The civil rights group NAACP is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over its decision to end nearly 60,000 Haitian migrants' participation in a provisional U.S. residency program that shields them from deportation.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, as the Miami Herald first reported Wednesday. It said the group – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – contends the decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti in July 2019 is "irrational and discriminatory."
The suit was filed on behalf of the NAACP and its Haitian members. It alleges that Homeland Security did not follow its "normal decision making process in regards to whether or not Haitians should still receive the humanitarian protection," thus blocking Haitians from exercising their constitutional right to due process and equal protection, the Herald reported.
The department's acting secretary, Elaine Duke, announced her termination decision in November. The department, Duke and new DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen all are named defendants.
The NAACP suit also cited what it called President Donald Trump’s "public hostility toward immigrants of color," the Herald reported.
DHS acting press secretary Tyler Q. Houlton told the Herald the department does not comment on pending litigation.
In discussing immigration with a small group of lawmakers earlier this month, the president reportedly questioned including Haitians in a proposed deal. "Why do we want people from Haiti here?" he reportedly asked.
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who was in that meeting, also reported Trump as describing Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as "s---hole" countries.
In a subsequent Twitter post, the president denied using the profanity, saying he used language that “was tough, but this was not the language used.”