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Early Arrival: De Blasio Opens Affordable Housing to Undocumented New Yorkers

Friday's Edition of Early Arrival: Uzbek Immigrant Turned FBI Informant Trying to Quit — U.S. Losing Foreign Students — Detaining Families Longer

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has opened the city’s affordable housing lottery to undocumented New Yorkers. Before, to apply for affordable housing, every adult member of the household needed to submit their social security or tax ID number. Now, no member of the family has to do so. The change will eliminate the need for a credit check as well. 

Undocumented immigrants who don’t have a social security number are sometimes wary of applying for a tax ID, according to Ana Nuñez, of Churches United For Fair Housing, a nonprofit organization. “They may fear that if they apply, especially with this administration, they might face some repercussion … so that is now a huge barrier that has been eliminated,” she said. Margy Brown, the associate commissioner of housing opportunity and program services in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development added that “there are racial disparities in credit. We do not want those disparities to spill over into who has access to affordable housing,”

New Yorkers entered the housing lottery over 4.6 million times last year, and now the city’s undocumented population of roughly 500,000 could be added to that. Just 7,857 people were given units with below market rent. Applicants will have to show 12 consecutive months of rent payments in order to apply. The mayor has pledged to create or preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026, but as it stands, there are over 500 applicants for each affordable unit available. Bloomberg, NY1

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

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An Uzbek Immigrant Started Informing for the FBI. Now, He’s Trying to Get Out

One night in 2017, Bilol, an Uzbek immigrant, answered a knock on his door and found 25 people there, including FBI, immigration authorities and NYPD officers. Bilol had overstayed his visa and they offered him a deal: If he helped the FBI “catch criminals,” he could legally remain in the country. He agreed to the deal and soon received a letter from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that delayed any deportation proceedings. Soon, his FBI handlers had him spend time in mosques around the city to push people about their opinions on the civil war in Syria and other issues. Bilol decided to end the arrangement with his handlers, but he’s not out of the clear yet. Gothamist / WNYC

Democratic Congressmembers Tour NJ Detention Center

Four Democratic congressmembers toured the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Elizabeth, N.J. on Wednesday and were met by protestors calling on them to shut down the facility. “We clearly have a broken immigration system that has been exacerbated by three factors,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn after the tour, which included conversations with asylum seekers inside the facility. Protesters met the congressmembers at the facilities, yelling to ask “What are you doing to shut this place down?” Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) said he had written a letter asking the Hudson County Jail to end its relationship with ICE. Gothamist / WNYC

Restaurant in Hudson Closes After ICE Targets Staff

A popular restaurant in Hudson is shutting down after 16 years of operation after ICE arrested and deported members of its staff, and as gentrification continues to drive up rent in the city. In a statement, the restaurant, Mexican Radio, said staff members have been “forcibly ejected from the country.” Owner Lori Selden said the economics of the restaurant are no longer viable. “We’re getting hit with it on a basic working middle class level,” Selden told a local news station, “where people need two or three jobs, or they have to leave, because they can’t afford to live where they’re living.” Bryan MacCormack, a local immigration advocate, said that ICE has been targeting Hudson’s immigrant restaurant workers. News 10


US Lost More Than 40 Percent of its Foreign Students from 2015 to 2018

Recently released data shows the United States lost 42.5 percent of its foreign-born students from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2018, totaling over 288,000. This decline is due in large part to the delay in processing student visas, which new Trump administration procedures have exacerbated. The U.S. also lost the $39 billion added to the economy by 1.1 million international students studying in the country through tuition, room and board and by adding over 455,000 jobs in the process. Leaders at universities like Harvard, MIT and Princeton have written to the Department of Homeland Security to urge action on the visa processing delays. Immigration Impact

