During President Donald Trump’s term, the administration has made several moves to curb immigration and change current immigrants’ status. Many of President Trump’s immigration policies have faced court challenges for being racially discriminatory. In 2019, Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt won one such suit.

The case details

Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt’s victory allows Haitians staying in the United States under temporary protection status (TPS) to avoid deportation. The case, Saget, et al. v. Trump, et al.I, protected about 46,000 who fled Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010.

Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt argued the administration’s attempt to end Haitian’s temporary protected status violated both:

  • the Administrative Procedures Act
  • the U.S. Constitution

Judge William F. Kuntz II agreed. He granted an injunction to stop deportation of TPS Haitian immigrants.

As part of the case, the administration withheld thousands of pages of documents as Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt tried to prove its position. Still, one email that surfaced had a DHS official bragging that “African countries are toast . . . Haiti is up next.”

Judge Kuntz agreed with the prosecution that the Trump administration intentionally misconstrued the TPS statute and conditions in Haiti to support deportation. Kuntz was clear that Administrative Procedures Act and the U.S. Constitution do not allow that.

The status of the appeal

The Trump administration has appealed the case. The administration responded to claims that the policy about TPS immigrants was racist in the appeal documents. The documents state:

“President Trump’s widely reported statements referring to Haiti as a ‘shithole country’ where all citizens ‘have AIDS’ are not actually racial slurs, but ‘reflect the current Administration’s focus on immigration policies that benefit Americans rather than aliens’ and should simply be ‘understood as a denigrating reference to the conditions and problems in the country.’”

Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt attorneys John Pratt and Kevin Gregg wrote this in response:

“One wonders how the Trump Administration and the United States Department of Justice can write such words with a straight face and hide behind a nationalist agenda.”

Nevertheless, Haitian immigrants under temporary protected status can remain in the United States for now.