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Early Arrival: DOJ Considers Joining Driver’s License Lawsuit

Monday's Edition of Early Arrival: Free Health Care Enrollment Begins —Mexicans Used for Blood Plasma Donations —  Health Care Limits Immigration

Mazin Sidahmed

Oct 07, 2019

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announce lawsuit against Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announce lawsuit against Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

The Department of Justice is preparing to weigh in on the controversial court case over New York state’s Green Light Act, which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. 

Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns first raised the lawsuit, arguing that issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented people would force him to violate federal statutes. New York Attorney General Letitia James is defending the law, which is set to take effect Dec. 14. Justice Department lawyers may join in on Kearns’ side.

But first, the Justice Department is weighing New York state’s argument: That it is within the state’s constitutional rights to prohibit information sharing between the Department of Motor Vehicles and federal immigration authorities. The department has asked for more time to consider its position on the federal lawsuit. The Wall Street Journal

Hello, I’m Mazin Sidahmed with today’s edition of Early Arrival. You can email me at mazin.sidahmed@documentedny.com.

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Enrollment in Free Healthcare Begins

New York City’s new program to provide no- or low-cost health care to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, began its rollout in the Bronx in August. So far, 5,000 people have been enrolled in NYC Care, with a goal of reaching 10,000 within six months. Similar rollouts in Brooklyn and Staten Island will start in January 2020. The program is intended to be available citywide by the end of 2020. It will give people access to a primary care provider and affordable access to medications through NYC Health + Hospitals. Patch

Search Continues For Missing Child

The search for Dulce Maria Alavez in Bridgeton, New Jersey, has yet to show progress as it nears the end of its third week. Authorities said they had recieved about 1,000 tips, were investigating around 500 vehicles, were searching more than 200 locations and had checked on sex offenders, but were no closer to finding the 5-year-old girl. It’s been presumed that people in the heavily Latinx community have feared coming forward with information after Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested the boyfriend of Noema Alavez Pérez, the child’s mother. Local police said they work independent of ICE. NBC New York

21 Savage: Undocumented Youth Should Get Citizenship

Rapper 21 Savage believes that children who are undocumented should be granted automatic citizenship. The rapper received an award from the National Immigration Law Center after he was held in detention by ICE after a widely reported arrest in Atlanta. During a sitdown interview, 21 Savage, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, said that exceptions should be made for people brought to the U.S. as children. He is a British citizen who was brought to the U.S. when he was 7 and his visa expired in 2006. He was held in a immigration detention for 10 days. The New York Daily News


Mexicans Used for Blood Plasma Donations

Thousands of Mexicans cross the border every week to sell their blood plasma to pharmaceutical companies using temporary visas. Many are drawn to the U.S. with Facebook ads and colorful flyers that promise large sums of cash, as those who donate twice per week could take home $400. But regularly donating plasma can hurt a donor’s immune system, and that’s why it’s prohibited in Mexico and heavily regulated in other countries. But in the U.S., donors can give plasma up to 104 times per year. Donors use B–1/B–2 temporary visas to visit the centers, and the companies routinely tell donors to lie to border agents. ProPublica/ARD German TV

Immigrant Arrested Despite Court Order

A Customs and Border Protection agent arrested a Mexican national whose case had been administratively closed. Luis Orozco Morales, 47, is an undocumented immigrant who was driving from El Paso, Texas to Hobbs, New Mexico when he was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint. He showed the agents proof that an immigration judge had closed his case in 2014, but was still arrested and detained for nearly a week, according to his lawyer. Administrative closure puts an immigrant’s case on indefinite hold and takes them off the court docket. Orozco’s case was closed because he had no criminal record and he is the primary caretaker for his sick wife. Texas Tribune

