests these discriminatory views,” said Iv├ín Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, in a statement. “[T]he Constitution does not allow governmental decision-making that is infected by this type of racial bias.”

The TPS program allows people displaced by conflict or natural disaster to temporarily live and work in the U.S. After devastating earthquakes, Salvadoran and Haitian nationals received TPS designations in 2001 and 2010, respectively. Democratic and Republican administrations have since renewed the status for both groups.

According to the complaint, there are 242,900 Salvadorian and 93,500 Haitian TPS recipients currently in the U.S. Collectively, they have an estimated 220,000 children who are U.S. citizens.

The suit names eight individuals as plaintiffs, including an Salvadoran with four restaurants in Massachusetts and a 19-year-old community college student from Haiti.

The administration has set deadlines for Salvadoran and Haitian TPS beneficiaries to leave the country by Sept. 9, 2019 and July 22, 2019, respectively. Those who remain in the country after those dates will face deportation.

In January, the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a similar lawsuit in Maryland on behalf of Haitian TPS designees, Politico reported.

Not the focus of either suit, Sudanese and Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries will also face the end of their status on Nov. 2, 2018, and Jan. 5, 2019, respectively. TPS status for Syrians in the U.S. was extended by 18 months in January, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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