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SAN FRANCISCO – Fourteen people, including five children, have filed a lawsuit here seeking to get the United States government to reinstate temporary protected status (TPS) for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.
The latest lawsuit alleges that the decision to end the programme was motivated by racism and cites President Donald Trump’s vulgar language during a meeting in January to describe African countries.
The lawsuit names the US Department of Homeland Security as a defendant.
More than 200 000 immigrants could face deportation because of the change in the programme that allowed immigrants from the four countries live and work legally in the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and other immigrant advocates argue that more than 200 000 American children who risk being uprooted from their communities and schools as a result of the change in policy.
TPS had been granted to countries ravaged by natural disasters or war. In the case of Haiti, citizens were allowed to enter the US following the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200 000 people in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
Last November, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Elaine Duke said she made the decision to terminate the TPS designation for Haitians, with a delayed effective date of 18 months, “to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019”.
Duke said the decision follows then-Secretary John Kelly’s announcement in May 2017 that Haiti had made “considerable progress, and that the country’s designation will likely not be extended past six months”.
“The decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute,” Duke said.
The NAACP has also filed a separate lawsuit in Maryland on behalf of Haitian immigrants, who received TPS. (CMC)