News Americas, BOSTON, Massachusetts, Fri. Mar. 2, 2018: Two brave Haitian nationals and six Salvadorans are among a group of eight who have slapped a lawsuit on Donald Trump and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, (DHS).
Nineteen-year-old Chris Jean Baptiste and 25-year-old Anne Christine Nicolas, both of whom were born in Haiti and now live under Temporary Protected Status, (TPS), in Boston, Massachusetts, are suing to block the termination of TPS for Haitians and El Salvadorans by the Trump administration.
Jean Baptiste is currently a TPS beneficiary and has been since 2010. He is a graduate of Milton High School in Milton, Massachusetts and is currently enrolled in Bunker Hill Community College. He also works as the manager of a franchise of one of the largest American restaurant chains.
Nicolas also has been a TPS beneficiary since 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and currently works at the intersection of education and arts. Before it was announced that TPS designation for Haiti would be rescinded, she was preparing for the future and exploring master’s degree programs in arts and education.
Jean Baptiste and Nicolas are the lone Haitian immigrants in the lawsuit, filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, in partnership with Centro Presente.
The other six immigrants are:
Juan Carlos Vidal
Vidal was born in El Salvador and is a successful entrepreneur and property owner residing in Revere, Massachusetts. He is currently a TPS beneficiary and has been since 2001. 15. Vidal has two U.S. citizen children ages 5 and 7, both of whom were born in Massachusetts. Vidal worked for more than a decade at Blue Fin, a restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts and later opened his first restaurant. A successful restaurateur, Vidal is now co-owner of four restaurants located in Massachusetts, contributing substantially to the local economy.
Mercedes Mata is a Salvadoran immigrant residing in Leominster, Massachusetts, where she purchased her home approximately six months ago. She is currently a TPS beneficiary and has been since 2001. Mata is a clerk in the Fitchburg Municipal Office and is one of a handful of bilingual employees in the municipal office with the linguistic competence to serve a burgeoning Spanish-speaking Latino population. She has two children who were both born in Massachusetts. Her 21 year-old U.S. citizen daughter is enrolled in Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Massachusetts while her 7 year-old U.S. citizen son is in first grade in elementary school.
Carolina Mata is a Salvadoran immigrant residing in Leominster, Massachusetts and has been a TPS beneficiary since 2001. Mata has two children, both born in Massachusetts. Her 19-year-old U.S. citizen son is a first-year college student at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts while her 11-year-old U.S. citizen daughter is in fifth grade in elementary school.
Will Arias is a Salvadoran immigrant residing in Everett, Massachusetts. He is currently a TPS beneficiary and a custodian at the John Adams Courthouse, where the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court sits in Boston. Arias and his wife, in 2016, purchased a home in Everett, Massachusetts, where they are raising two children born in Massachusetts. Their 2-year-old U.S. citizen son and a 16 year-old U.S. citizen son, who is currently in 11th grade in Everett High School.
Juan Amaya is a Salvadoran immigrant and a resident of Lynn, Massachusetts. He is currently a TPS beneficiary and a high-rise window washer. Rappelling off skyscrapers, he cleans the glass façades of gleaming towers across Boston’s skyline. Amaya has four children. His eldest children both graduated from Lynn Vocational Technical Institute and are DACA recipients. His youngest children are both U.S. citizens born in Massachusetts. His U.S. citizen daughter is 10-years-old, while his U.S. citizen son is an 11th grade student at Lynn Classical High School in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Maria Guerra is a Salvadoran immigrant residing in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she purchased her home over a decade ago. She is currently a TPS beneficiary and a domestic worker, and takes care of children as a nanny for a family in Arlington, Massachusetts. Guerra has four children. Her two eldest children – 25 and 22 years-old – are DACA recipients. Both her eldest sons work in information technology services at Harvard University. Her 22-year-old son is also studying at Bunker Hill Community College. Her youngest children – 17 and 19 years-old – are U.S. citizens both born in Massachusetts.
ABOUT THE SUIT
The suit argues that the decision to end TPS by Trump as well as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Elaine Costanzo Duke, was based on racism and discrimination that violates the constitutional rights of these immigrants and all immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador.
In prior years, Haiti’s TPS designation had been renewed based on the slow pace of the country’s recovery from its cataclysmic 2010 earthquake, which earned it the designation from the Obama administration.
El Salvador’s designation, which impacts more than 200,000 Salvadorans, came in 2001 after a series of earthquakes devastated the Central American country.
TPS is set to end for Haiti in July 2019 and for El Salvador in Sept. 2019. The Department of Homeland Security has also ended TPS for Nicaraguans in January 2019 and put a decision on hold for Hondurans.