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Early Arrival: Queens Attorney Sentenced for Asylum Fraud

Friday’s Edition of Early Arrival: NYS Agency Notifies ICE of Previously Deported Immigrants — Judge Rules Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” Policy Can Continue — Dems Discuss Changes to Dream Act

Andreea Dumitru, a Queens immigration attorney, was sentenced on Wednesday to five years in prison for filing over 100 fraudulent asylum applications.

Dumitru filed applications for clients between 2013 and 2017. She fabricated narratives of personal persecution, criminal records and travel histories, among other information. Dumitru formerly helped manage over 800 taxi medallions, including some owned by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen.

Dumitru was also ordered to pay $157,500 as a penalty and cooperate with the state Attorney General’s office in investigations against Evgeny Friedman, also known as the Taxi King. She once served as Friedman’s chief financial officer, and Friedman pleaded guilty to tax fraud last year. NY Daily News

Hello, I’m Mazin Sidahmed with today’s edition of Early Arrival. You can email me at mazin.sidahmed@documentedny.com.

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New York State Agency Notifies ICE When it Encounters Previously Deported Immigrants

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services forwards information about some immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to documents obtained by Documented. DCJS spokesman Justin Mason recently said that “any assertion that DCJS is somehow willfully feeding information to ICE in order to assist with deportations is simply false.” Yet documents show that DCJS started notifying ICE of when the state had arrested people who had previously been deported in 2005. They also showed that the agency forwards fingerprints from law enforcement around the state to ICE’s Law Enforcement Support Center, and aided in other data collection, including updating criminal history records to include deportation history information. Janine Kava, the director of public information for DCJS, confirmed to Documented that the agency still notifies ICE when they have a previously deported person in their custody because “reentering the country after being deported is a federal crime.” State Sen. Luis Sepúlveda (D) said he is “going to explore what action we can take legislatively” against the sharing. Read more at Documented.

Yemenis Still Struggle Under Travel Ban

Sadek Ahmed has been waiting for three years for his wife’s visa to arrive as she remains in Yemen due to President Trump’s travel ban. Ahmed lives in New York with his two sons, Mutaz and Ade. The family hopes the Trump administration will grant them a much-coveted visa waiver, which allows people from nations under the ban to travel to the U.S. These waivers are supposed to be granted for people who do not “threaten national security.” Yet advocates say denials of those waivers have been arbitrary and have challenged the Trump administration in federal courts in California and New York. Associated Press

Republican Opposition to Driver’s License Plan Grows

As support for the New York Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act grows, Republican state lawmakers are mounting an opposition. State Sens. Jim Tedisco and Daphne Jordan and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh are backing the County Clerk’s Protection Act, which would protect clerks from lawsuits or firing if they refuse to provide licenses to undocumented people. The lawmakers have support from county clerks from Saratoga County, Rensselaer County and Erie County, as well as the Saratoga County sheriff. The bill is unlikely to pass, but other Republican lawmakers across the state have voiced opposition to the driver’s license proposal. Spectrum Local News, Albany Times Union


Judge Rules Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” Policy Can Continue

A federal judge ruled the Trump administration can continue keeping asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for their court cases under its Migration Protection Protocols program. The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which has a conservative presence thanks to Trump appointments, marks the second time a ruling against the protocol was overturned. The Trump administration says the policy prevents migrants from abandoning their court dates and disappearing into the U.S., but immigration attorneys and advocates say it deprives immigrants of access to services and counsel. A larger lawsuit about the policy could still potentially appear before the Supreme Court. HuffPost

New Book Details The Role of ‘Race Science’ in US Immigration Policy

In 1924, the U.S. closed Ellis Island and passed an act that banned people from East Asia from immigrating to the U.S. for the next 40 years. A new book from author Daniel Okrent shows this legislation is the product of a 30-year campaign from social scientists to keep immigrants from Eastern Europe, Africa and Greece, as well as Jews, out of the country. These scientists use “race science” to persuade lawmakers to pass this legislation, creating a quota system for granting visas to various countries. Quotas have reemerged in today’s immigration discussions, with Congress debating the fairness of China being allotted the same number of some visas as Poland. New York Magazine

Border Patrol Agents are Being Trained to Conduct Asylum Interviews

As many as 60 U.S. Border Patrol agents will be trained to conduct ‘credible fear’ interviews with arriving migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. The interview serves as a basis for all asylum claims, where the asylee presents the reasons they’re fleeing their home country and the interviewer assesses whether that reasoning is legitimate It’s a delicate process, and trained asylum officers have taken care of it until now. CBP Commissioner Robert Perez told the House Homeland Security Committee that ten agents are currently being trained to conduct the screenings. Advocates have questioned the potential conflicts of law enforcement officers deciding the fate of people claiming asylum. Reuters

Border Arrests Rise Again

CBP arrested 99,000 migrants in April, according to statistics published Wednesday. THe number marks a 7 percent increase from the previous month and again hits the highest numbers in a decade. The numbers have seen a stark increase since President Trump’s first year in office, which was when arrests fell to their lowest in almost half a century. The White House is requesting Congress to provide an additional $4.5 billion in funding to address border issues. Over half of the arrests were of family members, marking a growing a trend at the border. Politico

Activists Detained at the Border

Ana Adlerstein, an immigrant rights advocate, was arrested while crossing the U.S.–Mexico border in Arizona and accused of “illegal alien smuggling” while accompanying an asylum seeker to a port of entry. Adlerstein volunteers at Casa del Migrantes, a migrant shelter in Sonoyta, Mexico. CBP reportedly told her the “Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply here” and threatened to arrest her lawyer if they came as well.  Adlerstein is the latest individual who works with migrants to be targeted by DHS. In March, NBC San Diego revealed the government had kept a secret list of activists, journalists and social media influencers who do immigration-related work and subjected them to increased scrutiny at border. The Intercept

Washington — Dems Discuss Changes to Dream Act, Immigration Bill Stalls, Pentagon Begins Building the Wall

A group of top Democrats reportedly discussed adjustments to the Dream Act that would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and toughen the path for immigrants with criminal records. The bill came up during a closed door meeting on Wednesday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Its compromises are aimed at garnering support from centrist Democrats while staving off attacks from Republicans. Activist groups such as United We Dream are also reportedly involved in the discussions. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill shortly. Politico

Meanwhile, the push for broad immigration deal has once again resurfaced, but seems doomed to fail before it begins. Trump and a group of immigration hardline senators are discussing a bill that would reform the legal immigration system but not reduce the overall number of immigrants allowed into the country. With the Democratic House and a Republican Senate, it will take a miracle to find a bill that will pass both houses. Politico

The Pentagon has redirected enough money to build 256 miles of wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shanahan — who Trump intends to nominate for the permanent department job — said 64 new miles of wall will be built in the next few months as half a mile is built each day. The New York Times

Republican and Democratic Senators on the Senate Finance Committee questioned the government’s ability to care for migrant children in its custody. Following reports of sexual abuse and harassment at these shelters, committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services asking for information on about abuse prevention at the shelters. Associated Press

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