During his brief tenure as attorney general, Jeff Sessions attempted to cut funding from the federal government to so-called sanctuary cities across the United States. Roughly 18 months later, Newark and Middlesex County, two New Jersey areas threatened by the administration, have had no trouble receiving their federal funding for law enforcement programs.
Sessions sent letters to 29 cities, metro areas, states and counties with sanctuary policies, threatening to take away the funding. Many of those areas took the administration to court, which mostly took their side, and only Oregon hasn’t receive funds earmarked for it in 2017. Last summer, the U.S. Conference of Mayors also sued the government on behalf of its members and received a ruling in its favor.
The conference’s litigation is now focused on making its court injunction permanent and preventing the Justice Department from withholding 2018 funding in as well. The Justice Department is considering appealing in some of the cases. Associated Press
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Cuomo May Be Trying To Kill Immigrant Licenses Bill
While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has publicly supported granting licenses to immigrants, privately he worked against a bill that would grant them the opportunity to do so, according to a report from Gothamist. Over the past month Cuomo has reportedly called six Democratic state senators who represent Nassau and Suffolk Counties to tell them the should not support the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, which would allow the DMV to issue license to undocumented immigrants. Cuomo supposedly told the legislators that support for that legislation would damage them politically. Gothamist
NY Democrats Trying to Decriminalize Sex Work
New York Democrats are advocating for a state bill that would decriminalize sex work, which could have major effects for immigrants. More than 20 organizations have launched Decrim NY, a coalition seeking to decriminalize sex-trade related offenses, pass legislation that would create more protection for sex workers and vacate prostitution charges. State Sens. Julia Salazar and Jessica Ramos and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried announced their intention to introduce sex work decriminalization legislation Monday. Salazar noted some of her Brooklyn constituents were commonly charged with “loitering for the purposes of prostitution.” Salazar has been vocal about the immigration implications of prostitution policing, particularly with massage parlor raids. Salon
Immigrants Testify About Importance of Driver’s License Bill
Immigrants gathered in Middletown, New York on Saturday to share the importance of driver’s licenses and how their lives would be changed if the state allow undocumented people to have them as part of the Green Light NY campaign. Justin Minga, a 10-year-old boy shared the story of his uncle, who was pulled over by police on his way to work and detained because he didn’t have a license. “My mom and dad are also worried that this might happen to them, too, and I also get scared, like, when I see a police car,” Minga said. Times Herald-Record
Sexual Assault is Rampant Along Border
Migrant women and girls attempting to cross into the U.S. on the southern border are routinely the victims of sexual assault and rape, according to a new report from The New York Times. Many of those crimes go uninvestigated. Undocumented women make their way into border towns to be held and beaten by their smugglers, impregnated by strangers, coerced into prostitution and other grim fates. The New York Times found over 100 cases of sexual violence on the border through police reports and interviews with law enforcement, migrant women and other sources. The New York Times
Mexican Authorities Fear Overburdening
The U.S. plans to keep pushing Central American asylum seekers back to Mexico as they await court dates, and Mexican officials are worried it will overwhelm the country’s already underfunded shelter system. A U.S. official told Reuters that in the coming weeks, the U.S. plans to send more asylum seekers back across the border, possibly at the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border crossing. Yanira Esmeralda Chavez, a Salvadoran fruit seller and one of the first people sent back, said she is afraid of being in Mexico because “the crime here is like back home.” Reuters
Parents at the Border Demand Reunification
Parents deported to Central America gathered at the southern border Saturday to demand reunification with their children after being split during the summer’s separation crisis. A group of 29 parents traveled with religious leaders, immigration lawyers and others to call for their children to be returned. Some of the children are still detained, while others have been placed in foster care or with relatives. “Time doesn’t matter,” said Neri, a Guatemalan man “Our love for our child has no price.” The families have a collective 27 children in U.S. custody, and the youngest is 5 years old. NBC News
Advocacy Groups Say ICE is Detaining Children in Texas
A group of advocacy organizations, including the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Catholic Immigration Network, Inc. say Immigration and Customs Enforcement is still detaining migrant children and delaying their medical care. In a letter addressed to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, the advocates allege the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas is unable to “meet basic standards for care for minor non-citizens in its custody.” They say at least nine infants are being detained there, and parents add that their children are experiencing weight loss, change in feeding habits, illness and other issues. Splinter
Washington — Republicans Oppose Trump’s National Emergency, Gun Control Compromise, Harris’ ‘mistake’
Lawmakers opposed to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border appear to have won enough votes to block it after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday he cannot go along with the White House. The House already voted against the action. If the Senate follows suit, the measure will go up to Trump. He has promised to veto the bill, and Congress likely won’t have the votes to override his veto. Fox News Opinion
With the declaration, Trump is attempting to divert $3.6 billion from military construction to build border barriers after Congress denied his request for wall funding. “We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing,” Paul said. Three other Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — said they would vote “no” as well. They say it sets a precedent allowing Democratic presidents to make declarations for their own political goals. Members of Congress were also worried Trump would siphon money from state level projects. The Guardian
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was unhappy with fellow Democrats who backed a Republican gun control bill amendment that would alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement when undocumented people try to purchase a firearm. “ICE is a dangerous agency with (zero) accountability, widespread reporting of rape, abuse of power, and children dying in DHS custody. Having a D next to your name doesn’t make that right,” she tweeted on Saturday. Her comments came after26 Democrats voted for the amendment. NY Daily News
A 2008 policy in San Francisco alerted ICE when undocumented juveniles were arrested for felonies or minor crimes, and some juveniles were handed to ICE without being found guilty. 2020 hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was the city’s district attorney when it was implemented. “This was one of the worst human rights crises we saw in San Francisco in the last 30 years,” said Francisco Ugarte, the managing immigration attorney with San Francisco’s Public Defender’s Office. Shortly after the publication of a HuffPost article, a Harris campaign spokesperson told HuffPost the policy “was a mistake” and she “wouldn’t support something like it today.” HuffPost
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