fbpx Early Arrival: Federal Trial on Haitians TPS Status Ends, Plaintiffs Wait for Decision - Documented

Early Arrival: Federal Trial on Haitians’ TPS Status Ends, Plaintiffs Wait for Decision

Monday's Edition of Early Arrival: IDNYC Payment Cards Raise Concern Among Immigrant Rights Groups — Tornillo Migrant Camp to Shut Down after Releasing Last Child — Trump Suggests Path to Citizenship for H-1B Visa Holders

Mazin Sidahmed

Jan 14, 2019

Credit: Eileen Grench

Credit: Eileen Grench

The trial over the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Temporary Protected Status for thousands of Haitians in the U.S. ended on Friday. Plaintiffs will now wait for a judge’s decision in the case, Saget et al v Trump, which is expected after March 1 and will determine the fate of 50,000 Haitian TPS holders.

TPS is a designation that can be assigned to a country in the wake of a natural disaster, conflict or extraordinary condition, allowing its citizens to stay in the U.S. The Trump administration terminated the TPS status of Haiti and several Central American countries over the past year. The terminations were met with a number of lawsuits with last week’s being the first to reach trial.

The government’s lawyers argued that the Department of Homeland Security was within its rights to terminate TPS for Haiti, which received the designation in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake. The plaintiffs argued that the government did not follow due process in carrying out the termination. The decision to terminate was also rooted in the president’s “racially discriminatory attitude toward all brown and black people,” they also allege.

In their closing arguments, plaintiffs’ attorneys showed internal emails and cables from State Department officials that argued against terminating TPS status for Haiti. The Miami Herald, The Haitian Times

Read more about the trial at Documented

Hello, I’m Mazin Sidahmed with today’s edition of Early Arrival. You can email me at mazin.sidahmed@documentedny.com.  

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IDNYC Payment Cards Raise Concern Among Immigrant Rights Groups

A proposal to add a banking chip to New York City ID cards has alarmed many immigrant rights groups who think the cards could put undocumented immigrants who use them at risk. The ID was made with the support of rights groups in New York City, seeing as it’s one of the only ways undocumented people can attain a government-issued ID. Supporters are now blasting the mayor’s office for Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson’s proposal. Thompson’s previous ties to MasterCard are also in question, seeing as he wrote a report for the company on how to increase access to banking in underserved community. NY Daily News

Hundreds of Thousands of New Yorkers Could be Harmed by Public Charge Rule: Study

The decision by the Trump administration to expand the public charge rule could affect 400,000 to 700,000 New Yorkers, a recent study by Columbia University’s Population Research Center and the Robin Hood Foundation. Surveys found “15 percent of non-citizens have avoided public programs, and 30 percent of non-citizens have avoided a wide range of daily activities because they do not want to be asked about their immigration status,” the study says. The public charge rule prevented people who were likely to become reliant on government assistance from obtaining green cards or entry to the U.S., and the Trump administration has proposed expanding it. The Nation

Legislators Welcome Health Care for Undocumented Caribbean immigrants, Jamaica Observer


Tornillo Migrant Camp to Shut Down after Releasing Last Child

The notorious migrant camp in Tornillo, Texas will shut down, its operators said Friday. BCFS Health and Human Services, the nonprofit contracted to run the sprawling tent city, announced that all equipment will be removed from the site by the end of January. The government said all children held at the camp for migrant teenagers have either been released to sponsors or transferred to other camps. The camp was set up to hold an influx of minor detainees due to family separation. At its peak, the encampment held more than 2,700 children. A Trump rule change in December allowed more of these children to go home with sponsors. Associated Press

GoFundMe to Refund Border $20 Million in Donations to Build the Wall

The pledge to raise $1 billion to build Trump’s border wall failed to reach its goal, so its donations will be returned, GoFundMe announced Friday. Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee who received a Purple Heart while serving in Iraq, launched the page a month ago and it quickly went viral. Since the money could not be given to the federal government, Kolfage said donors could either receive a refund or give their money to We Build The Wall Inc., a nonprofit he established. NBC News reported the campaign appeared to be a front for an elaborate email harvesting effort by Kolfage. The Washington Post

