Thousands of immigrants have had their cases reopened recently, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended what is known as administrative closure. Judges used it to take immigration cases off their docket to allow immigrants to remain in the country without a conclusive ruling on their cases.
Around 350,000 cases are being reopened under Sessions’ dictation, and over 50,000 of them could come from New York. Nearly 8,000 cases have already been re-calendared nationally.
One of those cases belongs to Dane Freeman is a 41-year-old Jamaican-born New Yorker who has been living in the U.S. since he was 15. He’s married, working and has three kids. But in July, Freeman was told his deportation case was being reopened. Read more at Documented.
Welcome back. We all took the last week off, but, Early Arrival is here again to walk you through the big news in immigration from this past weekend. As always, you can reach me here: firstname.lastname@example.org or here, with tips, pitches, compliments or complaints.
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ICYMI: Since our brief hiatus began a week ago, Documented has been hard at work, publishing stories about developments in immigration enforcement policies, labor issues and a potential new twist in an arrest that made headlines this summer. Here’s a rundown of our coverage since you heard from us last.
Progressive Women Leading the Push for NY’s DREAM Act
DACA — the Obama-era program granting immigrants work permits and protecting them against deportation — remains in limbo, and New York has yet to create a program to fill the void. Albany failed to pass state’s DREAM Act, which would have alleviate college tuition costs for DACA recipients. Two progressive women — Catalina Cruz and Julia Salazar — are running for state office in the city with this act leading their platform. Read more at Documented.
Language Gap Stymies Asian American Upward Mobility
A Pew research report recently found that Asian Americans have the largest wealth gap of any group in the U.S. Reporter Emma Whitford found that in New York, poverty in the Asian community is driven largely by language issues. In New York City, the number of Asian Americans living in poverty jumped 44 percent in the last decade and a half, according to a report from the Asian American Federation. Read more at Documented.
Army Base Detainment Could Be Defense Overreach
In June, Pablo Villavicencio was detained by Army guards and subsequently arrested by ICE while trying to deliver pasta to an Army base. Villavicencio was recently released from detention, but the question of the military’s involvement and the legitimacy of his detention remained unanswered. Felipe De La Hoz found that per Department of Defense guidelines, the guards who detained Villavicencio may have overstepped their legal rights. Read more at Documented.
New York Judges Push Back Against Trump Administration Guidelines
The Justice Department has taken some measures to cut down on the time in which judges have to adjudicate immigration cases, including creating quotas. Under Obama, the DOJ “never told us what to do with the case, they said ‘Do the case.’ It wasn’t outcome-oriented,” a former judge told the New York Times. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has influence judges’ autonomy through declarations and memos, but the most difficult change has been the yearly quota of 700 cases, the judges say. The New York Times
New York Apple Farmers Feel Immigrant Labor Squeeze
New York apple farmers say it’s getting harder to hire migrant workers from Latin American countries. This is due to stricter visa restrictions, but also Mexicans’ wavering interest in the jobs. Many of the farmworkers come from Caribbean countries, in particular, Jamaica. News 10 WHEC
Hudson County N.J. Will No Longer Detain Immigrants
Last week, Hudson County in New Jersey announced it would no longer hold immigrant detainees in its Kearny jail by 2020. This comes after months of protests urging the county to end its contract with the jail, under which the federal government pays the county $120 per detainee per day, allowing it to profit off detention. Recently, the county voted to renew the contract. Some lawyers were unhappy with the announcement and feel that ICE could transfer detainees to overcrowded nearby jails or detention centers far away from their families. www.northjersey.com
Separated Families Seek Mental Health Counseling
Families split at the U.S.-Mexico border are suing the government to pay for mental health treatment for trauma caused by separation. In particular, reunited children are more nervous, angry, disobedient and are afraid of school, parents say. A group of families filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for an unspecified sum to create a mental health treatment fund for those impacted by zero tolerance. Associated Press
Financial Broker Fined $80,000 for EB-5 Visa ‘Ponzi-Like’ Scheme
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had reached a settlement last week with Joel Burstein, the former financial broker of Vermont ski resort owner Ariel Quiros. SEC officials say Quiros stole $50 million in a ‘Ponzi-like’ scheme from investors for personal use. The unsealed SEC complaint claims Burstein and Quiros misappropriated EB-5 investor money, which is a program designed to attract foreign investment in exchange for green cards. VT Digger
North Carolina Prepares to Fight ICE and DOJ Over Court Records Subpoena
North Carolina’s elections board is pushing back against an ICE subpoena for eight years of voting records, which seek confidential information about voters and their ballots. Board Vice Chairman Joshua Malcolm called it “overly broad, unreasonable, vague, and clearly impacts significant interests of our voters.” A federal official told the network that the subpoena is related to a recent indictment of 19 foreign born people for voting illegally. CNN
Washington — Trump Administration Seeks to Detain Children Longer, With Lower Detention Standards
The Trump administration is moving to overturn a landmark ruling that limits the amount of time children can be held in detention. It has published a document outlining how it would replace a 1997 court agreement in Flores v. Reno, which limited the amount of time children could be held in detention.
The regulation would supersede Flores, which in 2015 a judge used to order the government to release families and put a roughly 20-day limit on how long they can be detained. Trump blamed the Flores agreement for the separation of children from families at the border.
If the administration’s plan is successful, it will create harsher guidelines for detaining children, allowing the government to hold them longer. The proposal also creates looser quality standards for facilities where children are detained and allows the government to strip unaccompanied minors’ legal privileges more easily. Vox
Government Study Disrupts Legal Orientation for Detained Immigrants
The Justice Department released the first part of its review of the federally funded Legal Orientation Program, which offers detained immigrants legal education and referrals to free or low cost counsel. Jeff Sessions attempted to end the program this Summer, but faced considerable pushback. Previous studies showed the program decreased the average length of detention, but this new study says participants generally spend more time in detention and that their cases take longer to resolve. The Vera Institute of Justice, which runs the Legal Orientation Program, said the new study has “insurmountable methodological flaws in EOIR’s analysis” and will release its own study this week. Immigration Impact
Correction: An earlier version of this article said Pablo Villavicencio was arrested in July, 2018, when he was actually arrested in June, 2018.