On Tuesday morning, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the surprise announcement that the city will be launching its own municipal health plan to connect uninsured New Yorkers, including the undocumented, with managed, low-cost healthcare. The new program, dubbed NYC Care, is expected to be rolled out in the Bronx this summer and be fully implemented in the five boroughs by 2021.
The plan appears to be very similar to an initiative that Documented first reported on in December, which city officials and members of the City Council had embraced but the mayor appeared to have shunned. De Blasio appears to have changed his mind and chosen to have his administration implement the plan on its own, surprising some proponents. The initiative would look a lot like a previous pilot program known as ActionHealth NYC, which gave undocumented immigrant a primary care provider and specialty referrals and was deemed a success in its government-commissioned report.
The program wouldn’t be insurance per se, which undocumented immigrants are generally not eligible for. It would be a managed health plan that would use the city’s existing public hospital system — which is already mandated to provide care for walk-in and emergency care patients regardless of immigration status — and create a framework that ensures the uninsurable would have a standardized system for seeking care.
Read more at NBC 4.
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Long Island School Resource Officers Under Fire
A New York Times Magazine/ProPublica story detailed the arrest and deportation of a teenaged former student at Huntington High School in Suffolk County, Long Island, partly based on information compiled by a local school resource officer. Local residents and community groups have questioned whether officers can transfer information to federal immigration authorities under ICE’s Operation Matador, which launched in 2017 to identify local gang members in Long Island. Local groups have contended that teens with no gang affiliation, mostly from Central America, have ended up in hot water based on the inexpert observations of school cops. Newsday
NJ Voters Support Drivers License Bill
New Jersey lawmakers are moving to establish a dual driver license system for the state, enjoying support among both Democrats and Republicans. The system would create one tier of licenses compliant with the federal REAL ID Act and another tier for the undocumented and anyone without necessary documentation for the first. An independent poll commissioned by the Let’s Drive NJ campaign, which is pushing for the licenses, showed 54 percent of voters out of 561 surveyed supported the legislation. Driving without a license is one of the main ways undocumented people are noticed by law enforcement and ICE; licenses also allow drivers to enroll in car insurance. The North Jersey Record
Attorneys Allege Racist Animus in Haiti TPS Trial
The plaintiffs in Saget et al v. Trump et al, the lawsuit currently seeking to overturn the Trump administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, are alleging the decision was motivated by “racist animus” at the highest levels of the federal government. In court, attorneys for the plaintiffs brought up remarks by President Donald Trump, who at different times reportedly said Haitians “all have AIDS,” that Haiti is a “shithole country,” and asked “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.” The plantiffs include several Haitian TPS holders based in New York and Florida, as well as a Haitian newspaper and community organization. New York Daily News
CBP’s Expansive Search and Surveillance Practices
Internal Customs and Border Protection documents obtained by the ACLU detail what CBP believes to be its authorities to patrol, surveil, stop and search individuals near the border or even in cities with international airports. The documents include accepted rationales for stopping a vehicle, including if the vehicle is close to the border, if its occupants appear dirty, if the driver does not look at the agent and if the driver looks at the agent too much. The documents also show CBP believes it can patrol private land and question anyone it encounters within 25 miles of the border, which includes the entire city of New York. The Intercept
Shutdown Wreaking Havoc in Immigration Court
The ongoing government shutdown is causing the mass rescheduling of non-detained immigration court hearings, which are already typically heavy in January following the holidays. Given the existing backlog of immigration cases, some asylum-seekers and other applicants have already been waiting years for a hearing. There is no mechanism to fast-track rescheduled cases, meaning that most are being sent to the very back of the line to potentially wait more years for their hearings. Attorneys whose clients have had long-awaited hearings cancelled have almost no information on how their cases will now proceed. The Daily Beast
Six Non-U.S. Persons Stopped at Southern Border in First Half of Fiscal 2018 Were on Watchlist
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed “4,000” potential immigrants had been stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2018 and been found to be on a watchlist of known or suspected terrorists. But numbers reported by CBP to Congress showed only six non-U.S. persons on the watchlist were stopped from October 2017 through March 2018. Another 35 stopped during the same time period were all U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, and 91 people, including 41 non-U.S. persons, were actually stopped at the northern border. The watchlist itself is notoriously rife with errors and unsubstantiated claims of potential terrorist activity. NBC News
Border Communities See No CrisisDespite the constant rhetoric from the president about a supposed border catastrophe, border regions on the American side see no cause for alarm. The only troubles come as a result the administration’s own actions in handling asylum seekers, they say. Border communities in California and Arizona have had to contend with federal immigration authorities dropping off formerly detained asylum seekers at bus stations and on the street, forcing local governments and community groups to accommodate them. The government’s refusal to expeditiously process asylum seekers arriving at ports of entry has also created refugee camps in Mexican cities like Tijuana. The New York Times
Surveillance of Immigrants Continues
Sophisticated surveillance tools continue to be deployed by federal immigration authorities for civil immigration enforcement. While agencies such as ICE and CBP try to keep their operations shrouded in secrecy, contract information and requests for proposals reveal how they have adopted aggressive monitoring tools, including biometric facial recognition technology, StingRay cell site simulators — which mimic commercial cellular towers to hoover up information from unsuspecting phone users — and automatic license plate readers, which essentially create a record of everywhere a potential target has driven. So far, attempts to exert oversight and regulate these surveillance technologies have mostly been undertaken at the local level. Pacific Standard
Washington — Trump’s Fact-Challenged Speech, Shutdown Continues, GOP Senators Skittish
The president gave a much-touted primetime address from the Oval Office last night. Despite
The president gave a much-touted primetime address from the Oval Office last night. Despite expectations he might declare a national emergency to appropriate funds for his desired border wall, Trump mostly rehashed old themes connecting immigrants with drugs and crime on a tenuous factual basis. For a couple of minutes, the president merely read a list of heinous crimes allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants, and reiterated his demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. Read the transcript.
The partial government shutdown triggered by Trump’s demand for border wall funding is now the second-longest in U.S. history, having dragged on for three weekswith no capitulation by Trump in sight. Some GOP senators are already backing away from a firm commitment to continue with the shutdown in its current form, with several saying they would be open to passing resolutions to open specific parts of the government back up. CNN
Meanwhile, Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, the bane of his party’s progressive base, floated the idea of exchanging wall funding for a vote on a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that has been stalled in Congress since 2013. The Hill
Behind Trump during his primetime address was a framed photo of his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, who immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1929 at the age of 17 and worked as a domestic worker. The Cut