About a dozen employees at New York golf club owned by President Trump were fired two weeks ago due to their immigration status, their lawyer said.
The employees were called into human resources one by one at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County on Jan. 18. Last year, The New York Times revealed that undocumented workers at Trump’s New Jersey golf club were also fired.
Despite the administration’s view on immigration, the president had relied on undocumented laborers. Some of the employees let go had been working at the club for more than a decade, and one was trusted enough to have keys to Eric Trump’s home at the course. The Washington Post
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Lack of Medical Care in Immigrant Detention, Health Care Professionals Say
Health care professionals criticized the medical care conditions in immigrant detention during a panel discussion on Thursday. Representatives from the New York State Health Foundation said in New York area detention facilities, there’s been a lack of access to blood pressure medication and pregnancy care. The panel included Laura F. Redman and Lauren Quijano of the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and Joseph Shin of the Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Quijano said she and about 60 physicians have started a campaign to raise awareness about the conditions in detention facilities. Crain’s New York
Border Patrol Looks for Evidence to Back Up Trump Claim
Two weeks after Trump claimed women were gagged with tape by human traffickers, a Border Patrol official emailed agents to ask if they had “any information” to prove the claim was actually true, according to emails seen by Vox. The email appears to have been sent on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. It also linked to a Washington Post article questioning the claim. According to the Post, as of Friday, Trump has made the claim that women are gagged while being smuggled across the border 10 times in 22 days. Vox
Texas Officials Flag Tens of Thousands for Citizenship Checks
The Texas Secretary of State’s office said it would have counties check 95,000 names to see they are citizens and legally eligible to vote. The names come from a list of registered voters who had used a document that indicated they were not a citizen, such as work visa or green card, when obtaining a driver’s license. Counties may now choose to investigate the eligibility of the individuals listed. Lawmakers in Texas may consider new regulations that would require proof of citizenship to register to vote, a move that has been rejected by the Supreme Court and several federal courts. Texas Tribune
Border Patrol Struggles to Meet Hiring Targets
President Trump signed orders to hire 15,000 new border agents not long after he was inaugurated. Two years later, the administration has spent tens of millions of dollars in the effort, but has thousands more vacancies it had than when it started. The agency allocated $60.7 million to a consulting firm as part of a $297-million contract to recruit, vet and hire 7,500 border officers over five years, but the company has only hired 33 people so far. Border Patrol registered its first net employment gain in five years in 2018, adding a net total of 120 agents. The Los Angeles Times
Denver School District Apologizes for Threatening Immigrant Teachers
Denver’s local teacher’s union voted this week to hold a district-wide walkout to demand better pay. On Thursday, the Colorado People’s Alliance, a racial justice organization, posted a letter from a district human resources employee to a school stating that teachers on H–1B and J–1 visas who join the strike will be reported to immigration enforcement authorities and the U.S. Department of State. “If they have a pending case and choose to strike, this could impact the decision on the case,” the letter stated. The district said the email was an error caused by a misinterpretation of information they received from an immigration firm. The Denver Post
Mexican President’s Pro-Immigrant Stance Encourages Migrants to Stay
New policies from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are encouraging migrants to stay in Mexico instead of heading to the U.S. As Trump’s border crackdown is making it more difficult to claim asylum, many members of the migrant caravan of over 12,000 people are saying they intend to remain in Mexico, at least temporarily. The new Mexican president has decided to drastically speed up the process for securing a yearlong humanitarian visa, which allows migrants to travel and work in Mexico. Obrador hopes to use ambitious public works projects to create jobs for migrants. The New York Times
Washington — Border Wall Could Force Another Shutdown, National Emergency
In rare retreat, Trump agreed to sign a budget bill without funding for construction of a border wall on the U.S.–Mexico border.
The government will be reopened for three weeks until Feb. 15 while negotiations on an immigration deal continue. Trump warned, however, if no deal was reached, there could be another shutdown or he may follow through on his threat to declare a national emergency to build the wall.
800,000 federal workers will receive back pay for the two paychecks they missed while the government was shut down. Trump’s announcement came after air traffic controllers called in sick and slowed air traffic across the northeast, with flights into and out of LaGuardia airport restricted. Federal contractors will not receive back pay.
The deal is victory for Democrats. The leadership now appears ready to make significant concessions on border security that do not include a border wall. Meanwhile, the president’s allies and former aides told Politico they were furious over the president’s retreat. Conservative activists are worried a failure to build the wall could spell doom for the president in 2020. Politico, The New York Times
The Mexican government has said it does not agree with the new U.S. policy of forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their asylum applications make their way through the courts, but it will accept asylum seekers anyway. The government said the plan, which started Friday, was undertaken by the U.S. unilaterally. They had three meetings with the American officials since Dec. 20 when the plan was announced, the Mexican government said. Department of Homeland Security officials said asylum seekers who are returned to Mexico will have their applications adjudicated within a year, which is a difficult task given the severe backlog in immigration court. Unaccompanied children will not be turned back. The New York Times