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Early Arrival: Number Has Shrunk, but Separated Children Remain in New York

Friday's edition of Early Arrival: Deportation Counseling, From Inside Prison — A Murder Politicized — Mapping Congress' Immigrant Roots

Four weeks after a court-ordered deadline for the reunification of families separated by the government at the border, over 500 children are still awaiting reunification.

WNYC has identified about 30 of them in New York, lower than the 52 tallied three weeks ago. Their parents have been found “ineligible” for reunification based on factors like a criminal record, or have already been deported.

Even locating the children’s parents or any finding information about them has proven to be an uphill battle for attorneys. WNYC

Good morning, and welcome to Early Arrival. I’m Felipe De La Hoz, here to take you through the latest in local and national immigration news and analysis. If you have feedback, suggestions, tips or leads, reach out at felipe.delahoz@documentedny.com or on Twitter.

We’re always looking for deeply reported work on immigration in New York. If you have story ideas and are interested in writing for us, reach out at pitches@documentedny.com.

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Ellis Island

Pardoned Bronx Man is Not Out of the Woods Yet

Harveys Gomez, the 39-year-old handyman Gov. Andrew Cuomo pardoned this week ahead of a deportation remains in ICE detention, his sister says. His family doesn’t know if or when he’ll be able to return home. The openly gay Bronxite moved to New York from the Dominican Republic when he was 8 and served six months in prison starting in 2009 for a drug sale conviction. ICE is not legally required to terminate deportation for an immigrant without any legal status, even if they have been pardoned of the underlying crime that first brought them to the agency’s attention. New York Daily News

Trump Immigration Policies Among Factors Wrecking Upstate Farming

New York’s robust upstate agricultural sector is suffering thanks to extreme weather, President Trump’s tariffs, and a tight labor market drained in part by stronger immigration scrutiny for migrant workers. A large portion of the workers that help keep dairy farms running are undocumented, and their newfound inability to easily move around — coupled with workers’ fears of getting caught up in enforcement raids — has made it difficult for farms to fill jobs. A strong state and national economy has also made other jobs more attractive for the immigrants. The New York Times

Physics Teacher Gains Asylum and Escapes Egyptian Death Sentence

A physics teacher who had taught in Union City, New Jersey has been granted asylum after being detained by ICE in April. Ahmed Abdel-Basit fled what he said was politically-motivated persecution in his native Egypt in 2016 and sought asylum in the U.S. Shortly before his arrival here, he had been tried in absentia in Egypt on terrorism-related charges and sentenced to death. The prosecution has been decried by organizations like Amnesty International as farcical and an attempt to silence his political activism. Students at Rising Star Academy, where Abdel-Basit taught, had rallied to his defense. The North Jersey Record

Guatemalan Man Previously Arrested at Rome Farm Sentenced, The Observer-Dispatch

Why Are E-Bikes Legal For Citi Bike Users And Not Immigrant Delivery Workers?, Gothamist

From Somalia to Syracuse: How Local Program Helps Refugees Grow and Sell Produce, The Post-Standard


It has been 141 days since Memphis-based journalist Manuel Durán was detained by immigration authorities after first being arrested by the Memphis Police Department while covering a protest. Documented will keep a running tally of how long Durán remains in detention.

A Las Vegas teenager has died after jumping out of a moving car following the immigration arrest of his father. His family has set up a GoFundMe for his burial.

A Murder Politicized

The massively publicized disappearance of college student Mollie Tibbetts reached a head Tuesday when investigators announced they had found Tibbetts’ body and charged an undocumented immigrant as a suspect in her murder. The tragedy exploded in conservative media, superseding breaking news about the president’s personal lawyer and former campaign manager pleading guilty to and being convicted of federal crimes, respectively. There was some unresolved confusion about whether the suspect was even undocumented, highlighting how the story became an anti-immigration talking point. The victim’s family has publicly said their tragedy should not be exploited to advance the immigrants as criminal narrative. Vox, The New York Times

