After President Donald Trump attempted to rescind the rights of Haitian immigrants to live in the United States, a trial in New York has begun to stall any further action.
The Associated Press reports the suit revolves around the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to deem a foreign nation eligible for TPS if the country has a troublesome environment which could hinder its ability to function as a government entity.
In this case, the 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000 Haitians and left even more without resources deemed the island eligible for the program.
In the wake of the earthquake, 50,000 survivors have been living and working temporarily in the United States. Much of the strife about Haitian immigrants allegedly overstaying their welcome triggered yet another racist remark from President Trump early last year. During an immigration reform meeting with lawmakers in January 2018, he famously asked, "Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?"
The AP obtained emails detailing how top officials in the Trump administration discounted just how dire the conditions were in Haiti.
"The problem is that it reads as though we’d recommend an extension (of TPS) because we talk so much about how bad it is," Department of Homeland Security employee Kathy Kovarik wrote in an October 2017 email.
A fellow administrator responded, "The basic problem is that it IS bad there. We can ... try to get more, and/or comb through the country conditions we have again looking for positive gems, but the conditions are what they are."
The decision to end TPS for Haitian citizens has resulted in turmoil for migrants who worry about having to return to Haiti.
"It has been really stressful because we don't know how to plan our lives now," Haitian immigrant and recent college graduate Naischa Vilme lamented.
Past administrations were reportedly more diligent about monitoring conditions in places affected by natural disaster or conflict before making decisions to renew or authorize TPS status to them. But the Trump administration has gone rogue, ignoring the well-being of nations benefiting from this program.
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