Plaintiffs fire back on Trump’s alleged controversial ‘sh-thole countries’ remark
The Trump administration has just been hit with yet another immigration policy-related lawsuit.
On Monday, March 12, a group of immigrants and their children have filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over President Donald Trump’s bid to terminate the program that allows them to stay in the U.S.
The adult plaintiffs have been allowed in the country through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a special status that Congress enacted in 1990 that grants temporary residency and work authorization in the U.S. to people from war-torn countries or countries facing natural disasters.
Currently, there are more than 200,000 people living in the U.S. through TPS, and many of them have resided in the U.S. for more than 20 years, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which is representing the plaintiffs.
The Trump administration espoused a narrower version of the federal law that enforces TPS; this new version has been used to terminate TPS status for individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.
“With the stroke of a pen, this administration upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people lawfully residing in the United States for years and sometimes decades. But in terminating TPS in the way that it did, this administration was exercising authority it did not have,” Emi MacLean, staff attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
In January, Trump received major pushback for allegedly referring to the countries these TPS holders hail from as “shithole countries,” suggesting that the U.S. need not accept more individuals from these countries.
That remark partially fuelled this lawsuit, which stated that the new law violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause because “it was motivated by intentional race- and national-origin-based animus against individuals” from these countries.
“It arises from the Trump Administration’s repeatedly-expressed racism toward non-white, non-European people from other countries,” the lawsuit reads.
The children plaintiffs — who are U.S. citizens — claim that the termination of the TPS program forces them to choose between leaving the country to be with their parents or stay in the U.S. without them, effectively revoking their rights to remain in their home country to be raised by their parents.
According to the lawsuit, those children hold an “absolute right to remain in the United States” according to the Fourteenth Amendment.
“As with any child, their well-being and future development are tied to nurturing and stable relationships with their parents. Science confirms this common sense understanding,” the lawsuit reads. “Children of immigrants acutely suffer when their parents face even the possibility of deportation. The fear of deportation is directly tied to the prevalence of stress-related illness in children, including higher levels of anxiety and trauma, depression and family instability.”
If the Trump administration’s action remains in effect, the deportations would occur next year, which could impact the 200,000 TPS holders as well as tens of thousands of their American-born children. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)