President Donald Trump’s own words served as a catalyst to a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The organization’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) filed the suit on Wednesday in response to the department rescinding the Temporary Protected Status of nearly 60,000 Haitian immigrants, The Root reports.
Using Trump’s racist comments toward Haiti, including calling the country a “shithole” and previously claiming that all Haitians have AIDS, the LDF seeks to prove that the Trump administration intended to discriminate against Haitians based on race and ethnicity with their decision to roll back TPS.
“Our democracy rests on the bedrock principle that every person is equal before the law,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of LDF.
She continued: “Governmental decisions that target people based on racial discrimination violate our Constitution. The decision by the Department of Homeland Security to rescind TPS status for Haitian immigrants was infected by racial discrimination. Every step taken by the Department to reach this decision reveals that far from a rational and fact-based determination, this decision was driven by calculated, determined and intentional discrimination against Haitian immigrants.”
In addition to Trump’s remarks, the LDF plans to address the DHS’s efforts to seek crime data on Haitians with TPS and information on how many Haitians were receiving public benefits as more evidence of discrimination.
The LDF maintains that such data “trades on false anti-Black stereotypes about criminality and exploitation of public benefits.” Furthermore, the active search for this information “suggests the effort to manufacture a public safety rationale” to justify rescinding the protections.
As HuffPost notes, this strategy of turning Trump’s words against him has been used successfully before. His Islamophobic rhetoric about people from Muslim-majority countries was instrumental in a federal judge’s decision to block the president’s travel ban last year.
We hope that, ultimately, the outcome of this suit is in favor of the NAACP, but in the meantime, it is pleasantly gratifying that Trump’s affinity for sticking his foot in his mouth frequently finds a way to work against him.
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