New Jersey’s Attorney General’s office is reportedly investigating claims of employee harassment and immigration fraud at President Trump’s Garden State golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The investigation comes after several current and former housemaids alleged they were racially mistreated at the golf club.
The most prominent of whom was Victorina Morales, an undocumented woman who spoke to The New York Times about working at the golf club with no documentation and the abuse she faced from her supervisors.
Anibal Romero, an attorney representing five women who worked as housemaids at the club, said the AG’s office had contacted him to inquire about Bedminster. The AG’s office would not confirm or deny there was an investigation. NY Daily News
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement increased arrests of immigrants in New York City without criminal records by 87 percent in fiscal year 2018, according to statistics released Friday, up from 674 people last fiscal year to 1,259 this year. Overall, arrests from ICE’s New York City field office were up 35 percent to 3,476, from 2,576 in the previous fiscal year. The increase follows an agency-wide trend of increasing non-criminal arrests made under the Trump administration. The Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs found non-criminal arrests shot up 200 percent year-on-year in the 8 months that followed the 2017 inauguration. Nationwide, ICE arrests are also at their highest number since 2014. Read more at Documented.
ICE Arrests Grow 7 Percent in New Jersey
Friday’s release of arrest data by ICE showed that New Jersey had seen only a seven percent increase in arrests to 3,409 in fiscal year 2018. Still, the number represents a 52 percent growth from 2016, before President Trump took office and loosened restrictions on ICE agents. Next year, the state’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal will begin implementation of the “Immigrant Trust Directive” which will cut back how much the 36,000 state and local police officers can assist ICE, something which may stem the flow of arrests. NJ.com
ICYMI: Meet Alan Vomacka: One of New York’s Toughest Immigration Judges
Last week, Documented published a profile of one of the city’s toughest immigration judges, Alan Vomacka. Hundreds of pages of complaints against immigration judges that were surfaced in a lawsuit open a window into the secretive world of immigration court. Read more at Documented
Family Rejects DHS Explanation of 7-Year-Old’s Death
Homeland Security published a timeline on Friday to explain the death of 7-year old Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died in Border Patrol custody. Caal Maquin’s death has sparked outrage among observers and her family is rejecting the department’s explanation. Caal Maquin and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were apprehended along with 163 other migrants on Dec. 6 near a remote part of the border in New Mexico, DHS said. Hours later, they were transported on a 90-minute bus ride, during which Caal Maquin began vomiting. After her temperature shot up to 105 degrees, she was helicoptered to a hospital where she died at 12:35 a.m. on Dec. 8 of sepsis shock, according to DHS.
The statement from DHS also said the father told agents she had not been able to consume food or water for days, which the family denied in their own statement issued on Saturday. Border Patrol agents also claim the father signed a form which stated she was in good health, however, the form was in English, a language he does not speak or read. He was asked questions about the form in Spanish but he primarily speaks the Mayan Q’eqchi’ language.
The DHS Inspector General’s Office announced Friday it would be launching an investigation into Caal Maquin’s death. An unclassified government report obtained by ABC News stated more than 260 migrants had died crossing the southern border this year. According to the report, Caal Maquin was among four deaths in December. The Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Friday that the Trump administration is not responsible for Caal Maquin’s death and called for stricter immigration laws to disincentivize people from making the journey. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed that sentiment in an interview with Fox News on Friday, in which she said the incident, while tragic, could’ve been avoided had the girl and her father crossed legally. Politico
Migrants Left Waiting in Mexico Exposed to Danger
A new system for keeping asylum seekers waiting in Mexico before entering the U.S. is exposing them to extortion from cartel operatives and other criminals, as well as the possibility of kidnapping, experts say. Customs and Border Protection officials at ports of entry along the the Southern Border have “metering” arrivals, in which they turn back asylum seekers and make them wait in shelters in Mexico, often for weeks. The policy has turned Mexico effectively into a waiting room, straining border towns. There are reportedly 28 shelters housing around 4,000 migrants in difficult conditions in Tijuana. The Dallas Morning News, The Intercept
Difficult Decisions of Living in a Border Town
Roma, Texas is a common thoroughfare for migrants crossing the border into the U.S. Residents of the border town are regularly faced with a difficult decision: Should they help the migrants passing through or the agents trying to apprehend them? A reporter and photographer from The Los Angeles Times lived in Roma from July to October of this year and examined this question, finding it often divided families and neighbors. The town accounted for 41 percent of those caught crossing the border illegally in the last fiscal year and most of its residents have ties to Mexico. The Los Angeles Times
Nearly 50 Cambodian Immigrants Set to be Deported Monday
Dozens of Cambodian immigrants will be put a plane in El Paso, Texas and deported to Phnom Penh on Monday, in a push to deport more immigrants from the country, lawyers said. ICE figures show deportations to Cambodia increased 279 percent in fiscal year 2018. There are 1,855 Cambodian nationals with deportation orders against them, according to ICE. Cambodian immigrants have been deported in waves, roughly every four months, lawyers working on their cases said. Activists are hoping to pressure the airline responsible for transporting the deportees, Omni International Air, with a hashtag #StopOmni. BuzzFeed News
Washington — Stephen Miller Threatens Government Shutdown, Paul Ryan Offers Visas, Dreamer Loans Denied
Trump is “absolutely” willing to shut down the government in order to secure funding for his border wall, White House advisor and immigration hardliner Stephen Miller affirmed on Face the Nation on Sunday.
Miller is considered the architect behind some of the administration’s most strict and radical immigration policies. He said the Trump administration will do “whatever is necessary” get the wall built.
The president has requested $5 billion in the budget bill to fund building the border wall — a request Democrats have flatly denied. Funding the wall has become a recurring point of contention between two parties during every budget negotiation since Trump was elected following a campaign in which he promised Mexico would pay for it. The government faces a shutdown on Dec. 21 if it cannot reach an agreement.
And regardless, several Republican lawmakers who lost their seats in the midterms have stopped showing up to votes, leaving the GOP worried it can’t get legislation through anyway. CBS News, The New York Times
In his last move as Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan has pushed for legislation that could provide Irish immigrants with thousands of new work visaseach year. The law would give Irish immigrants access to the E-3 visas program, which allots 10,500 visas to Australians every year. Since Australians never reach their quota, the remaining visas would be open to Irish nationals. Ireland would reciprocate with additional visas for Americans as well. The bill has passed the House and looks set to pass the Senate next week, with only one senator reportedly blocking the bill. The move to give visas to a relatively wealthy country was met with criticism by some observers. Ryan is himself of Irish heritage. Politico, HuffPost
Beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often known as Dreamers, have reportedly been quietly denied government-insured home loans from lenders following unofficial guidance from the Trump administration. The administration has never formally announced the decision but DACA recipients, loan officers, realtors and industry associations said there had been a noticeable change. DACA recipients are reportedly being blocked from accessing Federal Housing Administration loans for low-income first time home buyers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is responsible for FHA distribution, would not comment on any rules regarding DACA recipients’ eligibility. BuzzFeed News
Pentagon officials said the number of troops at the southern border will decrease to about 3,000 in the coming days. These troops will likely remain at the border until January 31. This is a reduction from the 5,900 troops that were deployed at the peak of the border mission, which began during the height of the hysteria around the migrant caravan approaching the U.S. border. VOA