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Early Arrival: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Advocates for Census Participation in the Bronx

Friday's Edition of Early Arrival: Prison Guard Gets 25 Years for Assaulting Immigrant Woman Prisoners — Domestic Violence Victims Increasingly Threatened — McAleenan Advocates in Guatemala, Biden Defends Obama

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) made a surprise visit to Parkchester this week to encourage residents to participate in the 2020 Census, greeting them under the rumbling 6 train Wednesday morning. “Our strategy is all about building trust in the community before the enumerators even come to your door,” Ocasio-Cortez told THE CITY.

The Trump administration fought tooth and nail to include a question of citizenship on the 2020 Census. But after plaintiffs unearthed a political strategist’s report showing the question could benefit Republicans, a federal judge and then the Supreme Court shot down the question. The administration ultimately failed when the census went to print before it could fight for the question further.

Still, the controversy stirred up wariness of the census among undocumented people. Advocates are now racing to assuage those fears so they can get more people to participate in the survey and prevent losses in congressional representation and funding. Ocasio-Cortez’s district has the highest percentage of non-citizens in the state, and about 47 percent of the district’s residents are foreign born. The City

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

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Prison Guard Who Sexually Assaulted Immigrant Women Prisoners Sentenced to 25 Years

An ex-lieutenant in Brooklyn’s federal jail was sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping women in custody, some of whom were awaiting immigration proceedings. Eugenio Perez sexually assaulted five female inmates from 2013 until 2016 at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park. He specifically sought out women with immigration statuses, as they were fearful of repercussions if they spoke out against the guards. “He knew who to pick,” Nadia Shihata, the prosecutor in the case said. “Who’s going to believe them?” New York Daily News, The New York Times

Immigration Attorney Says Bronx Scammer is Back at it Again

Edwin Rivera was convicted in 2016 for defrauding immigrants out of thousands of dollars from his office in the Bronx and spent six months in jail. But Rivera has long been scamming New York immigrants as a fake immigration attorney. He was first caught in 2004 and was issued a $1,500 fine, and a few years later, was banned from providing immigration services in New York altogether. Yet authorities say Rivera has since served three jail terms for violating the order. Now, immigration attorney anabel Romera says he’s scamming again, alleging that about 40 families have paid Rivera thousands of dollars for immigration legal services. Rivera claims his new business is a “Christian ministry” that also provides accounting services and a student grant research center.

Wrongfully Detained Queens Man Speaks About His Experience for the First Time

Levy Jaen spent two years in ICE detention even though he’s an American citizen. Jaen received a drug offense and was sent to jail, but on day he was supposed to be released, the government said that he was not a citizen. Jaen was eventually released back to his family and children, but says he hasn’t received any compensation for the government’s mistake. “It’s sad not knowing if you’re gonna see them again, especially the youngest one who’s autistic,” he said. “I tell him ‘daddy’s coming home soon.’ But after I hang up, [I think] ‘what if daddy doesn’t come home soon?'” PIX11


Domestic Violence Victims Increasingly Threatened Over Immigration Statuses 

Colorado advocates say an increasing number of domestic violence victims are reporting that their abusers are threatening to report them to federal authorities over their immigration status.  In 2018, Latina Safehouse, a Denver-area nonprofit that specializes in serving undocumented and refugee domestic violence victims, said the number of victims it served doubled from 2018 to 2019. Nearly all said their partner used their immigration status to threaten them. Yet Matthew Albence, the acting director of ICE, was skeptical of the increase. “I don’t necessarily believe any of those statistics,” he said. The Colorado Sun

Mother Sues Over Daughter’s Death Shortly After Detention Release

A woman whose 1-year-old daughter died shortly after she was released from a detention center in Texas filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the private prison company operating the facility, CoreCivic. Lawyers for Yazmin Juárez are demanding $40 million from CoreCivic in a legal complaint filed in San Antonio, the third claim they have filed about the death. Juárez and her daughter Mariee were held in the South Texas Family Residential Center, which is run by CoreCivic, briefly after Customs and Border Protection apprehended them while they were trying to cross the border. Juárez says Mariee fell gravely ill in the facility and died shortly after being released. She claims facility conditions led to her daughter’s illness. Associated Press

Hundreds of Children Separated After Court Order

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a Tuesday court filing that 911 children were still separated from their families after a judge ordered an end to the practice last year. In the ongoing court case between the ACLU and the Trump administration, plaintiffs argue that the government had continued to separate children, including babies and toddlers, from their parents using dubious allegations and minor transgressions like traffic offenses. These separations occurred after Judge Dana Sabraw’s ruling in June 2018 that barred the practice except in limited cases. According to the ACLU, a 1-year-old was separated after an official criticized her father for letting her sleep with a wet diaper. Associated Press

Doctors Call for Congressional Investigation into Child Deaths at the Border

Doctors are urging Congress to act following the deaths of six children in government custody at the U.S. border. A group of Harvard and Johns Hopkins University doctors wrote to Congress on Thursday to say that autopsy reports of the deaths indicate that at least three of the children, aged 2, 6 and 16, died as a result of the flu — a rare occurrence. They argue conditions in the facilities are amplifying the spread of infectious diseases like the flu and endangering children’s lives. They called on Congress to investigate the deaths of these children. The Washington Post

Migrant Drowns After Attempted to Re-Enter the U.S.

Vilma Mendoza, 20, died while trying to enter the U.S. a second time after being returned to Mexico to await her asylum hearings. Mendoza, a native of the Baja Verpaz indigenous region in Guatemala, was returned under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy which forces asylum seekers to await their hearings in Mexico. She had initially entered the U.S. on July 4, and her body was discovered on July 29 after she attempted to gain entry through an irrigation canal, according to the Guatemalan Consulate in Del Rio. Her first hearing was scheduled for August 18. KRGV

McAleenan Pushes Guatemala, Biden Answers for Obama Record

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan traveled to Guatemala City on Thursday to sell a new asylum agreement to a skeptical public. 

The unpopular Guatemalan government, led by President Jimmy Morales, agreed to a safe third country agreement with the U.S. despite pushback from courts and legislators in the country. Morales previously agreed to, then backed down from, signing the agreement, prompting threats of tariffs and travel bans from President Trump.

Despite a court order barring Morales from signing the agreement without congressional approval, Trump’s push seems to have worked, as the two nations signed the accord last week. McAleenan traveled to Guatemala with a rosy message, promising work visasinvestment and tens of millions of dollars in financial aid. 

Under the agreement, any asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.–Mexico border will be rejected if they traveled through Guatemala and did not seek asylum there, which would effectively bar Hondurans and Salvadorans from seeking asylum. McAleenan said the agreement would be phased in slowly, starting with single male adults and not vulnerable groups like children. He also said the Trump administration is willing to provide up to $40 million to help Guatemala create its own asylum system. The Washington Post

During Wednesday night’s Democratic debates, former Vice President Joe Biden was forced to answer tough questions from fellow Democrats on former President Barack Obama’s immigration record. Biden has run his campaign by essentially promising a third Obama term, prompting some Democratic criticism Wednesday. Still, Biden defended Obama’s record on immigration, which included large amounts of deportations. He would not endorse former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro’sposition on decriminalizing illegal entry, which several other candidates have endorsed. The New York Times

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