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Early Arrival: E-Bike Riders and Advocates Seek More Protections

Early Arrival is a Documented newsletter that provides a round-up of the most vital local and national immigration news. This is an archived edition of the newsletter.

Workers, advocacy groups, and elected officials rallied outside City Hall on Monday for the right to ride E-Bikes in the city.

On May 29, the Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing about proposed city ordinances that would outlaw many of the electric bikes delivery workers use to navigate the city. The ordinance would impact thousands of delivery workers, many of whom are immigrants.

The issue revolves around throttle-powered bikes, bicycles equipped with an electric motor that allows the riders to navigate the streets without much physical exertion. Due to state law, those bikes are technically legal to own and illegal to ride in the city, according to the transportation news website Streetsblog.

Transportation Alternatives, Make the Road NY, Legal Aid NYC and The Biking Public Project, were joined by council members Margaret Chin, Harvey Epstein and Carlos Menchaca at the rally.

The proposed city rule would allow for pedal assist bikes to be used, but the throttle operated bikes would remain illegal. This would cause most delivery workers to have to purchase new bikes.

Advocacy groups are asking the DOT to change the proposed rule to allow workers to convert bikes they currently own instead of having to purchase new ones. The coalition of advocacy groups and city politicians are asking for a city program to help delivery workers afford the conversions. Streetsblog NYC

Ellis Island

Crossings surge on New York-Canada border
Last month, nearly 2,600 people crossed over the border from northern New York into Canada. The route has grown increasingly popular for asylum seekers, as people from Nigeria, Haiti, Lebanon and other countries travel north. The border experienced a surge in traffic last summer and officials expect they might experience a similar uptick this summer. The arrival of the asylum seekers has triggered anti-immigrant sentiment in some groups and has led to protests in the Canadian province of Quebec. The governments of Nigeria and Haiti are working with the Canadian government to reduce the number of their citizens entering the country. The Wall Street Journal

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chief endorses Jumaane Williams during roundtable
City council member Carlos Menchaca and lieutenant governor candidate Jumaane Williams hobnobbed with state Hispanic Chamber of Commerce head Frank Garcia at the Floridita restaurant in Sunset Park, where he and other business advocates endorsed Williams. At issue were the closings of Latino-owned restaurants, which Garcia attributed to insufficient access to state business aid. Garcia also took the opportunity to take a jab at Governor Andrew Cuomo, who he allegedly tried to pressure him out of endorsing Williams, who is running against incumbent Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Felipe De La Hoz for Documented

Facebook suggests Chinatown city council member is a Chinese restaurant owner
Last week Margaret Chin, city council member for District 1, received a notification from Facebook that she should change her professional page classification from Government Official to Government Official–Chinese Restaurant. Chin tweeted her frustrations. “I’m glad that @Facebook recognizes that I have a Chinese name but not every Chinese American elected official runs a Chinese restaurant,” she wrote. Facebook told the Chinese language newspaper World Journal that they were opening an investigation into the incident and apologized to Chin. World Journal via Voices of NY

Report says Trump administration’s immigration policies affect New York’s fashion industry
A study from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the lobbying group FWD.US shows that immigration issues deeply affect New York City’s substantial fashion industry, which generates $2 billion in tax revenue and $10.9 billion in total wages for the city. More than 900 fashion companies are located in New York and employ 180,000 people. According to the study, 56 percent of the people who were surveyed were anxious about recruiting and retaining workers. About a third of the respondents will likely let go of an employee due to an immigration-related issue. The study originally came out in 2017 but was released again on Tuesday with updated numbers. Read the report

State senators celebrate Garifuna Heritage month. Caribbean Life News

Let undocumented immigrants drive: Cuomo can act right now, New York Daily News [Opinion]

For immigrants, guardian plan would mean peace of mind, Albany Times-Union [Opinion]

National

Special rules apply to ‘border zone’, which encompasses much of America
The border zone runs 100 air miles inside the United States from its borders. It encapsulates many the most populous cities and regions in the country: New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and all of Michigan and Florida among other places, according to a report from City Lab. Over 65 percent of the U.S. population lives in this area, and different legal standards apply therein. Federal agents can set up highway checkpoints, enter private property and have broad rights to detain individuals who may have committed immigration violations. Critics say the mandate of the area does not serve its intended purpose. Just 2 percent of deportable non-citizens were arrested at checkpoints. Residents of a small Arizona town that has a checkpoint on a major artery found that Latino drivers were more likely to be stopped. City Lab

