Four parents filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal district court against the Department of Education for failing to provide adequate translation services.
The parents, whose children are disabled, allege the school repeatedly denied them access to translated versions of critical documents. Marcela Hernandez said that one staff member told her “why don’t you learn English?” when she requested an interpreter prior to a school meeting.
Veronica Garcia, another mother in the suit, told Gothamist she had asked for help to interpret a report on her autistic daughter’s progress, but was rebuffed multiple times. Garcia added that she also received calls from the school nurse in English despite the school having access to an over-the-phone interpreter. The school said the nurse who was calling didn’t know how to use the system.
The plaintiff’s lawyers argue the suit is the first of its kind, as it focuses on parents with limited English proficiency who have children with disabilities. A 2012 lawsuit on the DOE’s failure to provide adequate language services city-wide is still ongoing.
A report by the New York Immigration Coalition from 2015 found that nearly half of all New York City public school students speak a language other than English in the home. A 2008 law from the Bloomberg administration requires every city agency to provide language services in at least the top six languages spoken in New York. Gothamist
Democrats on Long Island Oppose Driver’s Licenses
Long Island state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) and state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Garden City) have both come out in opposition of allowing undocumented immigrants in New York state to get driver’s licenses. Kaplan cited concerns raised by local law enforcement, and Thomas said it could further expose immigrants in the state to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The legislation, known as the Green Light Bill, passed the assembly but faces an uphill battle in the state senate with two weeks remaining in the legislative session. Long Island Democrats are also concerned that the progressive bill could alienate voters in the politically conservative area. Newsday
Assemblymembers Pass ICE Detention Oversight Act
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) and state Sen. John Liu (D-Queens) have partnered with Amnesty International to pass the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Oversight Act. The bill will ensure New York State county jails that house immigrant detainees abide by certain detention standards and will limit the expansion of detention facilities in the state unless approved by the legislature. Weprin is the State Assembly Correction Chair and has previously been outspoken on the conditions of immigration detention centers, including those of Orange County. The legislature will also form a new committee on immigration detention oversight. County jails in New York state, and around the country, can enter into agreements with ICE to house detainees for a fee. QNS
Dozens of Immigrants Died in ICE Detention During Trump Era
24 immigrants have died in ICE custody since President Trump came into office, according to an NBC News analysis of federal data. That includes four who died shortly after they were released, but excludes the several migrants that died in CBP custody in recent months. The deaths may be driven by ICE’s increased enforcement, seeing as there are now 52,500 people in ICE detention daily, up from 32,000 during the Obama administration. Two of the deaths may be attributable to ICE’s medical services provider, which seemingly improperly detoxed detainee with substance abuse issues. NBC News
Three New Emergency Shelters Being Built in Texas
Three new emergency shelters housing between 3,000 and 4,000 unaccompanied children will be opened on military bases in South Texas this month. The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for the care of unaccompanied minors, or children that cross the border alone. The agency plans to shelter 2,000 children on military facilities and 1,600 in an influx shelter previously used for housing oil-field workers. A massive 56,278 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended crossing the border this year, a 74 percent increase on the previous year. HHS had 13,200 minors in its custody as of Sunday. The agency is requesting $2.9 billion in emergency funding from Congress. The Washington Post
Palestinian Man Sent Back to U.S. After Botched Deportation
Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a northern Virginia man, was flown back to the U.S. Thursday after he was deported to Israel days earlier by ICE. Ashqar had recently served 11 years in jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating the Palestinian militant group Hamas, and was in immigration detention for 18 months until he was released in December. ICE planned to hand Ashqar over to Palestinan authorities but would need to do so through Israeli officials, whom Ashqar’s lawyer argued could detain and interrogate him in the interim. The judge ruled that ICE may not have been carrying out his deportation correctly. Associated Press
Central Americans Turn to Europe
The number of Central American migrants seeking asylum in Europe has increased nearly 4,000 percent in the last decade as many see the U.S. shrinking as a viable option. Nearly 7,800 people applied for asylum in Europe last year, up from 4,835 the year prior. Given the cost and risk of paying smugglers to get to the U.S., many have found the trip to Europe cheaper and safer, seeing as one can book a flight as a tourist and seek asylum once they land. Many also see the authorities as more tolerant. Spain is the most common destination thanks to its language and familial networks. The New York Times
Inconsistent Review for Deportation of Immigrant Veterans
A five-year review of veterans with immigration issues by the Government Accountability Office found the government was not enforcing the military’s immigration rules consistently. The military has enlisted more than 44,000 non-citizens since 2013, but the number that have received U.S. citizenship has fallen, according to the report, which was requested by the House Veterans Committee. Military service offers a path to citizenship, legal residence and gives veterans more protection from deportation. The GAO’s report found that 70 percent of cases involving the deportation of veterans did not get the required reviews. Between 2013 and 2018, 250 noncitizen veterans were deported, the report said. Task & Purpose
Washington — Tariffs Canceled as Mexico-U.S. Reach Controversial Deal
President Donald Trump has announced an indefinite suspension on his threat of tariffs to Mexico after the two nations agreed to a deal on Friday.
Reports suggested that many elements of the deal had already been agreed to months prior, an accusation that Trump rejected during a series of tweets on Sunday. He also threatened to reimpose the tariffs if Mexico did not live up to its word.
Trump had originally threatened to place a five percent tariff on all goods coming from Mexico if it did not address the issue of Central American migrants crossing through its country to reach the U.S.
Under the deal, Mexico will deploy thousands of Mexican national guard troops and expand the Migrant Protection Protocol, which forces migrants to wait in Mexico while they await adjudication of their asylum cases. The Washington Post
The New York Times reported that the expansion of MPP was agreed to in December and Mexico would not agree to a “safe third country” agreement, which would have forced migrants to claim asylum in Mexico instead of the U.S.. This would allow border officials to reject all asylum seekers who hadn’t claimed refuge in Mexico first. Trump attacked the Times for what he called false reporting, which the Times denied. The president said there were more details to come on the deal, hinting they may have secured the “safe third country” agreement.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador delivered a speech in Tijuana on the negotiations on Saturday. The country was reluctantly willing to implement retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, but the foreign minister said it left the negotiations with its “dignity intact.” Associated Press