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Early Arrival: New York SIJS Applicants Twice What Advocates Previously Thought

Friday’s Edition of Early Arrival: New York Has Twice the SIJS Applicants Than Previously Thought — Civilians Get Citizenship Over Military Immigrants — Trump’s Immigration System Overhaul

Federal immigration officials believe there are over 6,500 young immigrants in New York who were denied Special Immigrant Juvenile Status after a 2018 change in Department of Homeland Security policy. Advocates originally thought the total population was around 3,000.

The legal status is designated for young people who face danger in their home countries, whether from gangs or domestic violence. The Trump administration attempted to cut 18- to 21-year-olds off from receiving the status, but an order from U.S. District Judge John Koeltl ended that effort.

Documented recently chronicled the case of Diego, a young Salvadoran man who fled his country and was rejected for that status. He fought back against the denial and helped win a favorable ruling for all immigrant youth seeking the special status.  New York Law Journal

Hello, I’m Max Siegelbaum with today’s edition of Early Arrival. You can email me at max.siegelbaum@documentedny.com.

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New Jersey Struggles to Provide Dialysis to Undocumented People

Three days a week, in the early hours of the morning, Daniel undergoes dialysis to stay alive. Despite the pain of the ongoing procedure, Daniel feels lucky to have it. He’s an undocumented immigrant, and it’s getting harder than ever for undocumented patients to access the treatment, social workers and advocates say. The state’s 186 dialysis clinics can provide just 3.5 percent of their services to charity care patients. So with these clinics at capacity, patients are turning to hospitals, which are also stretched thin and struggling to pay for the costly procedure. Christopher Brown, a state healthcare administrator, called the situation “not sustainable.” For the first time in his career, Brown was unable to find placement for seven undocumented patients in state facilities. He eventually found a clinic for one of them, but the rest are still seeking care. In New York, undocumented immigrants are covered by the state’s Medicaid program, as is the case in ten other states across the country. Read more at Documented

NY Delivery Workers Fined Despite Recent Rule Change

New York bike delivery workers are required to wear a helmet and a reflective vest with all of their identifying information in it, and electric bikes are also forbidden. Delivery workers are regularly ticketed for violating these rules. Department of Transportation rules say bike delivery workers’ employers should pay the fines issued for violating those laws, but advocates say the New York Police Department is fining the workers anyway. They also say many immigrants are unaware their employers should be paying these penalties. El Diario via Voices of NY

Green Light Bill Advances but Future is Uncertain

A bill that would issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants known as The Green Light bill is likely to pass the State Assembly and head to the Senate. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said he supports the bill and that there’s “enough support in our conference to move this proposal forward,” a spokesperson relayed. While the proposal has more support than it did the multiple times it was introduced in the past, its passage is still not guaranteed. “Certainly members are still a little nervous because of the politics of the bill, but every [Democratic] member believes it’s the right thing to do,” State Sen. Luis Sepulveda (D-Bronx) said. It has 25 co-sponsors in the Senate and it needs 32 votes to pass. Gothamist


Fewer Immigrants in the Military are Being Granted Citizenship than Civilians

Immigrants in the military are being denied citizenship at a higher rate than civilian applicants, according to USCIS data. The agency denied 16.6 percent of all military applicants, while denying 11.2 percent of civilian applications in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. In six of the last eight fiscal year quarters, civilians have been granted citizenship at a higher rate than members of the armed forces. The number of applications submitted by immigrant soldiers and other members of the military has also shrunk. USCIS attributes the drop “to the Department of Defense’s decision not to renew the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program after its expiration at the end of FY17,” it said in a statement. McClatchy Washington D.C.

