The 16-member Complete Count Commission, tasked with ensuring an accurate count of New York state in next year’s census, got off to a rocky start. The commission received $20 million in funding in this year’s budget, a fraction of the funding it had hoped for, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not fill his spots in the group until two weeks after its first report was due in January.
Commissioner Esmeralda Simmons thought the state should earmark $60-80 million for community groups to reach hard-to-count communities. New York state libraries were also hoping for $20 million in funding to help New Yorkers fill out the census online. Yet Cuomo’s eventual appointee argued the allocation was sufficient.
The commission itself was supposed to recommend the budget allocation for the census, but it’s unclear how the administration arrived at the final figure. Times Union
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Driver’s License Campaign Focuses on Long Island Dems
A state legislature campaign to pass a driver’s licenses for all bill has zeroed in on six Democratic state senators on Long Island. The Democrat-controlled legislature in Albany was seen as an opportunity to pass the long-awaited legislation, but it has faltered as sources tell The City there is not a State Senate majority backing the deal. Democratic state senators on Long Island who ousted Republican incumbents are reportedly concerned about supporting the measure due to their tenuous political gains. Likewise, MS-13’s presence on Long Island has been a constant theme in Trump’s presidency, and used as a justification for his crackdown on immigrants. The City
Immigrant Defense Fund Survives in State Budget
The Liberty Defense Project, a state-funded program to provide free legal services to immigrants, received $10 million in this year’s state budget, surviving fears it would be cut. It appeared to be on the chopping block during budget negotiations in late March, sparking protests from advocate groups. The final budget continued funding the program for another year. Its resources for immigrants include legal support and health services at sites across the state, and proving attorneys to people who have been detained under prior orders of removal. New York Law Journal
New York Among 20 States to File Motion to Block Border Wall
New York state joined 19 other states in filing a motion on Friday to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration. On Twitter, New York Attorney General Letitia James said the president’s border wall is “unnecessary.” The president declared a national emergency on the southern border to trigger powers that allow him to divert money from the Pentagon to the Department of Homeland Security, funding construction of his border wall. Congress previously refused to include funding for the wall in the federal budget following the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history. Reuters
Feds Needs Up to 2 Years to Reunite Families
It could take up to 2 years for the government to reunite all the children who were separated from their parents due to Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, government lawyers said in court documents filed on Friday. A federal judge in an ongoing lawsuit that ordered the government to reunite the families identified an Inspector General report, which found thousands more children than previously known may have been separated from their families before the policy was formally announced. The government said there were about 47,000 children referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement during that time period. The New York Times
Students Face Criminal Charges After Border Patrol Protest
Two University of Arizona students who were criminally charged for protesting border patrol said they’ve been harassed by the police. The university filed charges for “interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution” after the students held on-campus protest at a student club event where border patrol agents were giving a presentation. One of the students said their phones were seized by the police while the other said police showed up at her mother’s home. The university’s president praised border patrol officers in his original letter announcing the charges. The Guardian
Arkansas Senate Votes to Ban Sanctuary Cities
The Arkansas Senate voted on Friday to prohibit “sanctuary cities,” despite there being none in the state. The law prohibits states from declining to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and threatens to cut off funding if they do so. The bill also prohibits cities from blocking local law enforcement from asking about someone’s immigration or citizenship status. The bill’s main backer, State Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R), said it was a proactive measure to ward off any cities considering sanctuary laws. A similar ban exits in Texas and is being considered in Florida. The bill now heads to the Republican controlled House. Associated Press
Motel 6 Pays $12 Million to Customers in Washington
The owners of Motel 6 have agreed to pay $12 million to customers in Washington state after state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a suit against the chain for giving ICE agents their guest lists, containing about 80,000 names, between 2015 and 2017. The lawsuit was launched after the Phoenix New Times exposed how Motel 6 properties in Phoenix were working with ICE. The hotel chain had already paid $7.6 million to victims at the Phoenix properties. Anyone whose information was turned over to ICE, who was interrogated, or who was placed in removal proceedings during the time period covered by the lawsuit is eligible for money. Phoenix New Times
Remain in Mexico Policy Quietly Grows
Asylum seekers hoping to enter the U.S. are continuing to be turned away under the government’s Remain in Mexico policy. The directive forces immigrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum cases are adjudicated, which could take years. Since January, 633 Central American asylum seekers had been turned away because they were unable to prove they had sufficient fear of being tortured or persecuted in Mexico. Migrants must travel across the border for their court hearings, but obtaining a lawyer from Mexico is difficult. The policy has been steadily growing since it began in January. The New York Timesnull
Washington — Nielsen’s Out, Trump Says US is Full, Third Judge Strikes Down Citizenship Question
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned on Sunday after a tumultuous tenure running the agency. CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will replace her in an acting capacity. The news came as a surprise on Sunday, but rumors of Nielsen’s departure had been floating for months as Trump has repeatedly blamed her for what he sees as failed border policies.
Neilsen’s departure is reportedly part of a broader reshuffle by Trump adviser Stephen Miller. The president withdrew his nomination for ICE chief Ron Vitiello on Thursday, apparently opting for a tougher candidate. It’s unclear whether Nielsen decided to leave voluntarily or she was pushed out, but her resignation reportedly came at the end of a discussion with Trump about the situation on the Southern Border. CBS News
The resignation also came two days after Nielsen travelled to the border with Trump, where he declared “our country is full” and insisted the immigration system was overburdened due to illegal border crossings. The president participated in a briefing at Calexico before viewing a barrier along the border — one that was planned before he came to office. Associated Press
A third judge has dealt another blow to the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Maryland U.S. District Judge George Hazel found the decision to add the question was unlawful due to “unreasonableness” of the government and the “deficient process” that led to its inclusion. He agreed with federal judges in New York and California that the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add the question violated administrative law. NPR
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