Government Approves Thousands of Requests for Child Brides

Thousands of petitions for men to bring their child brides into the U.S. were approved by the federal government over the past decade, The Associated Press revealed Friday. Nearly 3,000 visa petitions for children seeking to sponsor adult spouses between 2007 and 2017 were approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and more than 5,000 adults petitions on behalf of minors were approved. The revelations raise questions about the government’s role in forced marriages, as it is legal for a child bride to sponsor her spouse. Associated Press

Migrant Caravan Member Killed in Honduras After U.S. Sent Him Back

A Honduran man was gunned down in his hometown in December after being deported from America. Nelson Espinal had travelled 3,000 miles north with the migrant caravan that captured national attention last year, seeing as he feared for his life in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He made it across the border where he hoped to apply for asylum, but he was rejected, sent back to Honduras and killed a week after he returned. The Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University says more than 70 people have been murdered after being deported in recent years. The Guardian

Afghan Military Interpreter Detained in Texas Airport After Visa Revoked Mid-Flight

An Afghan translator who worked with the U.S. military has been detained at a Houston airport since Thursday due a discrepancy with his visa. According to his attorneys, Mohammad Asif Motawakil’s visa was revoked mid-flight. Customs and Border Protection did not provide reasons for his detention, but he did reportedly present medical records in an unsealed envelope, violating State Department rules. Afghan and Iraqi translators who worked with the military are entitled to special immigrant visas if they can prove their lives are in danger. Motawakil’s wife and children were released on humanitarian parole after being detained for 24 hours. Houston Chronicle

Deaths of 2 Children in Immigration Custody Highlight Language Barriers Along the Border, Arizona Daily Star

Push On, Stay or Leave? Dilemma for Migrants at the U.S. Border, The New York Times [Video]

ICE Put El Paso on the Brink of a Humanitarian Crisis, The Nation

Washington — No End in Sight for Longest Shutdown in U.S. History, Trump Suggests Path to Citizenship for H-1B Visa Holders Without Details

The government shutdown dragged into yet another weekend, making it the longest in U.S. history. And there’s no clear end to the fight over the Trump’s border wall in sight.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he urged the president to reopen the government for several weeks before following through on his threat to call a national emergency to build the wall. Calling a national emergency would give Trump access to military construction and disaster relief funding without the need for congressional approval.

The White House is demanding $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall be included in any budget bill to reopen the government, which Democrats refuse to concede to. Trump told Fox News he was giving Congress a chance to “act responsibly” before calling a national emergency.

Meanwhile, 800,000 federal workers continue to go unpaid. Some have been forced to continue working without pay, such as the Border Patrol agent and CBP officer who flanked the president during his recent trip to the border. Around 85 percent of workers in the Department of Homeland Security, which houses CBP and most immigration enforcement agencies, are currently furloughed or working with pay on hold. Despite Trump’s claim that federal workers back the shutdown, unions representing DHS workers have said that’s not true. Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, CNN

Trump surprised onlookers on Friday when he tweeted that H-1B visa holders could soon have a path to citizenship. “H1-B [sic] holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship,” he wrote.

The visa program offers 65,000 employment visas via a lottery system for companies to hire workers each year, plus an additional 20,000 for applicants with U.S. master’s degrees. The tweet is counter to current policy trends, as there have been several moves by USCIS to tighten access to H-1Bs. The tweet could be in reference to a DHS proposal from late last year that would see advanced degree holders prioritized, but it did not reference a path to citizenship. Politico

Mazin Sidahmed

Mazin Sidahmed is the co-executive director of Documented. He previously worked for the Guardian US in New York. He started his career writing for The Daily Star in Beirut and he also contributed to Politico New York.




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