Caribbean legislators in Brooklyn rallied on Monday as a United States federal trial began to protect more than 50,000 Haitian immigrants and their families from being forcibly separated by deportation.
The case, Saget et al v. Trump, is the first trial to challenge what petitioner’s say is the Trump administration’s “unlawful termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS)” and the administration’s “record of racial hostility against immigrants, particularly Haitians.”
Plaintiffs in the suit argue that Trump’s decision to terminate TPS status for Haitians was “unlawful and unconstitutional.”
They say the suit is “motivated by the president’s public racial animus towards Haitians and other immigrants of color.”
Last year, Trump announced his intentions to the end TPS for Haitian immigrants.
“In doing so, this president has put more than 50,000 Haitians seeking refuge in this country in imminent danger,” Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, told Caribbean Life on Monday.
“As a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), more specifically the chair of the CBC Immigration Task Force, and as a child of Caribbean immigrants, I was then and remain infuriated by this administration’s cruel, inhumane, and racist decision to end the TPS program,” added Clarke, who has been in the vanguard of supporting TPS for Haitians.
“Today’s trial is critically important, as we demand a ruling that will strike down this unlawful termination for Haitian TPS,” continued the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “We must not let up in the fight for justice, fairness and equity. This decision must be reversed.”
Clarke said Saget et al v. Trump is one of five lawsuits currently in the US federal courts fighting against the separation of TPS holders and their families.
Brooklyn Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, the first Haitian to be elected to New York City Council, on Monday, joined the National Lawyers Guild, the labor union 32BJ SEIU, colleagues and immigration activists at the US federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn in support of legal action to halt the expiration of TPS for Haitians.,
Eugene, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 40th Council District in Brooklyn, noted that TPS protects the rights of more than 50,000 Haitian immigrants and their families to live and work in the US.
Trump has set the expiration of TPS for Haitians for July 2019.
“The country of Haiti has been subjected to numerous natural disasters, including hurricanes, tropical storms, and the horrific earthquake of 2010,” Eugene said. “In addition, Haiti’s socioeconomic infrastructure is not stable enough to handle an influx of Haitian nationals whose lives are being disrupted due to the end of Temporary Protected Status in July.
“These are hardworking people depend on their ability to live in the United States and provide for their families,” he added, stating that he had called on the federal government “many times to do what is right and extend TPS for Haiti as a humanitarian gesture.”
“Today, I stand together with advocates and those fighting for immigration rights to ensure that the ability of our Haitian workers to pursue the American dream is upheld,” the council member said.
Eugene’s colleague in New York City Council, Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, also rallied on Monday in support of preventing the termination of TPS for Haitians.
“I stand strong with the Haitian community and applaud the strength of those who are in court today opposing Donald Trump’s bigoted actions,” said Williams, flanked by New York State Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, is the first Haitian American from New York City to be elected to New York State Assembly.
“As a first generation American of Caribbean descent who represents the largest population of Haitian Americans outside of Florida, I believe we must use every tool available to fight against the disdain and contempt that Donald Trump exhibits toward immigrants,” added Williams, a candidate for New York City Public Advocate, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
“In ending TPS for so many, he is disregarding the safety of human beings in order to advance his racist and nationalist agenda,” continued Williams. “Trump has used despicable and vulgar terms toward Haitians in the past, which is why, despite his State Department having an advisory citing the dangers of travel to the country, he is trying to end the Temporary Protected Status that provided relief for people in dire need.
“His xenophobia will be laid bare in this case, and I believe that justice and decency will prevail,” Williams said. “We will continue to fight against each disgraceful act of bigotry, because we are factually right, and Trump is morally incorrect.”