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Early Arrival: New Email Acts as Evidence in Census Case

Monday's edition of Early Arrival: New Evidence in Census Case - Asylum Officers Rebel - Guatemala Suggests Sending Migrants to Jungle Airpor

The New York Immigration Coalition has submitted a new memo released by the U.S. congressional committee as evidence in a case over the 2020 Census. 

The House Oversight and Reform Committee released emails confirming that longtime Republican redistricting specialist Dr. Thomas Hofeller was directly involved in the effort to add a citizenship question to the census. 

The Supreme Court blocked the government’s attempt to add the citizenship question to the census earlier this year but now NYIC is asking a federal judge to impose sanctions on the Justice Department as it alleges that witnesses previously gave false testimony. The emails released this week support that claim. They show that a close adviser to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sought approval from Hofeller, the redistricting specialist who has since died. He had conducted an unpublished study in 2015 that found that adding a citizenship question would produce the detailed data needed to redistrict voting districts in a way that was “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

The adviser, A. Mark Neuman, did not disclose these details during a deposition nor did he provide his email exchanges with Hofeller. New York Law Journal

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

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Local

New Jersey Girl Remains Missing

Dulce Maria Alavez, a 5-year old New Jersey girl, has now been missing for almost two months. She was last seen on Sept. 16 during a family outing. Police released Alavez’s mother Noema Alavez Perez’s 911 call where she said that someone probably took her. They also released a sketch of the man who is suspected to have abducted her. The case was originally complicated by concerns that people with information may not come forward due to fears for their immigration status. Bridgeton Police have said that witnesses will not be questioned about their immigration status. Pix11

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MTA Criticized for Proposed Increase in Subway Cops

MTA officials came under fire from transit advocates for their decision to invest in police officers that may be targeting black, brown and immigrant commuters. The agency is considering a major restructuring that would include slashing thousands of jobs while hiring 500 new police officers. Rebecca Balin, an advocate at Riders Alliance, said crime is down on the subway, “Why are we hiring 500 cops in what we see as an attempt to harass immigrant New Yorkers.” It would cost $249 million to hire the officers. The increased police activity in subway stations has led to churro vendors on the train being targeted for permit violations. QNS

Buying Local Won’t Help Exploited Farmworkers, Jacobin

National

Asylum Officers Revolt

Asylum officers across the country are resisting the Trump administration’s immigration policies. They’re calling in sick, requesting transfers, retiring earlier than planned and quitting, according to The Los Angeles Times. The National CIS Council, a union that represents 13,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees has filed friend of court briefs in lawsuits opposing the administration’s policies. Former asylum officer Doug Stephens quit in protest of the Remain in Mexico policy, in which migrants are made to wait across the border. Kidnappings, rape and other violence against asylum seekers waiting for their hearings has been well documented. The Los Angeles Times/This American Life

Judge Opts to Fight Feds Over Obstruction Case

In an unprecedented case, Judge Shelley Joseph is accused of obstruction of justice for allowing an immigrant to evade detention by arranging for him to sneak out the back door of a courthouse. Shelley now appears willing to go to trial as she refused a plea deal that would’ve allowed her to avoid prosecution if she admitted violating federal law. Federal prosecutors took an unusual step in charging the judge to begin with, observers have referred to a 1787 case as the most recent precedent of a federal prosecutor indicting a state judge. It has also raised fears of state officials being intimidated by federal law enforcement. The New York Times

Private Border Wall Construction Continues

We Build The Wall, a private group supporting President Trump’s border wall, have begun a new project on the U.S.–Mexico border. The group was behind a GoFundMe campaign that raised millions of dollars for Trump’s wall. They previously broke ground on a stretch of wall on private property in New Mexico and they are now building on private land in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas. The group are also using Fisher Industries, a company that is competing for federal contracts to build the official federal government wall. The company is expecting to complete the three-mile stretch by Christmas. CNN

Private Prison Companies Plan for 2020

Private prison companies, Geo Group and CoreCivic, are preparing for what could happen if a Democratic president wins in 2020 and ends federal contracts with private prisons. CoreCivic CEO Damon Hininger said he was upbeat as half their business is at the state level and he said the government doesn’t have the capacity to house inmates without private facilities. Hininger added that the company reported $509 million earnings in the third quarter. Geo Group appears less bullish as it recently warned about inability to obtain new contracts due to growing public backlash. The companies recently formed an advocacy group named Day 1 Alliance to rebut the criticism against them. Associated Press

California Gov Pardons Immigrants

California Gov. Gavin Newsom granted pardons to three Califnronians on Friday who were at risk of potential deportation. All three had committed crimes when they were younger than 20. Newsom’s office argued that the men had transformed their lives. Two of the recipients were refugees from Vietnam who came to the U.S. as children and one was a Camodian genocide survivor. Democratic governors have paid special attention to pardoning Southeast Asian immigrants as they have been targeted for deportation by the Trump administration. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former California Gov. Jerry Brown have each pardoned Camodian refugees. The Sacramento Bee

Washington: Guatemala Floats Dropping Off Migrants in Jungle Region, DHS & DOJ Employees Angered by Miller’s Emails

Guatemala may soon start receiving migrants rejected for asylum in the U.S as part of a controversial agreement between the two countries. 

Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart told The Washington Post that those migrants may end up in a remote airport in the lowland jungles of Guatemala. Degenhart was in Washington to finalize the agreement with the U.S. DHS leaders were uneasy about the proposal to transport migrants to the Mundo Maya airport in the lowland jungle located in the Peten department’s, which is primarily used by tourists visiting Mayan ruins. They reportedly convinced Guatemalans to begin the program in Guatemala City but Degenhart said Peten will probably be used. 

US officials prefer the use of Guatemala City as they would like to publicize the transport of asylum seekers to deter others from making the journey while the Guatemalans would prefer to conceal it from public view due to the agreement’s unpopularity. 

Under the agreement, asylum seekers that passed through Guatemala on their way to the U.S.–Mexico border will be returned there to request asylum there. The agreement has come under intense scrutiny as Guatemala does not have adequate resources to process asylum seekers. The U.S. has provided the United Nations with $50 million to help build up Guatemala’s capacity. The Washington Post

Emails sent by White House Aide Stephen Miller have led DHS and Justice Department Officials to call for him to leave his post. The emails were surfaced by the Southern Poverty Law Center and show Miller sharing articles from websites affiliated with white nationalism. BuzzFeed News spoke with nine DHS and DOJ officials who expressed dismay at Miller’s comments and called for him to be fired.  BuzzFeed News

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