11 February 2019, 18:56 GMT
From Associated Press
Immigrants from Honduras and Nepal have filed a lawsuit because the Trump government has unjustly terminated a program that allows them to live and work in the United States.
The lawsuit filed with the federal court in San Francisco at the end of Sunday claims that the decision by the US Department of Homeland Security to end the so-called temporary protected status for the countries was motivated by racism.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of six immigrants and two of their American-born children, also claims that the department changed the circumstances in these countries in determining whether immigrants could return there.
"We show evidence that the Trump administration repeatedly denounced non-white non-European immigrants and denounced TPS indications with the aim of removing these non-white non-European immigrants from the United States," said Minju Cho, a staff attorney at Asian Americans promoting Justice in Los Angeles.
The group is one of the representatives of the immigrant prosecutors, who live in California, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia and Connecticut.
A message seeking comment remained behind for the Department of Homeland Security.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of lawsuits challenging the decision of the Trump government 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 US government to stop the program for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. The suit that was filed on behalf of the citizens of those countries, in addition to this, quoted the vulgar language of Trump during a meeting last year to describe African countries.
The US government grants temporary protected status, also known as TPS, to citizens of countries plagued by natural disasters or war, so that they can stay and work legally in the United States until the situation improves.
The status is short-term but renewable and some immigrants have been living in the country for decades, raising American-born children, buying houses and building careers.
Critics have said that the program was meant to be temporary and not extended for long.
The Trump government announced last year that the program would end for Honduras and Nepal. Honduras was appointed for the program after a devastating hurricane of 1998 and about 86,000 immigrants from the country have status, according to the lawsuit.
About 15,000 immigrants from Nepal – who were appointed after an earthquake in 2015 – are covered, said the suit.
Together these immigrants have more than 50,000 American-born children who would be affected by an end to the program, leaving those who are already in the United States staying in the country and getting a work permit, according to the suit.
One of them is the 9-year-old daughter of the Honduran citizen Donaldo Posadas Caceres, who came to the United States shortly before the hurricane in 1998. After Honduras was appointed for the program, he gained status and now works as a bridge painter and owns his home in Baltimore, Maryland.
The girl, who sits in the fourth grade, likes to count and read and has big plans for the future. "She dreams of growing up as president because she wants to help people who come here from other countries," said the suit.
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