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Early Arrival: 2nd County Clerk Moves Forward with Green Light Lawsuit

Wednesday's Edition of Early Arrival: New York’s TPS Holders Continue Their Anxious Wait — Government Holding a Record Number of Migrant Children — SCOTUS Will Seemingly End DACA

Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola has moved forward with his attempt to block New York’s Green Light law, which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. 

Merola pushed for a preliminary injunction against the law on Monday despite U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford dismissing on Friday a similar suit brought by Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns. Merola’s suit was initially stayed pending the outcome of Kearns’ case, but Merola’s lawyers argue his case is different as it referenced Merola’s oath of office. 

Judge Wolford found Kearns did not have standing to bring the suit as he could not demonstrate how he would be injured by the law. Merola, like Kearns, argues enforcing this law would put New York’s county clerks in violation of federal law, making it unconstitutional. His suit names Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James and the commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles as defendants.

Top Republicans in Rensselaer County have gone to great lengths to work with immigration authorities. Sheriff Patrick Russo runs the only police department in the state to sign a 287(g) agreement with ICE and county officials have pledged to turn over voter registration information to ICE as well. The latter prompted a lawsuit in which officials claimed those statements were not intended for policy.

The Green Light law is set to go into effect on Dec. 14. Times Union

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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New York’s TPS Holders Continue Their Anxious Wait

Approximately 15,000 people in New York state hold Temporary Protected Status, which allows immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally due to a crisis in their home countries. Some have lived in the country for decades without fear, but the Trump administration has changed that. After seemingly being poised to end TPS, the Department of Homeland Security extended it until Jan. 2021 while court cases over the terminations continued. The City spoke to TPS holders who have been in the U.S. for decades and are now facing the prospect of leaving. The City

Former ICE Chief Claims He Would Target Gillibrand in 2024

Former ICE Chief Thomas Homan said he was considering a run for New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat in 2024. Homan was asked on the conservative host Larry O’Connor’s “Examining Politics” podcast if he would consider running to replace Rep. Pete King, a Long Island Republican who recently announced he would retire. Homan said he would rather target Gillibrand, who called for abolishing ICE during her failed presidential campaign. After leaving the government, Homan has become a media personality, regularly appearing on Fox News to defend the Trump administration’s immigration policy. He is also a native of New York and previously worked as a police officer upstate. The Washington Examiner


Government Holding Record Number of Migrant Children

New government data shows 69,550 migrant children were held in U.S. government custody over the past year, more than any other country, according to United Nations researchers. The children ranged from infants to teenagers. That represents a 42 percent rise from 2018 to 2019. The data also shows children spent more time in shelters and away from their families than in previous years. Detention can be a traumatizing experience for children and doctors recommend therapy after the experience, but that rarely happens when kids are deported to Central America. Associated Press

Catholic Bishops Elect 1st Latino Leader

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles became the first Hispanic immigrant elected to lead the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop Gomez is a supporter of DACA and other pro-immigration issues. He held a prayer service for DACA recipients ahead of Tuesday’s Supreme Court hearing over whether Trump can end the protections. Gomez’s selection reflects the importance of immigration to the church and the reality that nearly 40 percent of American Catholics are Hispanic. He said he would be open to meeting President Trump to discuss immigration reform. Catholic bishops are also fervently opposed to abortion, calling it their pre-eminent priority in the 2020 election. The New York Times

Judge: Warrantless Electronics Searches are Unconstitutional

A federal court in Boston ruled Tuesday that the government cannot perform warrantless searches of phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry. The judge found that these searches violated the Fourth Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed the lawsuit on behalf of 11 travelers. Under the lawsuit, border patrol must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of contraband before searching a travelers’ electronic device. Last year, the government conducted more than 33,000 electronic searches, almost four times the number of three years prior. Associated Press

Re-trial of Arizona Activist Begins

The re-trial of Scott Warren, a 36-year-old geographer and activist with the group No More Deaths, began on Tuesday. He is accused of harboring migrants who illegally crossed the border, but he argues he was simply trying to help two men in need. No More Deaths drops off water for migrants crossing the desert and runs a camp to aid injured migrants. Warren was previously tried, but the case ended in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury. The government requested that Trump not be mentioned during the new trial as it could prejudice the jury, and the judge has yet to rule on the request. The Intercept

Local Scramble Over New Refugee Rules

Cities and states are rushing to comply with President Trump’s order that offered jurisdictions the right to refuse to resettle refugees. The executive order, which came alongside a slash of the annual U.S. refugee acceptance cap to a record low of 18,000, said localities have to give their “consent in writing” for resettlement to continue by Christmas Day. Refugee advocates around the US are lobbying their cities, counties and states to ensure they register their willingness to accept refugees. The new law will also mean some refugees may not get resettled near family members, as was commonplace previously. PRI

Washington — SCOTUS Will Seemingly End DACA, Racist Emails by Miller, Family of Teen Shot by Border Patrol Appear in Supreme Court

Conservative judges on the Supreme Court appeared to support the Trump administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals during oral arguments on Tuesday. 

Liberal judges questioned the administration’s justification for ending the program, which protects almost 700,000 people from deportation, and appeared skeptical about the administration’s rationale for ending it. But Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh was less skeptical. “I assume that was a very considered decision,” he said of the justifications offered by the administration. Trump’s other appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch echoed that sentiment.

As expected, the decision will likely fall on the more moderate conservative Chief Justice John Roberts. He said the administration was within its rights to say the program was unlawful but indicated the Supreme Court could attempt to mitigate the harm ending it abruptly would cause people protected by the program. Roberts appeared to believe that, were the program to be ended, people would not face the threat of deportation and the program was merely about work authorization for undocumented.

In the leadup to the hearing, the president dropped his formerly conciliatory tone for DACA recipients, known as Dreamers. “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” he wrote on Twitter. “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.” In fact, a condition of DACA protections is having a clean criminal record. Trump also claimed on Tuesday that he would strike a deal with Democrats to ensure that Dreamers would be allowed to remain in the US if the Supreme Court overturns the rule.  The New York Times

Private emails sent by White House Aide Stephen Miller in 2015 and 2016 touted a racist novel, warned of a migrant invasion and promoted white nationalist publications. The emails were obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center and were sent to the right-wing publication Breitbart by Miller, who is widely considered the driving force behind the administration’s anti-immigration agenda.

In the emails, Miller mentions the book The Camp of the Saints, a 1973 French novel which has become a favorite for white nationalists due to its plot about a horde of Indians taking over France. He was angered at the decision by Amazon, eBay and Walmart to stop selling Confederate flags after the massacre of nine black parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. He also frequently praised Calvin Coolidge, the president who signed the 1924 law favoring Northern Europeans and reducing immigration overall. Mother Jones

The Supreme Court heard another immigration case on Tuesday on whether to let foreigners bring civil rights lawsuits in U.S. courts after a border patrol agent shot a migrant on Mexican soil. The family of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca would like to revive a lawsuit they filed against Border Patrol after Agent Jesus Mesa fired from the Texas side into Mexico, killing their 15-year old son. Justice Kavanaugh appeared to be the most conflicted of the conservative judges in the case. Reuters 

Trump’s son-in-law snd senior adviser Jared Kushner and other Trump officials have requested a livestream of border wall construction against the objections of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Senior CBP officials. The Washington Post

In interviews with Axios, top CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli defended the administration’s remain in Mexico policy. Axios

Chad Wolf Moves One Step Closer to Becoming Acting DHS Chief, CNN

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