Migrant Protection Protocols are Overwhelming Northern Mexico’s Social Welfare System

Over the past six months, migrants trapped in northern Mexico by the Trump administration’s border crackdown have overwhelmed the local network of social programs. They’re all being forced to wait out their court proceedings thanks to Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols, and advocates say the wait times are increasing. The majority of the migrants are Central Americans, but in Ciudad Juárez, there are asylum seekers from around the world. Mexican authorities also say they’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of Cubans that have shown up in the northern region of the country. Texas Tribune

200 TSA Agents Will Be Sent to the Border

The Trump administration’s border crackdown has pulled Border Patrol agents from their normal posts to focus on illegal points of entry. It’s now pulling in the Transportation Security Administration, which has identified about 200 employees who will be deployed to the southwest border to somehow combat illegal border crossings. The selected agents will be volunteers, an agency spokesperson said. They won’t be the TSA agents who interface with travelers in airports across the country, but rather lawyers, immigration specialists, air marshals and cooks. The reorganization comes as the agency is getting ready for a busy summer travel season. NBC News

H-2A Visas Have Spawned an Illicit Industry

Agricultural producers are becoming increasingly reliant on H-2A visas to hire seasonal labor for their farms. These visas allow immigrants to come to the U.S., temporarily work in various industries, and return home. Having a visa makes working in the U.S. much safer than working while undocumented, but in the process of securing these visas in Mexico is anything but simple. So-called “recruiters” prowl cities, serving potential workers lies about illegal recruitment fees and charging them anywhere from $900 to $2,400 to supposedly guarantee a visa. The Guardian

Another Child Dies After Being in CBP Custody

A 2-year-old Guatemalan child died Tuesday after being in federal custody in Texas, according to the Guatemalan Consulate and other sources. Border Patrol agents apprehended the boy at the border with his mother, and he then spent three days in government custody before being released. Yet he reportedly developed pneumonia while in custody, and he spent weeks in the hospital before dying. Two Guatemalan children died in December after being in CBP custody, a 16-year-old unaccompanied minor died in April after being in federal custody, with all dying of ailments. And another minor died while attempting to cross a river on the border. The Washington Post

Washington — Trump Proposes Immigration System Overhaul, New Bill Could Lengthen Child Detention, ICE Chief Nominee Says He Can Spot Potential Gang Members

In a Thursday speech, President Trump proposed an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system to favor educated applicants instead of people with family in the U.S. He plans to campaign on this plan in the 2020 election. Trump’s plan is aimed at drumming up support within the Republican party, but it does not address the issue of illegal immigration or the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. Democrats and immigration advocates have already rejected it, and it’s largely seen as a symbolic move for the administration.

About two-thirds of the 1.1 million people who legally migrate to the U.S. are given green cards because of family ties. Trump’s proposal wouldn’t dramatically shift these numbers, but it would put an emphasis on accepting immigrants who score high on the “merit-based” system. He would also end the lottery system that is used to give some applicants a chance to come to the U.S.

The president lacked any concrete plan to deal with the 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, but did drop his common “chain migration” rhetoric. Trump’s plan also did not address seasonal work visas, which farmers and other seasonal employers rely on. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it was “dead on arrival” and “not a remotely serious proposal.” Hardline anti-immigration groups were also unhappy that it didn’t call for any sort of reduction in the numbers of people traveling to the U.S. Reuters

A new bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) would allow the federal government to detain immigrant children for longer than is currently legally allowed. Currently, the federal government can hold children for a legal maximum of 20 days, but under Graham’s bill, they could be held for 100 days. The bill would also allow Border Patrol agents to send unaccompanied children back to Central America if the agents determine they aren’t victims of human trafficking or face persecution in their home countries. A 2014 United Nations report found that Border Patrol agents were regularly failing to properly screen children when determining whether to send them back to potential danger. HuffPost

Mark Morgan, Trump’s nominee for the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, recently said he can judge the likelihood of an unaccompanied child of becoming a gang member by looking into their eyes. “I’ve been to detention facilities where I’ve walked up to these individuals that are so-called minors, 17 or under,” Morgan said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” earlier this year. “I’ve looked at them and I’ve looked at their eyes, Tucker — and I’ve said that is a soon-to-be MS-13 gang member. It’s unequivocal.” The comment has turned into a broader look at how Morgan used Fox News appearances to catapult himself into the spotlight of conservative politics. HuffPost

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