Immigrants who can’t afford a lawyer in removal proceedings may be getting a boost, as New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday that his administration has committed $2.1 million in state funds to provide legal defense for those immigrants.
The move brings the state in line with New York and New York City, which each have publicly funded immigration legal defense programs. The funds will be distributed between four organizations: the Legal Services of New Jersey and the American Friends Service Committee will each get $925,000, and the law school clinics at Rutgers University and Seton Hall University receive $125,000 apiece. Local legal defense groups say more will be needed to provide services to all that require them, but hailed the move as a good start. The North Jersey Record
New York City Dreamer Becomes First DACA Rhodes Scholar
Jin Kyu Park, a DACA recipient and Harvard University senior raised by undocumented parents in Flushing, New York, has become the first undocumented immigrant selected for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. This was the first year the Rhodes Trust, which runs the program, accepted applications from undocumented candidates. Park hopes to go into the medical field and is deeply involved in immigration-related activism, including through his own nonprofit. He said in an interview that he hopes that the mainstream media begins approaching the topic of immigration in a more nuanced fashion. HuffPost
Queens Scammer Convicted of Immigration Fraud
Andreea Dumitru, a Sunnyside immigration attorney who had been charged with fabricating statements and personal circumstances during asylum processes for over a hundred clients, was found guilty of one count of asylum fraud, one count of making false statements, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Dumitru was active between 2013 and 2017, during which time she not only made up details of her clients’ cases, but forged signatures and falsified notarized affidavits. She faces almost two decades in prison if handed the maximum possible sentences by a federal judge. QNS.com
Facing a Worker Shortage, Some Farms Turn to Robots
As the largely immigrant farmworker workforce around the country dwindles, some farmers have turned to machines that will do the work they can’t find human labor for. Farmers in states with large agricultural sectors are frustrated with what they say is Congress’ inability to either allow for the regularization of undocumented workers already in the United States, or the easy flow of foreign workers into the country. So they have supported and invested in efforts to develop specialized robots that cut and pack crops, often much faster than humans could. The New York Times
Would-be Asylum Seekers Apprehensive After Tijuana Protests
Fear is spreading among the almost 2,500 migrants sheltered in the Mexican city of Tijuana as locals protested their presence and the approach of the so-called migrant caravan making its way north from Central America. The migrants arrived in the Mexican city hoping to apply for asylum at the Tijuana-U.S. port of entry, only to discover they could be waiting weeks before being allowed into U.S. territory to make a claim. Most residents of Tijuana, a city of roughly 1.6 million, have not interacted with the migrants, but animosity has been incensed by social media misinformation and rumors about the migrants’ supposed aggression and criminality. Associated Press
Unaccompanied Minors Not Allowed to Tender Asylum Claims
Mexican border officials are blocking unaccompanied minors from applying for asylum, apparently on behalf of U.S. immigration authorities, attorneys and advocates along the border say. This unacknowledged policy was apparently already in effect before a federal judge temporarily blocked a new Trump policy that barred anyone who had entered the country illegally from applying for asylum. That means children who had been hoping to tender asylum claims had no avenue to do so, as they would be blocked at a legal port of entry and would be rejected if they entered elsewhere. Vox
Haitians Revitalized the World’s Biggest Turkey Town. Now They Face Deportation.
Following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the United States instituted Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, allowing them to legally live and work in America. Haitians found work throughout the U.S., including in Mount Olive, North Carolina’s Butterball plant. Before Haitians began arrived in 2010, Mount Olive had suffered population losses, vacant real estate, and a lack of new economic activity and spending. The 1,500 Haitian arrivals are credited with revitalizing the town and keeping the turkey processing plant running smoothly. Now, the Trump administration wants to terminate the TPS program, threatening these workers and the town they’ve revamped. The Washington Post
Deportation Fears Keeping Kids Out of School
A new report by UNESCO studied how immigration policies intersect with education policy and outcomes internationally, and found fear associated with the perceived threat of deportation for themselves or their family members is keeping U.S. kids from attending school. The effect has been particularly pronounced in areas that have seen targeted immigration actions, such as a New Mexico school district that saw a 60 percent increase in its absentee rate following an immigration raid that targeted many students’ parents. Their reluctance to go to school is affecting undocumented students and U.S. citizen children who have undocumented relatives, hurting access to education across the board. NBC News
Washington — Trump v. Courts, DOJ Exodus, Caravan surveillance
As legal observers predicted, the Trump administration’s complex rules barring individuals from seeking asylum if they had entered the country in between ports of entry were temporarily halted by a U.S. District Judge on Monday. Judge Jon Tigar disagreed with the government labeling the approaching migrant caravan an “emergency situation” and saying rules limiting asylum were immediately necessary.
“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote in handing down a one-month ruling blocking the administration from enforcing its new policy. The case will now continue, as the president argues the same authorities that allowed him to institute last year’s travel ban allow him to limit asylum protections as well. Associated Press
The administration lost in a different court on a different case on Tuesday, as a federal judge blasted the Justice Department for submitting its twelfth request to delay the proceedings of one of the lawsuits challenging the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. The request, which asked U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman to halt the case until the Supreme Court could rule on admissible evidence, was very similar to one submitted just weeks ago. “Enough is enough,” Furman wrote in his ruling dismissing the motion. HuffPost
Figures provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to members of Congress show the total cost of managing, caring for and reuniting children separated from their parents under this summer’s ‘zero-tolerance policy’ has grown to $80 million and is continuing to rise. Most children who were separated from family under the policy have now been reunited with parents, but the parents of 30 children have been declared ‘ineligible’ for reunification based on criminal records and 117 other children remain detained after their parents were deported without them. The New York Times
In a lengthy interview, the likely next speaker of the U.S. House, current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), seemed to scoff at the idea of abolishing ICE. The idea has recently gone from a fringe position among the party’s most leftist factions to a more widely-discussed proposal embraced by some progressives in Congress. “I have those who want to be for impeachment and for abolishing ICE. Two really winning issues for us, right? In the districts we have to win? I don’t even think they’re the right thing to do,” she said. The New York Times Magazine
With former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a cadre of his hawkish loyalists out at the Justice Department, immigration hardliners worry that they’ll be replaced by officials with softer positions on immigration. Politico
Earlier this year, a member of Congress asked the Justice Department whether it believed any existing laws would allow the sharing of Census data with law enforcement. The Justice Department chose to respond cautiously, seeing as a DOJ attorney advised an acting assistant attorney general not to say “too much” about the issue in case “related issues come up later for renewed debate.” The Washington PostThe administration will move next week to make it tougher for domestic violence, human trafficking, and child abuse victims to seek specialized visas for crime and abuse survivors. Those visas are included under a new policy that allows United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to throw asylum seekers into deportation proceedings if their applications are rejected. Mother Jones