The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over its decision to rescind Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian immigrants living and working in the United States.

In a statement Wednesday, the NAACP said the decision to withdraw the TPS for Haitian immigrants was in direct violation of the Fifth Amendment and it clearly showed an intent to discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity.

TPS designation is authorized to countries experiencing ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Haitians were granted TPS after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the nation, killing as many as 316,000 people and displacing 1.5 million of its citizens in 2010. On Jan. 21, 2010, the DHS granted TPS to Haitians deeming the country unsafe to reside.

The lawsuit filed by NAACP said, under the stewardship of former DHS Acting Secretary Elaine C. Duke, and current DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the department denied Haitian immigrants right to due process and equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. It alleged that they were irrational and discriminatory on the basis of race and color.

According to the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, “This is a simple case. Our democracy rests on the bedrock principle that every person is equal before the law. Governmental decisions that target people based on racial discrimination violate our Constitution.”

She further said, “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 November 2017, heeding to the advice of Duke, President Donald Trump revoked TPS status for 59,000 Haitians residing in the country and granted them 18 months transition period to get their affairs in order before returning.

According to a statement by DHS, "Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated." 

On Nov. 20, 2017, Duke announced that, after careful review of the conditions upon which TPS was granted to Haiti, the department concluded that those extraordinary circumstances no longer exist and Haitians can safely return to their country, thus terminating the current TPS designation.

NAACP wanted DHS to recant its statement on rescinding TPS to Haitians who lived in the country for over a decade.

“Our great nation fought a civil war to establish the bedrock principle that the government may not discriminate against any person, whether citizen or non-citizen, based on that person’s race or ethnicity. The NAACP stands ready to challenge any violation of that principle, as today’s action clearly demonstrates,” said Bradford M. Berry, General Counsel of the NAACP.