Dozens of protestors were arrested at a demonstration outside a Microsoft store in New York on Saturday as they criticized the company for doing business with Immigration and Customs and Enforcement. After blocking traffic near the company’s Fifth Avenue store, 76 people were taken into custody. They were largely members of Close the Camps NYC, which said hundreds of people participated in the sit-in outside the tech company’s store. The protestors accused Microsoft of “colluding with ICE and its racist mission to tear apart families and mistreat children.”
It’s not the first time Microsoft’s contract with ICE has come under scrutiny. Last year, more than 100 of the company’s own employees signed a letter urging it to stop working with the agency. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the company was not working with the agency on any projects related to separating children at the border. The company has a range of contracts with ICE for IT support services.
Microsoft is among many tech companies that have faced questions in the Trump era for providing services to ICE. Amazon, Dell and Salesforce have also had to face protestors and sometimes their own employees. Microsoft told CNN it was “grateful to the NYPD for their help with protestors” and it closed its store for the rest of Saturday. HuffPost
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Home Health Aides Reach $450k Wage Theft Settlement
A home health aide company will have to pay $450,000 in back wages to more than 100 of its workers following a legal settlement, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday. James’s office began looking into the company, Allcare Homecare, based in Midwood, Brooklyn after 13 undocumented workers reported the company had threatened to call ICE on them after they requested unpaid wages. A deeper investigation revealed dozens of workers had their wages stolen by the company. Home health aides routinely work 24-hour shifts multiple days per week. Pix11
Muslim NJ Mayor Held at JFK for Hours
The mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey said he was held for three hours at JFK International Airport last month. Mayor Mohamed Khairullah recounted being held in detention after traveling to Turkey to meet Syrian relatives who were displaced by the ongoing civil war in the country. Customs and Border Protection officers at the airport brought him in for a random screening and asked if he met with any terrorists. He gave them his cell phone, on their request, before they told him they would have to hold it for another day. They held the phone for 12 days until a lawyer intervened. North Jersey Record
City Council Passes Bill to Help with Public Charge Rule
The City Council passed a bill on Thursday that is aimed at ensuring people leaving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will receive information on the city’s emergency food assistance programs. The bill, introduced by Councilman Francisco Moya, was put forward after reports surfaced about immigrants disenrolling from SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps, after news of the public charge rule leaked. Under the rule, people who are enrolled in certain government assistance programs may be barred from obtaining a green card. The public charge rule has yet to go into effect and is currently the subject of a number of lawsuits. QNS
Border Patrol Agents Discuss “Morale Crisis”
The New York Times interviewed 25 current and former Border Patrol agents from Texas, California and Arizona to get a sense of how they have responded to the agency’s role in the president’s crackdown on immigration. One retired agent said morale was abysmal. “Caging people for a nonviolent activity,” an agent from Arizona who quit last year said, “started to eat away at me.” The agency has come under criticism after reports surfaced of racist and misogynistic comments posted in a private Facebook group for agents. The agency has long allowed officers to use racist terminology such as “wets” and “toncs.” The latter reportedly refers to “the sound a flashlight makes when you hit a migrant in the head with it.” The New York Times
Asylum Officer Speaks Out on Issues at the Border
Border patrol agents have been conducting asylum interviews, a USCIS asylum officer has told The Intercept. But they’re not trained for the job, and their lack of training reportedly leads to errors. The officer also said immigrants who are stuck in the Migrant Protection Protocols program, which forces immigrants to wait in Mexico as their case makes its way through the immigration courts, have difficulty getting out of the program even if they’ve been raped or kidnapped in Mexico as they must prove the event is likely to reoccur. As of this month, 42,000 people have been made to wait in Mexico due to MPP. The Intercept
Rise in Health Uninsured May be Linked to Immigration Policy
The number of uninsured people in the U.S. rose by 1.9 million in 2018, according to the Census Bureau’s report last week — the first increase in almost a decade. The drop was largely attributed to a decrease in low-income people enrolled in Medicaid, with Hispanics marking the only major racial and ethnic group with a significant increase in their uninsured rate. It rose by 1.6%. Some experts told The Associated Press that Trump’s immigration policies such as the public charge rule may be acting as a deterrent for immigrant families to sign up for Medicaid. Associated Press
Top Immigration Judge Resigns
The nation’s top immigration judge, David Neal, said he would retire from his position effective Saturday. Neal was the head of the court’s appeals board. He gave no reason for his abrupt departure but said he did so with a heavy heart. The Executive Office for Immigration Review — the Justice Department agency which oversees the immigration court — has experienced some dramatic shifts. Several longstanding senior career officials left their roles this summer while U.S. Attorney General William Barr promoted several hardline judges to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Barr also handed over the ability to overturn cases to EOIR’s director, a political appointee. The New York Times
Swastika Found in DHS Offices
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General has launched an investigation into the hand-drawn swastika found inside the agency’s Washington headquarters on Friday. A hand-drawn swastika was found on the third floor of the agency’s building and staff were notified by an email from the Principal Deputy Undersecretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Brian Murphy. One employee accidentally replied all to the email and expressed doubt that the agency cared to act on such issues. DHS houses several immigration agencies such as ICE, CBP and USCIS. CNN, BuzzFeed News