Journalist Questioned by CBP Agents

Ben Watson, a journalist for outlet Defense One, had his passports held until he responded to aggressive questioning from CBP officers. On Thursday at Dulles Airport, an agent found out Watson was a journalist and reportedly asked, “So you write propaganda, right?” Watson said, “No,” but the CBP agent repeated the question multiple times while holding his passport, until Watson relented and said, “For the purposes of expediting this conversation, yes.” Watson filed a civil rights complaint. CBP said they are investigating the allegation about the officer’s alleged inappropriate conduct. Several journalists have reported aggressive questioning from CBP agents this year. Defense One

U.S. Citizen Still in Deportation Proceedings

The U.S. citizen who was arrested by Border Patrol and ICE earlier this year is still being processed for deportation. Francisco Erwin Galicia captured national headlines after he spent a month in immigration detention despite being born in the U.S. The 18-year old, who started his senior year of high school, received a letter from ICE informing him that he will receive a court date to appear in immigration court despite proving his birth certificate is real. Border Patrol agents he arrested him at a checkpoint as they did not believe he was a citizen. The Dallas Morning News

Border Patrol Agents Admit to Profiling

In court filings, Border Patrol agents in Bangor, Maine seem to admit they profiled a family based on their appearance and the fact that they spoke Spanish. They followed a family that “appeared to be of Central-American origin” after they “overheard several people speaking Spanish,” according to an affidavit  They later arrested one member for illegal re-entry, as he had been previously deported in 2007 and 2010, and he told agents he’d returned in 2013. The Supreme Court has ruled that immigration authorities cannot target people solely based on their racial appearance. The Bangor Daily News

Washington — Health Care Limits Immigration, McConnell Seeks to Make Up Wall Funding, Supreme Court To Decide on Illegal Immigration

The White House issued a presidential proclamation on Friday that would bar immigrants who cannot prove they can afford health care from entering the U.S. In order to be eligible for visas that could lead to a green card, immigrants must show they have health insurance or prove their financial ability to pay for medical care. Refugees, asylum seekers and noncitizen children of U.S. citizens are exempt. It could impact children trying to bring their parents into the country. 

The rule, which is set to go into effect in 30 days, comes as the public charge rule is set to go into effect as well. The rule also attempts to block people from receiving green cards if they might depend on government-funded health care, among a host of other things.

The new proclamation will similarly make it harder for poor migrants to enter the U.S. It would require anyone applying for an immigrant visa to prove they will be covered by private health insurance within 30 days of entering the country, or that they have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs. It does not outline a threshold for those costs. The State Department will be tasked with teaching thousands of consular officials how to test an immigrants eligibility by Nov. 3.

The move effectively creates an individual mandate for immigrants, as the proclamation expressly states that immigrants using Affordable Care Act subsidies will not qualify for visas. The Trump administration argues that immigrants are more likely to be uninsured, putting a burden on the system, which advocates dispute. 

The rule would apply to people coming to the U.S. on immigrant visas, and roughly 534,000 of those were issued last fiscal year. The rule relies on the same laws the president used to implement the travel ban, which blocked people from several Muslim-majority countries from coming to the U.S. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times

Immigrant advocacy groups slammed the rule. United We Dream called it an “economic and racist attack,” and the Southern Poverty Law Center said it was the “administration’s latest attempt to restrict immigration to only the wealthy and use economic status.” The Hill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was working to find funds that were diverted from the Pentagon to help pay for Trump’s border wall. The administration announced last month that $3.6 billion had been diverted from schools, such as the new middle school in Fort Campbell in McConnell’s state of Kentucky. Associated Press

The Supreme Court will take up a case on whether or not it is a crime to encourage foreigners to enter or reside in the U.S. illegally. The 9th Circuit invalidated part of a law that makes it illegal to encourage foreigners to enter or reside in the U.S. illegally on first amendment grounds. It stems from the case of a former immigration consultant who was found to have violated the law. Politico

Pramila Jayapal Doesn’t Want to Give Trump “a Dollar More” for His “Vanity Wall”, Mother Jones

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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