Brooklyn, N.Y. — Fifty people gathered in the icy cold outside Brooklyn’s federal court for a news conference on Jan. 7. They were fighting to save temporary protected status (TPS) for 59,000 Haitians and hundreds of thousands of other im/migrants fleeing civil wars and natural disasters, like the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
Racist Trump revoked TPS for these immigrants and actually called their Latin American and African homelands “shithole countries.” Last January, the 1804 Movement for All Immigrants and other organizations organized over a thousand people to march over the Brooklyn Bridge to protest Trump’s bigoted remarks.
Inside the courthouse, Judge William F. Kuntz heard a suit filed by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. It’s one of several filed around the country to defend TPS.
Trump’s “shithole” remarks were so outrageously prejudicial that Judge Kuntz demanded that the obscenity be heard in court, despite objections from government attorneys.
At the news conference, many people from the Haitian movement spoke, including Marleine Bastien, executive director of FANM (Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami or Family Action Network Movement) in Miami.
One of the plaintiffs in the case, TPS holder Gerald Michaud, talked about how the $300 monthly remittances he sends to Haiti support 10 family members and friends. Michaud, who works three jobs, said, “I’m here for a lot of people.”
Jocelyn Gay read a militant statement from Haïti Liberté newspaper: “Since U.S. Marines first invaded Haiti a century ago, the U.S. has plundered and strong-armed our nation, leaving it improvised and politically unstable. The U.S. has re-enslaved our people, first in the Marines’ corvees [forced labor to build roads and other projects], today in cheap labor sweatshops.
“Through coups d’état or electoral shenanigans, Washington has imposed and supported dictators like Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, or neo-Duvalierist charlatans like Michel Martelly and Jovenel Moïse. …
“When the Haitian people twice defied U.S. wishes by electing Jean-Bertrand Aristide president in 1990 and 2000, Washington twice allied with the Haitian elite to violently overthrow him in 1991 and 2004, and then impose foreign military occupations.”
Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, the first person of Haitian descent elected to the New York state Legislature, declared, “We want to send a clear message that the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind the protected status of TPS beneficiaries is malicious.”
Other elected officials who spoke included Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, who’s also of Haitian descent; Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Councilman Jumaane D. Williams.
Members of Service Employees Local 32BJ and other unions also came to the protest.
A mass movement will defend TPS from all the Trumps.