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Early Arrival: Driver’s License Bill Passes Assembly

Friday’s Edition of Early Arrival: NY, NJ Undocumented Populations Shrink — Migrants Still Being Kept Under a Bridge — Trump Combats Census Probe, Harris’ Dreamer Proposal

The New York State Capitol. Mazin Sidahmed for Documented.

The Green Light NY bill, a pending measure that would grant undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses, passed its first hurdle Wednesday when it successfully passed the state assembly, 86-47. The measure has received support from advocacy organizations, labor unions, business lobbies and Gov. Andrew Cuomo(D).

The bill would allow New York residents to apply for driver’s licenses with foreign documents, including passports, opening them up to the undocumented. New York Democrats have largely supported the bill, except for those in Long Island, posing a challenge for Green Light NY as it arrives in the Senate. Republicans oppose the bill because they say they don’t want to aide or encourage people living in the United States illegally. A recent poll from Siena College showed most New Yorkers do not support the bill.

Democrats in traditionally Republican areas are apprehensive about the proposition, seemingly concerned that voting for it would compromise their reelections. Still, Democratic lawmakers are calling on their colleagues to rally around the measure. “I hope our colleagues in this Senate garner the courage to do what’s right, not what’s popular,” said Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Suffolk County). “If people governed on what’s popular, they would have never freed the slaves.” Democrat & Chronicle

Hello, this is Mazin Sidahmed and Max Siegelbaum with today’s edition of Early Arrival. You can email us at mazin.sidahmed@documentedny.com and max.seigelbaum@documentedny.com.

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Undocumented Population in New York and New Jersey Continues to Shrink

The number of undocumented immigrants in New York and New Jersey, as well as the rest of the country, continues to fall, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. The number of undocumented residents has consistently fallen since 2007. This drop is partially due to the decrease in Mexican-born citizens living in the U.S. illegally. Undocumented Mexicans are no longer the majority of the undocumented people living the country, which they were in 2007. The population of undocumented immigrants in New York fell from 1 million in 2007 to about 650,000 in 2017, according to the report. North Jersey Record

Brooklyn Man Steals Over $8,000 in Green Card Fraud Scheme

A man in Canarsie was charged with allegedly stealing $8,520 from three undocumented immigrants. According to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, three immigrants from St. Kitts and Jamaica hired James Archibald of the US Caribbean and Asian Development Organization to process their green card and work permit applications. They paid him, but he never filed the applications. When the three people contacted him, Archibald threatened to report them to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and refused to return two of their passports. He faces up to seven years in prison. Bklyner

City Council and Mayor Announces Initiatives to Help Cabbies

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a number of initiatives aimed at the taxi cab industry on Wednesday. Johnson unveiled a package of bills aimed at preventing the cab drivers suffering under predatory loan schemes. De Blasio announced drivers will not have to pay $10 million in license renewal fees this year and the city will establish a new “driver assistance center.” The mayor also expressed support for prolonging the current cap on new drivers for ride-hailing apps such as Lyft and Uber. A recent New York Times investigation revealed that as taxi medallion prices rose to $1 million before the bubble burst, recent immigrants were trapped in predatory loans by lenders — tactics mirroring those used during the housing market bubble. The New York Times


Migrants in Texas Still Being Kept Under a Bridge

In March, photos of migrants being held behind a chain link fence under a bridge in Texas sparked criticism about the treatment of people seeking asylum in the U.S. Federal officials said they would transfer the families into another location “with more space and shelter capability.” But three months later, the makeshift camp remains. In it, detainees have fashioned makeshift shelters with blankets and wash their clothes in 5-gallon buckets. “There is no justification for detaining people in this condition,” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), who visited the site last week told the paper. El Paso Times

Trump Administration to Hold Migrant Children in Former Japanese Internment Camp

The Trump administration will hold immigrant children on an Army base in Oklahoma that had previously been used as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II. About 1,400 children will be held at Fort Sill, a 150-year-old installation, until they can be released to a relative or sponsor. The Department of Health and Human Services says it has taken about 40,900 children into its custody from April 30, a 57 percent increase from last year. Fort Sill will be used “as a temporary emergency influx shelter,” according to the agency. Time

Mexicans No Longer Largest Group of Undocumented People

Mexicans no longer make up the majority of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., according to new figures from the Pew Research Center released on Wednesday. The nation’s 10.5 million undocumented people, as of 2017, consist mainly of people from a broad collection of countries. The number of Central American undocumented people has risen, but so has the number people from Asia and Europe who have overstayed visas. There are currently 4.9 million undocumented Mexican people in the U.S., a drop from 6.2 million in 2010. The overall number of undocumented people continues to fall, down from 12.2 millon in 2007 to 10.5 million in 2017. USA Today

Migrants Struggle to Prove Fear of Returning to Mexico

For the past six months, the Trump administration has been forcing migrants to wait, potentially years, in Mexico while their U.S. immigration cases are adjudicated under the Migrant Protection Protocols. Migrants who have a fear of returning to Mexico can request to wait in the U.S., but an analysis by Reuters shows their chances of being granted that request are exceedingly low. While 8,718 migrants have been sent back to Mexico, only 106 have won the right to wait in the U.S., government data showed. Mexican border cities have some of the highest homicide rates in the world, so many migrants fear waiting there. Reuters

Washington — Trump Combats Census Probe, Harris’ Dreamer Proposal

The House Oversight and Reform Committee had requested to see deliberations at the Commerce and Justice Departments on the addition of a citizenship question. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William P. Barr had failed to produce those documents, and on Wednesday, the committee was considering a vote on whether to hold the two in contempt.

Yet as that vote approached, the president preemptively sent a letter citing executive privilege to prevent the two officials from appearing, launching latest battle between Congress and the White House in their attempts at oversight. 

Ross has come under scrutiny over the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which advocates argue will depress turnout in immigrant communities. The legality of its addition is currently before the Supreme Court. The Oversight Committee on Wednesday advanced a contempt vote on Barr and Ross to the full House. The New York Times

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a 2020 contender, unveiled a proposal Wednesday that would give a path to citizenship to DACA recipients, known as Dreamers. There are roughly 2 million Dreamers in the U.S. that would be eligible. The plan would not require Congress’s approval, as it would be an addition to the Obama-era executive order on DACA with additional provisions. HuffPost

Max Siegelbaum

Co-executive Director of Documented


Mazin Sidahmed

Mazin Sidahmed is the co-executive director of Documented. He previously worked for the Guardian US in New York. He started his career writing for The Daily Star in Beirut and he also contributed to Politico New York.




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