Haitians Sue Over TPS

Protesters marched against the Trump administration’s decision to rescind TPS for 60,000 Haitians. (Photo via The Haitian Times)

In looking at the precarious future facing Haitian TPS holders, The Haitian Times’ Coralie Saint-Louis tells the story of an immigrant she calls “Marie” who has lived in the U.S. since 2004 after experiencing an incident in Haiti that left her fearing for her life. After then-President Obama granted TPS to Haitians in 2010, she has worked and lived in her own home. These days, ever since President Trump rescinded TPS from Haitians, her future hangs in the balance. What hope remains lies in a new lawsuit.

Last week, a new lawsuit alleging unlawful conduct by the Trump administration officials was filed in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of a dozen plaintiffs. The lawsuit was filed by several organizations and immigration law firms.

According to Steven Forester, immigration policy coordinator for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the designation was “unlawfully terminated.” The NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is suing the government over what it describes as “an intent to discriminate on the basis of race and/or ethnicity,” given the circumstances surrounding the termination.

“The analysis of Haitian TPS that [then] Secretary [John] Kelly and [Deputy] Secretary [Elaine] Dukes undertook, is markedly different than the analysis of TPS that the secretaries that preceded them undertook,” Raymond Audain, senior counsel for LDF, said. “So that departure indicated to us that there was something happening with Haitian TPS.”

Over the course of six months, Trump reportedly made several discriminatory statements about Haitians, including comments alleging Haitians “all have AIDS” and questioning why the U.S. “would want more Haitians” from a “shithole” country—comments which played a role in the lawsuit.

“Now on top of that, you have what happened when Secretary Kelly asked for an investigation into the criminality of Haitians with TPS status and also the use of public benefits,” Audain said. “All of that, in conjunction with the president’s comments about Haiti and about Haitians, has demonstrated to us that this decision was motivated by an intent to discriminate against Haitians because of their race.”


The new lawsuit covers Haitian TPS holders in New York and Florida and includes a “Regulatory Flexibility Act which asserts harm to businesses—in our case Haïti Liberté” says Forester.

While Marie thinks more people should become involved in such lawsuits, many of her fellow Haitians do not agree out of a fear of repercussions. Audain explains:

“I know that there’s a lot of concern in the Haitian TPS community about going public about this,” said Audain, “and I think those concerns are completely understandable. That’s an issue that organizations face all the time when they are working on the behalf of communities that may be vulnerable to government actions. I understand why there’s a lot of apprehension on the part of people [joining the lawsuit], then we certainly welcome accommodations with those individuals.”

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  1. Pingback: – Trial Over Haitian TPS Lawsuit Starts

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