US Envoy Offers Guatemala Triple Seasonal Visas for Safe Third Country Agreement

In an attempt to solidify the asylum deal created with Guatemala’s former president Jimmy Morales, the U.S. offered to triple the number of temporary farmworker visas available to Guatemalans. Last month, Morales agreed to a safe third country agreement that requires Hondurans and Salvadorans traveling to the U.S. to seek asylum in Guatemala before continuing north. The deal still needs to be approved by Guatemala’s legislature and the U.S. Congress, and in order to help that happen, White House Latin America adviser Mauricio Claver-Carone offered to triple the number of H-2A visas issued to Guatemalans, which was 4,000 last year. Reuters

Immigration Judges Speak Out After DOJ Includes White Supremacist News Source in Daily Email

An email sent by the Justice Department to immigration court staff included a link to a post from VDare, a white nationalist website, in its morning news briefing, according to the National Association of Immigration Judges. The post was about the recent move by the Justice Department to decertify the immigration judges’ union, and included anti-Semitic attacks on judges.“The post features links and content that directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs and the label ‘Kritarch.’ The reference to Kritarch in a negative tone is deeply offensive and Anti-Semitic,” wrote the head of the union Ashley Tabaddor in a letter. BuzzFeed News

Man Held For Days Despite Proving Citizenship

A parish jail in Louisiana held U.S. citizen Ramon Torres for four days after he was ordered released while they checked his immigration status, a lawsuit from the ACLU alleges. The lawsuit filed on Wednesday states that Torres, a naturalized citizen who was born in Honduras, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving but ordered released by a judge on Sept. 1, 2018. Despite one of Torres’ co-workers showing the sheriff’s department his passport, certificate of naturalization and Social Security Card on Sept. 1, he was not released until Sept. 4. The lawsuit asks that damages be paid to Torres. The Advocate

Mexican Gov’t Grows Tired of ‘Remain in Mexico’The Mexican government appears to growing tired of the Trump administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico. More than 35,000 people have been sent to Mexico so far under the policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols. But in recent weeks, the Mexican government has begun implementing caps on the number of people that can be sent back, restricting the hours they can be sent back and refusing to take people on Sundays, according to a DHS memo. Mexican officials are no longer accepting asylum seekers after 1 p.m. in El Paso, Texas, meaning CBP officials have to hold asylum seekers overnight. BuzzFeed News

Washington — Detaining Families Longer, Panama Targeted for Safe 3rd Country, Cities & State Rejecting Refugees, Birthright Citizenship Returns

The Trump administration is seeking toterminate a decades-old settlement in order to detain migrant children longer. DHS announced Wednesday that it would be issuing a rule Friday to withdraw from the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which had set the basic standards for detaining migrant children. It will require approval from the U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee, who oversees the settlement. She rejected an attempt by the government to expand detentions last year. If approved, the rule will go into effect in 60 days.

The new rule will eliminate the 20-day limit on detaining migrant children and allow ICE to open more family detention centers nationwide. The administration argues that the 20-day cap incentivizes migrants to travel with children, as they will get released quicker. Detaining families for longer, the administration says, will act as a deterrent. Trump has previously lambasted the Flores Settlement. The Washington PostRead about the history of the Flores Agreement in The New York Times

The Trump administration is hoping to reach a deal with Panama’s government to allow the U.S. to send African, Asian and other asylum seekers to its territory, according to The Washington Post. It’s another “safe third country” the U.S. is hoping to strike after coming to a shaky agreement with Guatemala, which will still require many steps before being implemented and has been met with widespread pushback. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan will travel to Panama City on Wednesday. The country is a natural transition point for U.S.-bound migrants coming from South America, and a lot of migrants from Africa and South Asia start their journeys with a flight to Brazil or Ecuador. The Washington Post

The Trump administration is considering letting states and local jurisdictions deny entry to refugees who have been approved for resettlement. Under the proposed order, the federal government will not be able to compel a jurisdiction to take refugees. The administration is also currently considering whether to reduce refugee admissions to zero starting next fiscal year. NBC NewsTrump on Wednesday resurrected his idea to end birthright citizenship. He said he was looking at it “very, very seriously” when speaking to reporters as he departed the White House. He once again said he would do so via executive order, a notion which has been widely rejected as unconstitutional by legal scholars. Associated Press

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