New Measure Could Save 9000 People from Detention per Year
A recent change to the state budget legislation could have substantial impact in immigrant communities. The One Day to Protect New Yorkers Act changes the maximum sentence for Class A misdemeanors from 365 to 364 days. These convictions will no longer throw them into automatic deportation proceedings. State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who co-sponsored the bill, says it should help keep 9,000 New Yorkers in the country per year. This won’t protect all immigrants from deportation proceedings, but rather immigrants who run the risk of criminal statuses stripping their immigration status away. WBFO
Driver’s Licenses Proposal Gaining Steam
If New York State approves a measure to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants, Niagara County Clerk Joe Jastrzemski says his office won’t process the applications. “If any illegal alien comes to us for a driver’s license, I’m going to send them to the state,” Jastrzemski said. The closest state run DMV is over 100 miles away. Despite this resistance, the push to provide immigrants licenses is gaining steam and a vote could happen this summer. In the 63-member Senate, two dozen members are co-sponsors of the legislation. Other Sens. say they’re open to supporting the measure. The State Association of County Clerks has not announced a position on the measure, despite the opposition of some of its constituents. Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Brooklyn DA Holds Immigration Fraud Reporting
EventBrooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez held an event on Monday night to help immigrants report crimes in a safe environment. The event, called “office hours,” was co-hosted by the Safe Horizon Immigration Law Project and will be held every other Monday. The goal is to rekindle immigrants’ confidence in the district attorney’s office, which has seen a sharp decline in calls to its hotline, about 75 percent in one year. This distrust could be caused by a sharp increase in ICE activity in New York City’s courthouses, which grew 1700 percent in recent years. Three people showed up to the event on Monday to report crimes and to ask about immigration issues. The Brooklyn Eagle
ICE Intelligence Gathering Capability Grows
ICE’s intelligence gathering capabilities are growing as it moves closer to the intelligence arm of the DHS, according to a letter from a top intelligence official. David Glawe, DHS’ undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, wrote in a letter to Congress late last year that the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis is “providing improved and enhanced intelligence capabilities” to ICE and CBP. What that means exactly is unclear. A spokesperson for the DHS didn’t respond to the revelations. The Daily Beast
Public Charge Denials Affect Visa Applicants Overseas
Arturo Balbino was confident when he walked into the American consulate in Ciudad Juarez , Mexico in March. He has a wife and children who are U.S. citizens and a letter from an employer guaranteeing him a $18-per-hour job in the U.S. A consular officer denied his application and told him he could become a drain on U.S. taxpayers by requiring public assistance programs. More immigrants are being denied visas based on the the potential they could become a “public charge.” Lawyers say these denials are increasingly happening from State Department workers, parallel to the DHS’ similar plan to deny immigrants visas on the public charge grounds. Reuters
FOIA Request Shows USCIS Green Card Vetting Process
It takes years to get a green card processed, but much of that process happens behind closed doors. One reporter filed an information request with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain all of the information the government collected on him during the process. The agency shared 561 pages of documents, with many redactions in the file, as well as nearly a decade’s worth of photos taken by border officials. The photos are tagged with the Border Patrol’s Customer Profile Management Service, the agency’s management tool. The Identity Verification Tool is used to confirm the traveler’s identity and includes any “derogatory” information that might flag a problem in the case. Tech Crunch
A Growing Number of H-1B applicants have Master’s Degrees
New data from USCIS shows that an increasingly number of H-1B applicants have a U.S. master’s degree. About 52 percent of applicants have a degree, more than double the rate of applicants in 2015. That has been increasing as immigrants and their employers anticipate the administration’s increasingly strict policies that prioritize people who have graduate degrees. Master’s degree candidates are being selected at a higher rate as well: 63 percent of H-1B recipients in fiscal year 2020 have master’s degrees, up from 56 percent the previous year. recode
Undocumented Immigrants Pay Billions in Taxes
It’s tax week and Americans across the country are scrambling to get their filings and extensions in. Despite popular political discourse, many undocumented immigrants are taxpayers alongside U.S. born and naturalized citizens. According to The National Immigration Law Center, among many reasons, undocumented immigrants pay taxes to show they’re complying with federal tax laws, to demonstrate “good moral character” if they have an opportunity to legalize their status and tax returns document work history and presence in the U.S. Many undocumented immigrants use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, which account for $13.6 billion in taxes. CNN
New Trump Policy Targets African Visa Holders, Bernie Sanders Details Immigration Policy, Democrats Request Information about Sanctuary City Release Plan
Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration is considering placing travel restrictions on countries whose citizens have a high rate of overstaying their visas. The new rule would primarily target African countries, including Chad, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Eritrea, Liberia, Somalia and South Sudan. Despite having high rates of visa overstays, the total migration numbers from each of those countries is small. The total Somalis who overstayed their visas in 2017 was just 24 people.
The country with the highest number of visa overstays in the group was Burkina Faso, which had 691 in 2017. Many countries outside of the proposed group had far more visa overstays. Brazil, had an overstay rate of 1.87 percent but had over 33,000 people stayed past their visas expiration. In total, the citizens from the 15 countries with the highest overstay rates were less that 1 percent of the total overstays. There were 701,900 total and just 5,412 from those 15 countries.
“I think it’s a deliberate attempt to continue to paint that picture—because that’s what makes people upset,” said Patrice Lawrence, the national policy and advocacy director for the UndocuBlack Network. “The reasons keep changing about why it is that they want to keep people out. And that’s because there is no honest reason, except racism and xenophobia. They don’t want people in this country who have any adjacency to black or brown people.” Pacific Standard
Sen. Bernie Sanders said one of his immigration policies includes “building proper facilities right on the border,” to house migrants waiting for their hearings. Sanders also said the U.S. should hire hundreds of new immigration judges to expedite clearing the backlog. Earlier in the month, the presidential candidate said opening the Mexico border opens the country to “a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world.” Sanders has also called for the U.S. to have “comprehensive immigration reform,” said migrants should not be demonized for seeking asylum and talked about restructuring ICE. HuffPost
Top Democrats in the House of Representatives are demanding the White House and DHS release documents related to the Trump administration’s plan to release detained immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities. The Democrats, which include Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings and Bennie G. Thompson, are asking for emails between the White House and DHS officials as well as any documents “discussing policy or legal justifications or implications” for the plan. “Not only does the Administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the President and senior Administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons,” wrote the representatives. CNBC
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