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Early Arrival: Nonprofit hit with $38,950 fine for scamming immigrants

Wednesday's Edition of Early Arrival: City Pledges $4.1M To Separated Children — Border Patrol Agent Attempted Suicide — DOJ Did Not Want to Request Citizenship Question

A nonprofit based in the Bronx is facing a $38,950 fine after a New York City administrative law judge concluded it had been selling fake IDs to immigrants, claiming they would protect them from deportation. 

A New Beginning for Immigrants Rights was first exposed by an investigation from WNYC and Telemundo 47. They found the cards, which the nonprofit called ID4ICE, being advertised for $50 and $200 in YouTube videos posted by New Beginning founder Carlos Davila.

The Department of Consumer Affairs was seeking fines of up to $1.3 million for Davila and his agency. A judge found that Davila committed 657 violations of the city’s consumer protection laws. 

In one ad for the cards, Davila said: “If you don’t talk and let the ID do its work, you will not be deported.” He was also found guilty of retaining fees for clients who he failed to help with their immigration cases. WNYC

Good morning, and welcome to Early Arrival. Today’s edition is brought to you by Mazin Sidahmed and Irene Spezzamonte, we’re 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 mazin.sidahmed@documentedny.com or irene.spezzamonte@documentedny.com.

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Local

City Pledges $4.1M to Help Separated Children

New York City representatives announced Monday the city will designate $4.1 million to offer legal assistance to separated children and unaccompanied minors currently living in New York City. The majority of children have been reunited with their families, but some rejoined their families in detention facilities, and another 40 split children remain in New York City. Despite the announcement’s implications, these funds are not a new allocation as they come from a previously earmarked $30 million budgeted for immigrants’ legal defense. The funds will help about 900 children and will offer legal assistance to those who want to sponsor migrant children. Voices of NY

City Council Discusses Bills to Financially Aid Taxi Drivers

After New York City passed a bill limiting the number of Uber and Lyft cabs, New York City Council discussed on Monday a new group of bills that would affect the taxi industry. These included legislation on how much Uber and Lyft drivers would pay on lease or rental agreements and whether to raise medallion values for yellow cab drivers. The bills would also introduce mental health services to taxi drivers. A spate of suicides by drivers drowning in debt from their medallions rocked the industry earlier this year. NY Daily News

No Immigrants Invited to Long Island Immigration Meeting

A closed-door meeting between members of Congress and local law enforcement took place at Suffolk County Community College on Monday, but a protest unfolded outside to address the fact that no local elected officials or representatives from immigrant advocacy groups were invited. The meeting, which was hosted by Rep. Lee Zeldin and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, focused on requesting more funds to fight MS-13 and human trafficking. “The influx of UACs [unaccompanied alien children] has provided fertile recruiting opportunities for brutal transnational gangs like MS-13,” Zeldin said. Voices of NY

In New York, Fired Farmworker Keeps Fighting for Rights in Appeal, Times Union

Matt Katz Discusses Hudson County’s Contract with ICE on the Takeaway, WNYC

Man Admits Bribing Federal Worker to Help Get Visas Approved, Associated Press

National

Border Patrol Agent Accused of “Killing Spree” Attempted Suicide

The Border Patrol agent accused of going on a “killing spree” confessed on Saturday to killing four women over the course of two weeks, authorities said at a news conference on Monday. Juan David Ortiz was swarmed by a SWAT team in a hotel parking lot on Saturday and was arrested after a failed suicide attempt, authorities said. Ortiz, 35, was accused of killing four women, all sex workers, over a span of two week. He was driving a car with his potential fifth victim when she managed to escape. Authorities said they could not guarantee they wouldn’t find more victims. The Texas Tribune, The Washington Post

Related: ‘I’m dumbfounded:’ Border Patrol Agent’s Alleged Killings Stun City Leaders, Officials, Laredo Morning Times

Washington Post Passport Denial Story Under Scrutiny

A widely read Washington Post story on Latinos living along the border having their passports denied may have some serious errors, seeing as State Department raw data not only shows the denials have been dropping in recent years, but also that denials started during the Bush administration. The Washington Post, who published at the end of August, corrected the story several times, including adding reference to the data and a comment from Jorge Treviño’s daughter — one of the main characters of the story. The State Department released statistics, which it had not denied to give the Post, days after the story was published that drew the story’s premise into question. HuffPost

Fingerprint Requirements Scare Undocumented Chicago Parents

Members of a local school council in Chicago penned a letter to Mayor of Chicago expressing their skepticism about the practice of fingerprinting school council members. The letter came after a council member, who is believed to be undocumented, refused to get fingerprinted. Schools in Chicago have started enforcing the practice after the Chicago Tribune exposed loopholes in how schools handle sexual allegations cases. Chalkbeat

Social Security ‘Mismatch’ Letters to Return

The Social Security Administration announced that it will start sending letters to employers when the social security number provided by an employee doesn’t match the administration’s database. Once notified, the employer must correct the information within 60 days before incurring tax penalties. This practice stopped in 2012 when former President Barack Obama introduced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, protecting some immigrants from deportation. It is not clear whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement will use the notifications. Bloomberg Law

WBUR Interviews Maine Border Patrol Chief on Border Checkpoints, WBUR

ICE Agent in Oregon Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minor, Associated Press

Supreme Court Ruling Means Thousands Of Deportation Cases May Be Tossed Out, NPR

Complexities of the Upcoming Election in One PA City, VOA

Washington

DOJ Did Not Want to Request Citizenship Question

The Department of Justice did not want to ask the Commerce Department to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census, contrary to what the Trump administration has maintained, according to newly revealed documents.

Emails were released Monday as part of a lawsuit opposing a census question asking if someone is a citizen. In the emails, Commerce Department official Earl Comstock first asked the DOJ to add the question. The department refused, so he asked Homeland Security, which sent him back to the DOJ. He even asked a Commerce Department attorney to look into how the department could add the question itself.

Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross had testified before Congress in March that the DOJ had initiated the request for the question in order to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. They eventually did send a request for the question in December 2017.

A lawsuit against the addition, led by New York Attorney General Barbra Underwood, argues a citizenship question will deter immigrants from filling out the census and lead to an undercount in heavily immigrant areas, which tend to lean Democratic. NPR

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has dropped the number of refugees the U.S. will accept next year down to 30,000, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday. That’s the lowest refugee cap set by a president since the program’s creation in 1980, when the cap was set at 231,000. This year’s cap was set at 45,000, a number which the government is unlikely to meet. The record-low limit comes as record numbers of people are displaced around the world. The New York Times

As other agencies testified before Congress on Tuesday, and Matthew Albence, the chief of arrests and deportations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, defended his early comparison of detention centers and summer camps. Albence said in an August hearing the centers were “more like summer camps,” seeing as people have access to food and water 24/7. When asked if he would send his own children there, Albence said the question “was not applicable” to him and that “the parents put themselves in this position.” CNN

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