The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Department of Homeland Security, its former acting secretary Elaine C. Duke and current secretary Kirstjen Nielson took irrational and discriminatory actions by denying Haitian immigrants due process and equal protection established by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

Sherillyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund says “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.”

The lawsuit seeks to establish that the DHS not only violated the Fifth Amendment in removing the protected status of Haitian immigrants, but that in doing so, it engaged in a campaign of racially informed aggression. Additionally, the lawsuit cites public reports that the DHS was looking into criminal statistics on Haitian immigrants as a way to excuse its racist suspension of Haitian expat protected status.

The rhetoric of President Donald J. Trump is also cited in the NAACP LDF lawsuit. It alleges that his public hostility was a major contributing factor to the suspension, citing recent reports that Trump castigated a draft of an immigration plan that offered protections to Haitian immigrants, El Salvadorian immigrants and some African immigrants.

In that same meeting, Trump made clear his preference for immigrants from whiter nations, notably asking Norwegians to emigrate to America. The report also cites Trump’s alleged racist assertion that “all Haitians have AIDS.”

Haitian people first received their protected status in 2010 following a devastating earthquake. That status has been previously extended due to flooding and a cholera outbreak, among other issues. However, in the Trump administration, the only thing that matters is that these are Black people and so they do not deserve to be allowed to live freely in America. Rescinding the protected status of Haitian immigrants was met with a strong bipartisan resistance, but the racism of this administration persisted nonetheless. The change is not slated to take place until 2019.

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