Shortly after the New York Wheel ferris wheel project imploded, a group of Chinese EB-5 investors who had heavily backed it began wondering what it meant for their immigration status.
EB-5 is an investment program that provides green cards to foreign investors who create jobs. The Wheel was one of the biggest EB-5 backed projects, and its Chinese investors lit up WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app, to discuss the failure and potential lawsuits.
There has been a spike of litigation around EB-5 investor visas due to a backlog at USCIS. That’s also created a rush of EB-5 focused chatrooms on WeChat, where admins vet members and people put their project ID’s in their usernames. The Real Deal
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The Trials of Being Undocumented and Turning 18
Thousands of young immigrants in New York were left in limbo last year when the Trump administration decided to prevent immigrants aged 18-21 from accessing Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. One of those immigrants was Diego, a 20-year old Salvadoran who joined his mother on Long Island over fears of being recruited by a gang in San Salvador. He was denied SIJS due to the Trump administration’s new rule. Immigrants become eligible for SIJS if a state juvenile court rules they need the court to appoint a guardian. New York’s juvenile courts have the authority to do so until a person is 21, but last year the Trump administration decided that the court’s authority ended when a person turned 18, rejecting all cases of those older. Yet everything changed again in March when a judge ruled the new rule was illegal and ordered the Trump administration to review all the applicants who were rejected. That includes Diego. Read more at Documented.
Councilmembers Slam Trump Admin’s Housing Policy
The City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus denounced on Friday a new initiative by the Trump administration to kick undocumented immigrants out of public housing. Under the Trump administration’s new rule, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would compel the New York City Housing Authority to conduct background checks on people’s immigration or citizenship status to determine their eligibility. HUD argues this will reduce the backlog of people who want public housing. City councilmembers slammed the measure and vowed to oppose it, potentially by introducing rules prohibiting cooperation between NYCHA and immigration enforcement authorities. Kings County Politics
Texas Settles in Voter Fraud Lawsuits
Texas Secretary of State David Whitley rescinded on Friday a controversial measure to review the citizenship status of close to 100,000 registered voters in a purported effort to stamp out voter fraud. A federal judge blocked the measure in February, finding it unfairly targeted naturalized citizens. Whitley’s office had issued a list of 98,000 names and told local officials to confirm the citizenship status of the people listed. Days later, his office admitted 25,000 of those names were added by mistake. The process sparked a number of lawsuits, which will now all be settled with the state owing $450,000 to plaintiffs in legal fees. The New York Times
Florida Passes No-Sanctuary Bill
Florida’s state Senate passed a bill Friday that bans so-called sanctuary policies anywhere in the state. Under the bill, the state, where one in five residents are immigrants, would compel all local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement or face “action by the governor.” The bill passed in a 22-18 vote, with all Democrats voting against it. The state’s House had already passed the bill earlier in the week, and now it only awaits the signature of Republica Gov. Ron DeSantis. There were no cities in the state that considered themselves “sanctuary cities” before the bill arose. HuffPost
Border Patrol Increases Use of Biometric Scanners
Border Patrol officials have upped the amount biometric data they now take from children under 13. A new pilot program would, with a parent’s permission, collect fingerprints and other more invasive data from young minors. This program came in tandem with a new “rapid DNA pilot program” reportedly in the works. Both moves seem to be in response to the government’s argument that some migrant groups are posing as families to gain faster access to the U.S. The number of families crossing the border has surged this year, but there is little data on this kind of fraud. Civil liberties group argue the catch-all approach to collecting fingerprints could harm immigrants’ privacy down the line. Associated Press
Transgender Woman Detained by ICE, One Week After Release
A Honduran transgender woman was detained by ICE just after the ACLU sued for her release a week prior. Nicole Garcia Aguilar was granted asylum in October 2018 after she fled Honduras amid death threats, sexual assault and attempted murder. ICE kept her detained for seven months despite the asylum ruling, but she was released April 17 after her lawyers sued. A week later, Garcia went to an ICE office to obtain paperwork that would allow her to travel and was detained again. The reason for her detention is unclear, but ICE’s appeal against her asylum decision was upheld and her case is now back in immigration court. The Guardian
Construction Begins on New Tent Cities to House Migrants
Construction crews have descended on the area surrounding El Paso, Texas as work begins on tent cities to house more detained migrants. The frames of two large tents could be seen last week, which are expected to hold up to 500 migrants total. CBP recently faced intense scrutiny after it chose to house hundreds of migrants under a bridge on the border crossing between Juarez and El Paso. Deployed Resources LLC of Rome, New York was awarded the contract to construct the two temporary facilities in El Paso. The Guardian
Washington — Ending Family Separation was a ‘Disaster,’ Says Trump, Military at the Border, 1,600 Sent Back to Mexico
Trump on Sunday woefully reminisced about his decision to end family separation, which he claimed former administrations had done and that it led to fewer people coming to the U.S.
Speaking to Maria Bartiromo on Fox News, Trump said ending the government’s zero tolerance policy was a “disaster” and that “it’s like Disneyland now” for families coming across the border. He also complained about lawyers, whom he compared to Perry Mason, getting in the way of removing people from the country.
The Pentagon is set to expand its military operation at the southern border by altering rules that prevent troops from interacting with migrants entering the U.S. The DoD will approve a DHS request to let military lawyers, cooks and drivers to help with the increase in migrants crossing the border, expanding on a previously waived policy that allowed medical personnel to help with the surge. Close to 3,000 troops remain at the border. The soldiers will bus immigrants around and provide snacks and refreshments. Military lawyers will also work under ICE to prosecute cases in immigration court. The Washington Post
More than 1,600 migrants have been sent to Mexico to wait for their asylum claims to be processed, DHS said on Friday. The Migrant Protection Protocols requires some migrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum cases are adjudicated, which could take years. The policy is currently being litigated in the 9th Circuit, which heard oral arguments last week. CNN
Republican states with high numbers of immigrants remain behind the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the census, despite the likelihood that it will hurt their states’ congressional representation and federal funding. The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in a lawsuit aimed at blocking the question, and its conservative justices seemed ready to back the addition. Associated Press