The mayor of Philadelphia calls Trump “bully” and “punk” after the decision to end the residency program for Haitians


Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) lashed out at President Trump on on Wednesday following the administration's decision to cancel a key immigration program for nearly 60,000 Haitians.

Talking to a group of city defenders and residents in support of refugees and immigrants, Kenney apparently left the script near the end of his comments.

"I'm sad because our president is a bully, our president is a punk, and he just does not understand it, I do not know where he was raised, but his family did not do it, a good job to raise that boy," Kenney said. , according to a local affiliate of NBC.

Prior to his criticism of Trump, Kenney discussed the Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program that grants residence and work permits to around 300,000 foreign citizens from countries that have suffered major disasters.

On Monday Interim Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, announced that she will cancel TPS for the nearly 60,000 Haitians who have been in the program since a 2010 earthquake devastated their country.

Duke gave the Haitians 18 months to secure a different immigration status – a long shot for most TPS holders – or return to their country of origin.

The measure came weeks after Duke canceled TPS for some 5,000 Nicaraguans in the country, while allowing the state of about 57,000 Hondurans to renew automatically for six months.

The Trump administration has carried out a strict interpretation of the TPS statute, unlike the previous Democratic and Republican administrations.

The Trump administration has focused on the temporary nature of the program and the idea that country designations should end up depending on the conditions of the country directly related to the disaster that motivated them, not the conditions of the country in general.

In May, then-Secretary of the DHS John Kelly John Francis Kelly MORE – who since then became White House Chief of Staff – expanded the TPS for Haiti for six months, pointing to the rebuilt presidential palace as a sign that the earthquake's challenges had been overcome, despite the fact that Haiti remains the poorest country in the hemisphere and recently suffered a cholera epidemic.

Earlier this year at DHS, Kelly also ended the designation of TPS that protected more than 1,000 Sudanese citizens.

That change in interpretation has provoked criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, who say it is cruel to return TPS holders to potentially dangerous countries.

Legislators have also argued that some TPS beneficiaries have been in the United States as long as they are allowed to remain permanently here.

Adding his voice to the administration's critics at TPS, Kenney brought up the unresolved problem of what to do with US citizen children of deported parents.

"It's a bad policy to remove these protections without any thought or plan for US-born children who can now lose their parents, Sudanese, Haitian or Nicaraguan caregivers," Kenney said Wednesday.

"Can you imagine if they finished the TPS for the Irish?" he added.

Kenney also spoke in support of the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump moved to rescind that Obama-era program in September, starting a legislative battle to replace it with permanent protections for nearly 690,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

Kenney said that Trump's actions on immigration are having a wider effect in the country.

"Let's stand together and let's help each other regardless of what happens in Washington, such a happy Thanksgiving," Kenney added.

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