Donald Trump threw rolls of paper towels at the people of Puerto Rico who had no clean water, and then, he took off an hour early. He said that only 16 people died, and that the official number only rose to 64. As a direct result of Trump’s inaction, the real number who died was over 4,600 according to CNN, and still, he continues to hurt them.
Hurricane Maria was a category 5 storm, which nearly totally devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico Carmen Yulin Cruz, called Trump on his inaction and literally begged for help for the American people of her island. Some of them still only have contaminated water, little food, and homes with no roofs.
Now, POTUS has decided to punish more Puerto Ricans — the children, the elderly, those with disabilities, the very sick — all of those who evacuated. He plans to evict 2,000 people. Fortunately, a judge has temporarily blocked their eviction.
Here is how Trump originally responded to the mayor via tweet:
‘The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.’
‘…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….’
‘…want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.’
We have seen what 45 did to families trying to escape certain death by fleeing to the southern border of the United States for asylum. He ripped babies, toddlers, and children from their mother’s arms and shipped the young ones hundreds, even thousands of miles away.
Donald Trump has been persecuting people of Latin heritage, and the country will not stand for their government allowing his cruel and inhumane treatment to continue. This lawsuit points to another way he has threatened thousands more people now.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF (Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund), a national civil rights organization, Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips, LLP, and the law offices of Hector E. Pineiro filed a lawsuit to stop the eviction of almost 2,000 Puerto Rican evacuees who have been living in hotels and motels throughout the country. FEMA’s (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) Temporary Shelter Assistance (TSA) program plans to end its help for those whom Hurricane Maria impacted.
According to a LatinoJustice PRLDEF press release, the Trump administration will:
‘(Evict) young children, the elderly, disabled, and those with serious medical needs – are evicted from their hotels, they will face potential homelessness or placement in shelter systems. FEMA’s actions are not only immoral, they are unlawful and violate the very purpose of their existence: to provide immediate and transitional relief to those impacted by disasters. The lawsuit seeks to detain the immediate evictions of hundreds of evacuees and to require FEMA to extend alternative housing assistance to all eligible individuals.’
Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Natasha Lycia Ora Bannon, said:
‘The refusal to extend TSA to evacuees, as well as their refusal to provide direct rental assistance to most evacuees, means the eviction of hundreds of Puerto Rican families who have already experienced deep trauma, and who will now likely find themselves homeless or in shelters. In addition, FEMA continues to refuse to enter into an Inter-Agency Agreement with HUD, which would allow the Disaster Housing Assistance Program to be implemented, providing evacuees with longer term housing solutions and helping them resettle. FEMA’s actions are shameful and continues to expose a community that has already suffered greatly to potentially greater harm.’
Managing attorney for LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s Southeast Office, Kira Romero-Craft, said:
‘There is no question that FEMA’s response to Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria has been woefully inadequate and unlike responses to other natural disasters experienced in the U.S.,. The level of transitional support care to assist evacuees, many who lost everything, has been predicated on a fiction that too much has been done already. That is false. We must not allow inaction by the federal government to continue to tear communities apart especially after the devastating losses In Puerto Rico due to the hurricane. We must continue to care for the most vulnerable members of our community to ensure the safety and not further endanger their lives.’
The interfaith group that worked with evacuees, Faith In Action’s, Chief of Staff Denise Collazo said:
‘If this eviction goes forth, it will do irreparable harm to people who have already suffered so much. Thousands of people lost homes, jobs, cars, places to go to school, and are suffering unnecessarily. FEMA can end this by activating the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) now. Instead, FEMA is offering one-way plane tickets to send people back to a place that is in no way ready to receive them.’
These 2,000 Puerto Rican evacuees cannot go home, because they no longer have any home.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Win McNamee.