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Early Arrival: Judge Orders Immediate Reunification of Father and 2-Year-Old Son

Wednesday's Edition of Early Arrival: Queens DA Race Could Reshape Immigration — ICE's Controversial New Contract — Sessions Slams Ross Deposition

Nearly six months after they were split at the border, a New York federal judge has ordered a father and his two-year-old son be reunited.

Mr C., who is from Honduras, decided to flee to the United States after being kidnapped at gunpoint by members of MS-13 and was detained when he reached the border in April. He was released on bond last week after an immigration judge considered him not a threat to society. But his son — who turned two while in detention — was not released.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein described separating a child from his father as the “most cruel of cruelties.”

Irene Spezzamonte for Documented

Good morning, and welcome to Early Arrival. I am Irene Spezzamonte and I am 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 irene.spezzamonte@documentedny.com.

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Local

How Queens’ DA race could reshape immigration in most diverse borough

Gregory Lasak, a former Queens supreme court justice, announced Tuesday that he’ll run against Councilmember Rory Lancman for Queens District Attorney. In his announcement, Lancman announced he would “consider the collateral immigration consequences for noncitizens when deciding how to charge an offense,” while Lask previously said he would review cases on an case-by-case basis every 18 months. Ahead of Documented’s reporting on the Queens DA race, Lasak refused to commit to a change like Gonzalez’s. But soon after publication, the councilmember announced on Twitter he “will implement an immigration plea policy which seriously considers the collateral immigration consequences for those charged with non-violent misdemeanor offenses.”

Read more at Documented

Psychological Tests Help Immigrants Win Asylum

A gay man from Colombia can now call New York his home after he won his asylum case. But it wasn’t easy. Ricardo left his home country after he said he was violently assaulted twice. Upon arriving in New York, he was granted asylum after he underwent a psychological evaluation. Asylum applicants who have these evaluations are approved 89 percent of the time, leading physicians to step in and conduct the exams pro bono. Still, one doctor said there is a “desperate need for more mental health professionals to do this work.” WNYC

Queens Council Member Receives Hate Mail from Vigilante Group

Council member Francisco Moya said he received about four anti-immigrant letters from “The Notre Dame Society, a secret group that allegedly helps Immigration and Custom Enforcement to deport undocumented immigrants. In the letters, which have not been publicly shared, the Society apparently claims they helped ICE get 58 undocumented immigrants deported and have roughly 130 members spread across the east coast, including New York City. Moya also said the letters come from someone within City Hall. Jackson Heights Post

Chinese Immigrants Suffering from Mental Illness at Risk, Voices of New York

National

ICE Contracts with Company Accused of Housing Immigrant Children in Vacant Office Buildings

In July, Immigration and Custom Enforcement broke a deal with MVM Inc., a company that had been under investigation for apparently housing immigrant children in vacant office buildings without showers or kitchens. MVM received the $185 million contract to provide translation and interpretation services. Earlier that summer, however, Reveal discovered the company was unlawfully housing children in buildings that were not listed as shelters for more than 24 hours, violating MVM’s own policies. ICE did allow MVM to use the buildings for “waiting areas.” Reveal

Wisconsin Program Bridges Language Gap Between Immigrants and Farmers

A nonprofit in Wisconsin is working to help undocumented workers break the language wall between migrants and the farmers who could employ them, as well as keep immigrants in contact with their families still across the border. Puentes/Bridges provides immigrants with language classes, facilitates meetings between farmers and migrant workers, and makes sure immigrants keep in touch with their families, who are often from Mexico. The nonprofit also partners with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which runs a program that brings health care directly to farms where migrants live and work. Huffington Post

Trump Threatens to End Honduras Aid as 2,000 Refugees Flee

As about 2,000 Hondurans travel in a pack to seek refuge in the U.S., President Trump threatened in a Tuesday tweet that he’d stop all aid to Honduras if the country doesn’t take them back. The group made it past a large police presence at the border with Guatemala on its way into Mexico and eventually the U.S. “If the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” Trump wrote. USA Today

State Prison in Michigan to Become Private Immigration Detention Center

Immigration Centers of America, an organization that operates several privately-owned detention centers, was granted a $35 million bid to open a new facility in Ionia, Michigan. The company will use a building that served as state prison until it was closed in 2009. The detention facility will include 600 beds, and will house immigrants whose cases are pending. Private immigration facilities house about 60 percent of all immigrants detained in the United States, and many have attracted controversy for the keeping detainees in poor conditions. Detroit Free Press

California Cracking Down on Legal Scams Targeting Immigrants, Voice of San Diego

Border Agent Arrested in Deaths of 4 Women Wants Lower Bond, Associated Press

Washington — Sessions Slams Judge’s Decision on Wilbur Ross Deposition

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has declared a New York judge’s order to depose Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “outrageous.” Judge Jesse Furman recently ordered the deposition, saying Ross needed to further explain why a question of citizenship would be included on the 2020 census.

In previous sworn testimony to Congress, Ross said the Department of Justice had asked him to make the changes to the census. But criticism of the addition soon arose, with some saying it would lead to undercounts as undocumented immigrants would avoid answering the census for fear of deportation.

Then, Ross flipped, saying he actually proposed adding the citizenship question after a consultation with former White House adviser Stephen Bannon. Furman then ordered a deposition to clarify the situation, and three appeals judges have since backed up his decisions.

A final decision on whether Ross will face deposition is expected from the Supreme Court soon. The Washington Post

Businesses Could be Surprised by Trump Plan to Limit Immigrant Use of Benefits, Politico

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