Another addition to the reign of cruelty by the Trump Administration, and one that cuts close to home: DHS ended Temporary Protected Status for some 60,000 Haitian immigrants, including some 5,000 in Massachusetts.
Racist former DHS Secretary John Kelly had set the date of expiry in January 2018. With some pushback from our Congressional delegation and Gov. Baker, there’s been an 18-month reprieve; still cruel and dislocating, but better than nothing.
From Baker’s letter to DHS:
It is not consistent with the traditions and values of the United States to order the return of large numbers of foreign nationals who have been following our laws and contributing to our economy and culture to countries that are dangerous, politically unstable, and incapable of providing basic services and protections for their citizens,” Baker wrote.
Massachusetts stands in solidarity with our Haitian neighbors. One of the many norms we’ll have to rebuild post-Trump is the affirmation that the US will be a haven for those fleeing violence, oppression and disaster.
*By the way: Let’s get beyond defining a human rights problem by its economic effects: “it’ll hurt people and cost money”, that kind of thing. I’ve seen this in a number of news stories and statements of advocacy. I obviously can’t blame advocates for immigrants for bringing it up; they’re using whatever argument they think will resonate.
But this is about right and wrong, about humane treatment of the vulnerable. People are valuable, an end in and of themselves, regardless of how much or whether they create measurable economic value.
This commodification of human dignity is an analytical habit borne of the capture of our politics by business. Not everything can be measured in dollars. Every human values their own life infinitely. Mercy is priceless.