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Haitian Civil Rights Organizations join NAACP in TPS lawsuit   

Pedro Gassant

Haitian Civil Rights Organizations join NAACP in TPS lawsuit   

BALTIMORE, MD. – The NAACP, the nation’s premier grassroots civil rights organization, filed an amended complaint in its ongoing lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for its decision to rescind the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian immigrants. Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR) and the Haitian Lawyers’ Association (HLA) have now joined the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF).

The lawsuit claims that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), former Acting DHS Secretary Elaine C. Duke, and current DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson took irrational and discriminatory government action; denying Haitian immigrants their right to due process and equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.  The lawsuit argues that DHS intended to discriminate against Haitian immigrants living in the United States because of their race and national origin.

“The current administration has made public hostility toward immigrants of color a point of pride,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to rescind TPS status for Haitian immigrants is clearly an extension of that attitude and an example of the consequences of prejudice applied to policy. The NAACP welcomes the expertise and solidarity of HWHR and HLA in this lawsuit; as we persist in the protection of our Haitian members and in the pursuit of justice for immigrant communities.”

“The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to rescind TPS for Haitian immigrants was based on their race and ethnicity,” said Samuel Spital, LDF’s Director of Litigation. “Our Constitution unequivocally prohibits any government action infected by such racial discrimination. Every person is equal before the law, and the court must condemn this Administration for its intentional discriminatory practices.”

“The Haitian Lawyers Association decided to join this critical lawsuit because the decision to terminate TPS is unsubstantiated particularly given the fact that the conditions in Haiti that gave rise to the original January 2010 TPS designation continue to exist,” said Pedro Gassant, HLA President. “Rebuilding in Haiti has moved slowly because of devastations wrought by Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Maria; as well as the contamination engendered by the cholera outbreak.  We believe that this lawsuit has merit and painstakingly details the factual and legal arguments as to why the Administration’s decision to terminate TPS for Haitian nationals is unlawful.”

“Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees provides support to hundreds of families who seek refuge in the U.S.,” said Ninaj Raoul of HWHR. “The Department of Homeland Security’s decision is a brutally cruel blow to those who have found safety in the United States after facing natural and man-made disasters in Haiti. We vehemently oppose of the Department’s stance and we are proud to join NAACP, LDF, and HLA in seeking a solution in the courts.”

 

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