This Article places the Trump Administration’s decision to cancel TPS for Haitians within the longer history of U.S. racism and exclusion against Haiti and Haitians, observes the legal challenges against this decision and their limitations, and imagines a future that repairs the harms caused by past and current racist policies. First, this Article briefly outlines the history of exclusionary, race-based immigration laws in the United States, and specifically how this legal framework, coupled with existing anti-Black ideologies in the United States, directly impacted Haitians and Haitian immigrants arriving in the United States. Next, the Article provides an overview of the TPS decision-making process, the Trump Administration’s openly racist comments against Haitians and other people of color before and during the decision-making process to cancel TPS, and the departure from the established administrative process for TPS cancellation. The Article then reviews the legal challenges against TPS cancellation and the arguments that the decision violated the Equal Protection Clause and how such efforts reveal the limitations of litigation as a tool to achieve social justice.
Looking towards the future, this Article discusses reparations and remittances as creative ways to repair some of the damage wrought by the United States’ history of racial discrimination in immigration and foreign policy against Haitians. Specifically, this Article explores three solutions: (1) recognizing the harms caused specifically to Haitians by the United States’ exclusionary foreign affairs and immigration policies; (2) using material and non-material forms of reparations, including extending TPS, offering a pathway for citizenship for TPS holders, or offering Haitian TPS recipients benefits to public programs; and (3) valuing the role remittances play in affirming Haitians’ autonomy and working towards eroding decades of imperialistic treatment of Haitians.
Sarah E. Baranik de Alarcón, David H. Secor & Norma Fuentes-Mayorga,
“We Are Asking Why You Treat Us This Way. Is It Because We Are Negroes?” A Reparations-Based Approach to Remedying the Trump Administration’s Cancellation of TPS Protections for Haitians,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol26/iss1/10