Immigration Attorneys’ Efforts on Family Separation Continue

Even as the family separation crisis fades from the headlines, attorneys who have taken on the cases continue to work towards reunification. The government is floundering to reunify families, but pro bono defenders are keeping up the pressure on the government and noting continued prosecutions, as well as the occasional separation that still occurs. They have also helped reunified clients navigate the complex immigration system. TIME

First Arrest From CBP Facial Recognition Surveillance Technology

Immigration enforcement agencies, especially Customs and Border Protection, are developing technologically advanced systems to surveil travelers and build a “virtual border wall.” One of those technologies is facial recognition cameras and software, which on Thursday led to its first arrest. A traveler arriving from São Paulo, Brazil to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., was flagged by the system for attempting to use a French passport that was not his to enter the country. The technology has caused significant concerns among civil liberties advocates, who express concerns over the long-term implications of constant face-scanning. CBS News

ICE Appears to Continue Arbitrary Parole Denials

Earlier this year, the ACLU brought a lawsuit against the government, alleging ICE offices were forcing asylum seekers into detention instead of letting them obtain humanitarian parole after passing a credible fear interview. In reponse, a federal district judge in July ordered ICE to consider parole requests individually instead of issuing blanket denials. But attorneys and detainees say the government appears to have simply ignored that injunction, continuing to issue blanket denials on standardized forms without explanation. The Guardian

Top CEOs Warn About Effects of USCIS Policies

Some of the country’s most prominent chief executives signed a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, specifically taking issue with the employment-based H-1B visas. The executives, including the CEOs of Apple, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and PepsiCo, wrote that the increasing denials and unpredictability associated with the visa, which is used to hire highly skilled foreign workers, was causing “causing considerable anxiety for many thousands of our employees while threatening to disrupt company operations.” USCIS responded that its changes were intended to induce a fair and effective merit-based system. Reuters

ICE Handcuffs Immigrant Kids on Their 18th Birthdays, Drags Them to Jail, The Miami New Times

Gubernatorial Candidate Wants Free Community College for Maryland’s ‘Dreamers’, The Washington Post

Her Son Died in Nicaraguan Protests. Now She’s Seeking Asylum in the U.S., The Miami Herald

Mass. Congressional Delegation Calls on ICE to Stop Arresting Immigrants Seeking Legal Status, The Boston Globe

Judge in Detroit Tells ICE to Stop Threatening Iraqi Detainees, The Detroit Free Press

Line of Immigrants Seeking Citizenship Grows as Feds Grapple with Backlog, The CT Mirror

Texas Democrats Suggest Decriminalizing Immigration, Splinter

Washington — Mapping Congress’ Immigrant Roots

A Pew Research Center study has determined 12 percent of the current makeup of Congress are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. This includes 11 foreign-born members of the House of Representatives and one senator, Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono. Another 53 congressmembers were born to at least one immigrant parent.

Two representatives, North Manhattan’s Rep. Adriano Espaillat, (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) were both brought to the U.S. without citizenship as young children. That makes them the first previously undocumented immigrants to join Congress.

They join the 413 foreign-born Americans who’ve ever served in Congress. Today’s count features a lower number of foreign-born congressmembers than in most years past. Pew Research

Democrats warn of shrinking refugee cap

The ten Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the potential repercussions of the United States further lowering its cap for refugee admissions, already at a historic low. Beyond humanitarian reasons, the senators wrote that the policy could seriously damage the country’s diplomatic clout and harm its strategic interests around the globe. NBC News

Supposed Trump-defier flips on zero toleranceColorado Republican Congressman Mike Coffman, who had portrayed himself as a moderate willing to oppose the presiden, was caught on tape at an event in his district seeming to endorse a “zero tolerance” policy for DACA and TPS holders whose statuses were expiring. President Trump had a “more generous plan for DACA than I would [propose],” he said. As immigration continues to grow more polarizing ahead of the midterm elections this year, federal candidates and incumbent lawmakers will have to stake explicit and potentially controversial positions. The Washington Post

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