Haitians in U.S. After 2010 Quake Should Stay, States Tell Judge

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration can’t dodge a lawsuit over its plan to scrap the special immigrant status granted to tens of thousands of Haitians after an earthquake devastated the island nation in 2010, attorneys general for 17 states told a judge weighing a U.S. request to throw the case out.

Ending Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for Haitians who’ve established families, careers and businesses in the U.S. would result in mass deportations to a country that isn’t prepared to receive them, New York, California and other states said in a filing in federal court in Brooklyn.

“The administration persists in trying to expel tens of thousands of hard-working, law-abiding immigrants," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Friday in a statement.

Grewal said stripping TPS status from New Jersey’s 9,000 Haitians would cause $872 million in economic damage to the state, according to a report by the Center for American Progress.

The U.S. said the decision to end TPS for Haitians was made after "extensive outreach" to community members in the U.S. and "significant steps" that Haiti has made since the earthquake to handle the return of its citizens. That followed complaints from Republican politicians including Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who said in an October letter to the Department of Homeland Security that TPS holders are taking jobs that could be filled by Americans.

The U.S. is also rescinding TPS for El Salvador and Honduras. There are about 320,000 people living in the U.S. under TPS, with more than 90 percent coming from the three countries targeted by DHS.

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