N.Y. federal judge blocks ending of protection for Haitians
NEW YORK – Accusing the Trump administration of being motivated by politics and not facts, a second U.S. federal judge is blocking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from forcing tens of thousands of Haitians to return to Haiti by ending their temporary legal protection.
In a 145-page federal ruling, U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz of the Eastern District of New York issued a nationwide temporary injunction preventing DHS from terminating Temporary Protected Status, TPS, for Haitians. Kuntz said 50,000 to 60,000 Haitians and their U.S.-born children would suffer “irreparable harm” if the legal protection ended and they were forced to return to a country that is not safe.
Kuntz’s detailed ruling came out of a lawsuit filed by Haitians in Florida and New York, challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end TPS granted to Haiti by the Obama administration after its 2010 devastating earthquake. The administration has rescinded the protection for Central America and some African nations as well.
“It’s a sweeping indictment of the political manner in which the Trump administration at the very highest levels of the government illegally terminated Protected Status for Haitians,” said Miami immigration attorney Ira Kurzban, one of several lawyers who filed the lawsuit.
In October, a federal judge in California granted a temporary injunction blocking the administration from deporting Haitian TPS holders and others as their termination deadlines approach. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen granted the temporary injunction as part of a California lawsuit filed by lawyers on behalf of TPS recipients from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan who have U.S.-born children.
Kurzban noted that unlike the California case, which had not yet gone to trial when Chen issued his decision, Kuntz’s decision is the result of a fullblown trial. The New York lawsuit was the first of five to go to trial.
“It’s far more detailed in its reasoning in respect to why what the government did was completely illegal,” Kurzban said of Kuntz’s decision. “It found findings on discrimination. ... It found very clearly that the government’s decision was not only an arbitrary decision, but they violated their own procedures in reaching the conclusion that they reached.