In a decision issued Oct. 3 in California, Judge Edward Chen called the Department of Homeland Security’s “actions … based on animus against nonwhite, non-European immigrants in violation of Equal Protection guaranteed by the Constitution.” He said politely, with a lot of wiggle room, what most people would simply call “racist” and protected the immigrants from expulsion.
The DHS had decided that nearly 300,000 people who had temporary protected status (TPS), which allows them to live and work in the United States, would have to wrap up their lives and leave the U.S. Following Judge Chen’s decision, citizens of Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua who legally live and work in the U.S. will now have their status continued. Meanwhile, a lawsuit challenging the DHS attempt to eliminate their protections continues.
TPS protects migrants in the U.S. who come from countries that have been hit by dire conditions, such as epidemics, war or natural disaster.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), whose Miami district includes a large community of Haitian-Americans, told the Miami Herald on Oct. 4 that she wasn’t surprised that the judge found “direct evidence of animus.” From the beginning of Trump’s administration, and especially “more recently with the inhumane treatment of migrant children,” President Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear “that people with brown skin are unwelcome.”
Wilson has visited Haiti and seen the extreme devastation, including damage from hurricanes, a 2010 earthquake and two outbreaks of cholera introduced by United Nations “peacekeepers.” According to Wilson, “There is a definite need to continue TPS for Haitian nationals.”
According to the Center for Migration Studies, 51,700 TPS holders work in construction. Other industries also have thousands of TPS workers: 32,400 in restaurants and food services, 15,800 in landscaping services, 10,000 in child care and 9,200 in grocery stores.
On the same day that Chen made his ruling, six tractor-trailers driven by immigrants with TPS surrounded the Los Angeles Detention Center. This action was part of three days of protests at the port by the Teamsters, demanding that drivers be given the status of workers, with benefits, not treated as independent contractors.
Ron Herrera, vice president of the Western Region of the Teamsters, said that the action is part of a new era in the Teamsters union, where they intend to advocate on behalf of their immigrant members.
“We’re a little late and we were never at the front, but when the dynamics of our people changed, we had to change with it,” Herrera told BuzzFeed News on Oct. 3. “We realized a majority of workers we’re trying to organize are TPS holders and immigrants. A lot of them were predominantly immigrant Hispanics.”
(WW photo: Joseph Piette)