DHS steps up workplace enforcement operations 
The Trump administration said on Monday that it was going to make deterring employers from hiring undocumented people a priority and new data backs this up. Since Oct. 1, the Department of Homeland Security has opened more workplace investigations, made more arrests and conducted more audits than the entire previous fiscal year. The agency started 3,510 workplace investigations between Oct. 1 and May 4, up from 1,716 during all of fiscal year 2017. DHS expects the total investigations this year to triple that of the past fiscal year, according to Derek Benner, the acting executive associate director for Homeland Security Investigations. The Wall Street Journal

Trump Administration surveys military bases to house minors
The Department of Health and Human Services has begun to survey military installations to house immigrant children, according to The Washington Post. Pentagon staffers received a notice that HHS will visit four military sites in Texas and Arkansas to survey their ability to house children. The action signifies the Trump administration is moving forward with its plans to separate families at the border. The bases would also be used to house unaccompanied minors. The notice said these visits are only preliminary assessments and no decisions have been made yet. The Washington Post

9th Circuit Court hears arguments in DACA case
The 9th Circuit federal appeals court in California heard arguments against the Trump administration’s move to end DACA on Tuesday. A three-judge panel heard arguments from attorneys on the case. Judges were concerned that thousands of DACA recipients had built their lives on the program. They also questioned how they should take Trump’s tweets and statements into account and if the administration had violated the equal protection rights of the recipients. CNN

Another Challenge to Immigrant Detainees’ $1 Pay Goes Forward, Bloomberg Law.

No End in Sight: An Egyptian Man’s Ordeal in ICE Custody and the Plight of Indefinite Immigration Detention, The Intercept

Did you receive your green card recently? Immigration can ask you to return it. The Miami Herald.After deportation, a family from Wisconsin will start anew in Cambodia, PRI.

Opinion

  • Why Trump Deports Fewer Immigrants Than Obama; Sanctuary states and cities are slowing the expulsions, by Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg editorial writer. Bloomberg
  • Questions for John Kelly, from one Marine to another, by John D. Feeley, a retired U.S. ambassador and veteran U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot.Univision News
  • The U.S. is still harsh to Muslims, no matter how the travel ban case goes, by Huma Yasin, attorney and co-founder of Facing Abuse in Community Environments. The Washington Post

Washington – Jeff Sessions reshapes immigration law

Attorney General JeffSessions has quietly been referring influential immigration cases to himself, an unprecedented move that could have repercussions for the immigration courts system.

Sessions has given his office the ability to review and rewrite cases that could set influential legal precedents. Experts told Vox that previous attorneys general rarely used this power. Sessions has already used it three times. He has taken cases from the Board of Immigration Appeals, which would usually issue a judgment, and referred the cases to himself. 

One case involves the issue of administrative closure, where a judge can effectively put a stop to immigration proceedings without resolving the core issue, halting the potential deportation in the process. Sessions could write the decision so administrative closures are no longer an option, according to Vox. He also questioned granting domestic violence survivors asylum and could make the speed of cases less forgiving, making it harder for immigrants to collect proper evidence to win their cases. Vox

Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Pramila Jayapal are attempting to curtail the mass detention of immigrants.

The two Democrats introduced the Detention Oversight Not Expansion (DONE) Act on Tuesday. It proposes placing a moratorium on the expansion or construction of immigration detention facilities. The bill would also allot $45 million to grow the federal oversight capacity over such facilities. From 1994 until this year, the number of beds in immigration detention centers has increased from around 7,000 to 40,000 in 2018. In November 2017, ICE reported that on an average day in fiscal year 2018, nearly 40,000 people were being held in its detention centers. The Department of Justice has fought or curtailed programs and policies that would alleviate the detention population, like not holding bond hearings, detaining children at the border and detaining more asylum seekers. USA Today

Queens, New York – April 27, 2018: Views of Astoria neighborhood along Steinway Street. Photo: Christopher Lee for Documented.

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