By Associated Press
Immigrants from Honduras and Nepal have filed a lawsuit alleging the Trump administration unfairly ended a program that lets them live and work in the United States.
The lawsuit filed late Sunday in federal court in San Francisco alleges that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to end so-called temporary protected status for the countries was motivated by racism.
The suit — which was filed on behalf of six immigrants and two of their American-born children — also alleges that the department changed how it evaluated conditions in these countries when determining whether immigrants could return there.
“We bring evidence the Trump administration has repeatedly denigrated non-white non-European immigrants and reviewed TPS designations with a goal of removing such non-white non-European immigrants from the United States,” said Minju Cho, a staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles.
The group is one of several representing the immigrant plaintiffs, who live California, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia and Connecticut.
A message seeking comment was left for the Department of Homeland Security.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of court filings challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end the program for a cluster of countries whose citizens have lived and worked legally in the United States for years.
Last year, a federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the U.S. government from halting the program for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. The suit filed on behalf of citizens of those countries, in addition to this one, cited Trump’s vulgar language during a meeting last year to describe African countries.
The U.S. government grants temporary protected status, also known as TPS, to citizens of countries ravaged by natural disasters or war so they can stay and work legally in the United States until the situation improves back home.
The status is short-term but renewable and some immigrants have lived in the country for decades, raising American-born children, buying homes and building careers.
Critics have said the program was meant to be temporary and shouldn’t be extended for so long.
The Trump administration announced last year that the program would be ending for Honduras and Nepal. Honduras was designated for the program after a devastating 1998 hurricane and about 86,000 immigrants from the country have the status, according to the lawsuit.
About 15,000 immigrants from Nepal — which was designated following an earthquake in 2015— are covered, the suit said.
Together, these immigrants have more than 50,000 American-born children who would be affected by an end to the program, which lets those who are already in the United States stay in the country and obtain work permits, the suit said.
One of them is the 9-year-old daughter of Honduran citizen Donaldo Posadas Caceres, who came to the United States shortly before the hurricane in 1998. After Honduras was designated for the program, he obtained the status, and now works as a bridge painter and owns his home in Baltimore, Maryland.
The girl, who is in fourth grade, likes math and reading and has big plans for the future. “She dreams of growing up to be President because she wants to help people who come here from other countries,” the suit said.
California counties sue over new Trump rule targeting low-income immigrants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco and Santa Clara counties filed the first lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s new rules to deny green cards to migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, came after the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement Monday of its expanded “public charge” rules to restrict legal immigration.
In a filing, the counties of Santa Clara and San Francisco argued that the rules will worsen the health and well-being of their residents, increase public health risks and financially harm the counties.
The rules, the counties argued, would result in a “chilling effect” in which migrants forgo or disenroll from federal public assistance programs to reduce the risk of being denied a green card. This practice would mean that the cost of services would shift from federal to state governments, the counties argued.
The counties also said the rules undermine Congress’ broader system of immigration laws that prioritizes family unification and that the federal government did not sufficiently offer any rationale to explain the alleged benefits of the rules or justify its costs.
This rule “makes it easier to unfairly target hard-working, lawful immigrants while sowing fear and confusion in our communities,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “This rule forces people to make an impossible choice: their health or a better future for their family. We will all bear the cost of this misguided policy.”
Federal law currently requires those seeking to become permanent residents or gain legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. — a “public charge,” in government speak — but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
Under the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security has redefined a public charge as someone who is “more likely than not” to receive public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh whether applicants have received public assistance along with other factors such as education, income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.
Multiple lawsuits were expected. Hours after the rule was published Monday, the Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center vowed to sue over what it called am attempt to redefine the legal immigration system to “disenfranchise communities of color and favor the wealthy.” Attorneys general in California and New York said they were also prepared to take legal action.
Without legal challenges, the rules would take effect in mid-October.
This lawsuit is the latest out of California to challenge the Trump administration’s policies. San Francisco and Santa Clara counties successfully sued over the president’s executive order to cut funding for “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation with immigration officials.
Bercow vows to BLOCK Johnson's Brexit plan – ‘I will fight with every bone in my body!'
Trump says he’s losing as much as $5B being president
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday that being president will personally cost him billions of dollars, due in part to the lawyers he has had to hire to defend him in various lawsuits.
“This thing is costing me a fortune, being president,” Trump said during a speech at the Shell Petrochemical plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
“Somebody said, ‘Oh, he might have rented a room to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500,’” Trump said, referring to reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and members of his delegation booked multiple nights in a Trump hotel.
“What about the $5 billion that I’ll lose?” Trump asked, noting his high cost of lawyers “cause everyday they sue me for something.”
“It’s probably costing me from $3 to $5 billion for the privilege of being — and I couldn’t care less—I don’t care. You know if you’re wealthy, it doesn’t matter. I just want to do a great job,” Trump added.
These figures are virtually impossible to check; the president has not released his tax returns, and has been found in the past to exaggerate his own wealth.
Trump also took aim at former President Barack Obama. “I got sued on a thing called ’emoluments,’” Trump said. “Now nobody looks at Obama getting $60 million for a book. That’s OK, even though nobody in history ever got that much money for a book. … But with me, it’s everything.”
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama signed a joint book deal for $65 million in 2017, after Obama had left office. The emoluments clause applies to federal officeholders, not private citizens.
Speaking to a room full of factory workers in a state that he narrowly carried in 2016, Trump joked about how easy re-election would be if he “got a fair press.”
“Can you imagine if I got a fair press? I mean we’re leading without it,” Trump said. “The election would be over. Have they ever called off an election before? Just said, ‘Look, let’s go, go on, four more years.”
Trump then made light of creating a joke twitter hashtag that he said would disturb reporters, telling the crowd if “you really want to drive them crazy, go to #ThirdTerm, #FourthTerm.”
Although the Shell Plant was an official White House event, not a campaign event, Trump launched his usual trail attack against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is running for president and has recently surged in primary polls.
“We will have to hit ‘Pocahontas’ again if she does win,” Trump said, using his favored nicknames for both the Massachusetts senator and former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the polls whom Trumps refers to as “Sleepy Joe.”
The White House had looked to showcase the massive construction project the president was there to tour as a symbol of the Trump economy in a key swing state. When complete, the facility is projected to employ about 500 workers who will make plastic pellets from ethane, a byproduct of fracking, that can be turned into a range of plastic goods, from food packaging to car parts.
The visit gave Trump an opportunity to get back on the offensive after a week of defending his divisive rhetoric and approach to gun control policy after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.
Shell began preparing the site for construction in 2015 and officially started construction in November 2017.
Shannon Pettypiece and Jane C. Timm contributed.
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