Farmworkers in New York now have the right to organize and collectively bargain after a state appeals court overturned a decision from a lower court on Thursday.
The decision marks a victory for farmworkers and labor advocates in the three-year court battle. The judges in the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs in the case in a 4-to-1 ruling that found excluding farmworkers from the state’s collective bargaining rules was unconstitutional.
The New York Farm Bureau was the defendant in the case and said it fully intends to appeal the court’s ruling. The bureau had taken on the case after the state had declined to fight the lawsuit, arguing that a strike by workers could financially cripple farmers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James expressed their support for the ruling on Thursday.
Crispin Hernandez, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, claimed he’d been improperly fired from his job on a dairy farm for trying to organize for better working conditions. The rules preventing farmers from organizing stem from a provision created in the 1930s, which the plaintiffs in the case said was designed to discriminate against black workers during the Jim Crow era. Times Union
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New Jersey Places New Requirements on ICE in Courthouses
New Jersey state has issued new guidelines that will require Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to present a judicial warrant before they arrest anyone in a courthouse. The new rules, issued by the state Supreme Court Chief Justice on Thursday, mirror similar guidelines put in place by New York state’s Office of Court Administration. Local courthouses around the country have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of courthouse arrests carried out by ICE. The tactic has drawn sharp criticism from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, who argue it disrupts due process and scares immigrants out of coming to court. North Jersey Record
Niagara County Legislators Oppose Sanctuary State Act
Niagara County legislators unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday that signals their opposition to a state bill that would declare New York a “sanctuary state.” The state act would prevent any local law enforcement from complying with ICE detainer requests and would join New York with California and Connecticut in passing statewide measures. Niagara County lawmakers, however, were not impressed with the measure sponsored by Bronx Democratic state Sen. Jose Serrano Jr. “It discriminates against the people who are following the law and creates an unfair process for those who wish to enter legally,” said Legislator Randy Bradt, a co-sponsor of the resolution. Buffalo News
6th Migrant Child Died in Federal Custody Last Year
A 10-year-old migrant child died last year while in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency revealed Thursday. This marks the sixth reported death of a migrant child in government custody shortly after crossing the border since December, including one this week. Children who cross the border alone are placed in the care of ORR. This child crossed the border at San Antonio, Texas and reportedly had congenital heart defects. A spokesperson said she had surgery complications that left her in a comatose state. She died due to fever and respiratory distress at a nursing home in Phoenix. CNN
Shelter For Migrant Children Has History of Neglect
A shelter for homeless migrant youth in Los Angeles has been the subject of 143 city citations, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times has found. The shelter, Cass Libre, is owned by Peter Schey, a longtime lawyer and a supposed advocate for child migrants. Records show a pattern of neglect at the shelter, including children being locked out of the home and, at times, a lack of food at the shelter. Despite complaints from the staff, the board of the directors and Schey failed to act. The Los Angeles Times
Report: New Judges Cannot Handle Backlog
Hiring of new immigration court judges has not kept pace with the growing backlog of cases, according to a new report from the Syracuse University’s Transactional Record Clearing House. 49 new judges were hired in the first six months of fiscal year 2019, but others quit or retired, leaving a net gain of 29 judges. The current 424 judges have to address a backlog of almost 900,000 cases. Hearing dates are being scheduled as late as August 2023 in New York City immigration courts. TRAC estimates that the average judge would require three years to work through their caseload if all the cases were divided evenly among each judge, and the backlog is growing everyday. TRAC
DACA Recipient and Parents Arrested in Chicago
An ICE arrest of a DACA recipient in Chicago has raised questions over ICE’s tactics in the city. Agents arrested Paula Hincapie-Rendon, a 26-year old Dreamer, while she was walking her daughter to school earlier this month. She asked ICE to let her leave her daughter at her parents’ house, but when they took Hincapie-Rendon home, they arrested Hincapie-Rendon’s mother, father and cousin. Hincapie-Rendon’s lawyer questioned her arrest, and agents reportedly told him they had discretion to arrest anyone, including DACA recipients. Hincapie-Rendon was released on an order of supervision, which was eventually rescinded, but her parents remain detained. Chicago Sun-Times
ACLU Files Lawsuit Against CBP Over Shooting
The ACLU of Texas has filed a $100 million claim for damages against Customs and Border Protection over the shooting of a 20-year old Guatemalan woman. Claudia Patricia Gómez González attempted to cross the US border in May 2018 at a crossing in Rio Bravo, Texas. The claim alleges Gómez was shot in the head when the group she was with encountered a border agent in a vacant lot and attempted to run away. CBP says the group Gómez was with rushed the agent and attacked him with blunt objects, forcing him to draw his weapon. The claim is likely a precursor to a lawsuit. BuzzFeed News
Washington — Trump Pushes for Border Contractor, Pentagon to Construct Tent Cities, Congresswoman Says Deaths of Children ‘Intentional’
President Trump is attempting to steer contracts on the border wall to a prominent GOP donor from North Dakota, The Washington Post reports.
The president has put pressure on senior members of the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon and the Army Corps to give contracts to Fisher Industries, headed by Tommy Fisher. Fisher is a regular on Fox News and conservative radio, where he’s bragged about his ability to build 200 miles of barrier in less than a year. He sued the government in April after his bid to construct the wall, a contract potentially worth billions, was rejected by the Army Corps.
The White House argues it is advocating for Fisher due to the company’s ability to build the wall quickly and under cost. “The President is one of the country’s most successful builders and knows better than anyone how to negotiate the best deals,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said Trump likes Fisher because he always sees him on TV. Trump has also reportedly been upset at the pace at which the wall is being built, as he views its progress as key to his reelection campaign. The Washington Post
The Pentagon is also doing construction on the southwestern border as the agency said on Wednesday that it would build temporary housing for 7,500 migrant adults facing deportation. The Defense Department will loan military-style tents to DHS, officials said. The new construction stems from border officials’ complaints that facilities are at capacity due to an increase in migrants crossing the border this year. The New York Times
During an oversight hearing with the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) said the deaths of five migrant children in U.S. custody was a result of a policy choice by the administration. “The evidence is really clear that this is intentional,” Underwood said. “It’s intentional. It’s a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.” Politico