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Early Arrival: Trump Slashes Migrant Youth Services

Friday’s Edition of Early Arrival: Rensselaer County Clerk, Executive Say They Won’t Follow Driver’s License Law — U.N. Decries Migrant Advocate Prosecution — Mexico Tariffs Wane

At least two New York organizations that work with migrant youth will need to cut back spending on quality of life programs, their administrators said. Last week, they received a memo from the Office of Refugee Resettlement saying they would have to reduce “activities that are not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation,” according to the memo. WNYC spoke to the JCCA and another unnamed organization, both of which said they would the federal directive would affect them.

JCCA serves about 30 young people who were placed in foster care because they didn’t have any relatives to stay with. The federal government currently provides the facility with $100,000 per year to pay for tutoring, life skills classes and trips around the city, said Ronald Richter, chief executive officer of the organization. “Most of our kids come here and are significantly under grade level with respect to their school work,” he said. The tutoring covers English, math, history, social sciences and science.

A representative of the federal Administration for Children and Families said the crisis at the border is putting a strain on the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Health and Human Services is seeking $2.88 billion to increase shelter capacity in the facilities that serve migrant youth before they’ve been released to foster care or a parent. A loss in services for the youth could potentially violate the Flores Agreement, which dictates standards of care for the children. Gothamist

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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Local

Rensselaer County Clerk, Executive Say They Won’t Follow Potential Driver’s License Law

As the state legislature continues to debate the Green Light bill, which would make New York driver’s licenses available for undocumented immigrants, county clerks around the state are continuing to protest it. Rensselaer County has the only law enforcement department in the state that participates in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program, and its clerk Frank Merola said he would “refuse to issue a driver’s license to anyone who comes into my office that can’t prove to us they’re here legally.” Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin also opposes the bill. Legislation has been introduced to allow the governor to fire state civil servants who disobey any potential law. CBS 6 Albany

Judge Shoots Down Effort to Investigate Census Question Evidence

Evidence surfaced last week that showed 2020 census citizenship question may have been inspired by research from a Republican operative, who said it would benefit “non-Hispanic whites.” The New York Immigration Coalition and other plaintiffs in a lawsuit then asked Judge Jesse Furman if he would allow them to investigate the matter further, but the judge shot down their request, noting “there’s no urgency on these questions.” He ordered the plaintiffs to file legal briefs about the matter by July 12. The Daily Beast

Green Light NY Bill Passes Assembly Transportation Committee

The Green Light bill passed the Assembly Transportation Committee on Wednesday and is now slated for a vote on the floor next week. The bill would allow undocumented people to access driver’s licenses. “For farmers in rural New York, the ability of their laborers to get to and from work is critical to their livelihood. Simply put, our economy depends on people being able to get to work,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo in a joint statement. NY State of Politics

National

U.N. Experts Decry Arizona Migrant Advocate Prosecution

The prosecution of an Arizona man for providing aid and shelter to migrants crossing the southern border drew a rare rebuke from the United Nations on Wednesday. “Providing humanitarian aid is not a crime. We urge the U.S. authorities to immediately drop all charges against Scott Warren,” several U.N. human rights experts said in a joint statement. Scott Warren, a volunteer with No More Deaths, an organization that provides water, food and aid to Central American migrants crossing Arizona’s southern deserts, is on trial for three felony counts of allegedly “transporting, harboring and hiding” two migrants. Reuters

Migrant Caravan Organizer and Advocate Arrested in Mexico

Mexican authorities arrested Irineo Mujica, a Phoenix, Arizona-based migrant rights activist on Wednesday. Mujica was arrested in the Mexican border city of Sonoyta, where he helps run a migrant shelter. “Upon leaving (his family’s business), he was intercepted by three plain-clothed officers, according to information from his brother,” according to a statement from Pueblos Son Fronteras, a migrant aid organization Mujica belongs to. Mujica has also been named a co-conspirator in the trial of Scott Warren. Arizona Republic

Border Patrol Official Wished Agents “Happy Hunting!” for Undocumented Immigrants

Bus and train travelers across the northern U.S. have reported being stopped, questioned and detained by Customs and Border Protection agents at an increased rate since Donald Trump became president. In November 2017, a Border Patrol official in Maine told agents they were ready to begin searching buses and wished them “Happy hunting!,” per emails obtained by the ACLU and given to NBC News. The fourth amendment protects passengers of buses and trains from being detained by Border Patrol without reasonable suspicion they can be deported by law, the ACLU claims in a lawsuit. NBC News

Mexican Officials Attack Migrants at the Border

Mexican security forces blocked hundreds of migrants after they crossed the border of Guatemala into Metapa in southern Mexico on Wednesday, and detained several of them, according to a witness from migrant aid group Pueblo Sin Fronteras and an official. Mexico’s National Migration Institute said a group of 300 people entered Mexico on Wednesday morning. Pueblo Sin Fronteras’ director was also arrested in Mexico City. The crackdown happened as Mexican officials are negotiating with the Trump administration over the threat of increased tariffs due to the situation at the border. Reuters

Texas Teacher Fired for Anti-Immigrant Tweets

Georgia Clark, a former high school English teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, was fired Tuesday for tweets calling for the president to kick undocumented students out of her school. Clark thought the tweets were privately addressed to President Trump. The May 17 tweets said her school district was “loaded” with undocumented students from Mexico, that the school had been “taken over by them” and that drug dealers were going unpunished. “Anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth would be greatly appreciated,” she requested. The school’s board unanimously voted to remove her, and her lawyer said she’ll appeal. The New York Times

Washington — Tariffs on Mexico Less Likely as Talks Progress, Trump Admin. Cuts Soccer, Education from Migrant Children

Negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico advanced on Thursday as President Trump’s tariffs come closer to being implemented. Trump announced last week he would institute a 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico, which encompasses a vast amount of the U.S. economy, until the situation at the border was resolved. The number would rise by 5 percent every month until it hit a 25 percent cap.

During negotiations on Thursday, the two countries considered giving the U.S. a greater right to reject requests for entry from migrant families from Central America. The proposed idea would require migrants to seek asylum in the first foreign country they reach, meaning Mexico for Guatemalans and Guatemala for Salvadorans and Hondurans. They also discussed expanding the Migrant Protection Protocols, which forces immigrants to wait in Mexico while their cases make their way through immigration court. Such a drastic change to asylum laws is likely to be met with legal challenges in the U.S. The New York TimesThe Office of Refugee Resettlement has canceled English classes, recreational program and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in its care due to the large influx of children at the southern border. The agency said it was limiting funding to activities not “necessary for the protection of life and safety,” and has requested another $2.9 billion in emergency funding to expand shelters and care. Nearly 40 percent of the 144,278 migrants apprehended by Border Patrol in May were children. The new move could violate rules for standards of care for migrant children in federal custody. The Washington Post

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