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Early Arrival: New Jersey Passes Driver’s License Bill

In Wednesday's Early Arrival: Lines Out The Door for Green Light’s First Day — U.S. Prepares to Send Asylum Seekers to Honduras — House Approves Status Quo Immigration Expenses in Spending Bill

It’s a big week for tri-state area drivers. On Monday, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed a bill that will allow undocumented residents of the state to be issued driver’s licenses. The bill was sent to Gov. Phil Murphy, who has already said he will sign it. The bill follows New York State’s landmark Green Light Act, which passed earlier this year and was enacted this week. 

The bill creates two types of licenses: one compliant with federal Real ID rules which will allow holders to enter federal buildings and board planes, and another which will only be used for identification and driving. “It brings us one step closer to ensuring all motor vehicles and drivers are insured, thereby creating safer roadways for all New Jersey residents,” Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said in a statement after the 42-30 vote.

The bill is expected to generate $21 million in revenue in fees in the first three years, according to an analysis from a think tank. People applying have to meet the six-point identity verification system used by the motor vehicle commission but show just one document that confirms they live in New Jersey, instead of two. The bill includes measures to protect the information license applicants submit from federal authorities. An estimated 338,000 residents may get licenses, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective. northjersey.com

It’s a big week for tri-state area drivers. On Monday, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed a bill that will allow undocumented residents of the state to be issued driver’s licenses. The bill was sent to Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who has already said he will sign it. The bill follows New York State’s landmark Green Light Act, which passed earlier this year and was enacted this week. 

The bill creates two types of licenses: one compliant with federal Real ID rules which will allow holders to enter federal buildings and board planes, and another which will only be used for identification and driving. “It brings us one step closer to ensuring all motor vehicles and drivers are insured, thereby creating safer roadways for all New Jersey residents,” Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said in a statement after the 42-30 vote.

The bill is expected to generate $21 million in revenue based on fees in the first three years, according to an analysis from a think tank. People applying have to meet the six-point identity verification system used by the motor vehicle commission but show just one document that confirms they live in New Jersey, instead of two. The bill includes measures to protect the information license applicants submit from federal authorities. An estimated 338,000 residents may get licenses, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective. northjersey.com

Local 

Lines Out The Door for Green Light’s First Day

A new law that grants driver’s licenses to New York residents went into effect on Monday, and lines were out the door at Department of Motor Vehicles offices across the state. The New York bill expanded the forms of identification residents can use to apply for a license, including a valid foreign driver’s license, a passport from their home country and a foreign birth certificate. Road and written tests are still required. People waited for hours on Monday to get a shot at applying for a license. The New York Times

Artists Pull Works from MoMA Over Private Prison Ties

Three artists opened up a pop-up gallery show with artwork they pulled from a Museum of Modern Art show in protest of a board member’s financial ties to private prisons. Since March, activists have been pressuring MoMA board member Laurence Fink, CEO of the financial firm BlackRock, to divest from private prison operations. Fink’s firm is the second largest owner of private prison companies GEO Group and CoreCivic, MoMADivest said in a statement. Two of the artists displayed works that were supposed to be featured in “Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011,” a show currently at MoMA PS1. Artnet

NJ County Officials Create Detention Center Oversight Board

Local elected officials in Essex County, New Jersey have approved the creation of a civilian task force that will oversee Essex County Correctional Facility, an immigrant detention facility near Newark. The task force will provide “transparency and accountability” for the facility to “lives, health, safety and rights of all people confined at the ECCF.” It will act independently of the county government and will have authority to inspect the facility, interview corrections officers, inmates, detainees, and review systematic issues and concerns. The facility regularly makes news for its substandard conditions. TAPinto If you’re involved with this task force, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to us at info@documentedny.com.  

National

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U.S. Prepares to Send Asylum Seekers to Honduras

The U.S. is preparing to send asylum seekers to Honduras even if they’re not from there, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. This will effectively end their chances to seek asylum in the U.S. Under an agreement signed by former Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and Honduran foreign minister María Dolores Agüero, adults and families seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border could be sent to Honduras without the chance to seek asylum in the U.S.  The Los Angeles Times 

Driver in Custody After Plowing Through Immigration Checkpoint in Arizona

A driver is in custody after trying to drive through an immigration checkpoint in Arizona after leaving authorities in a high-speed chase. State law enforcement says the driver fired shots at border officials after the chase began on Monday. The suspect was arrested and nobody was injured, according to law enforcement. Two other people were found inside the car’s trunk and were arrested. Associated Press

Less than One Percent of Asylum Seekers in MPP Are Granted Status

Only 0.1 percent of asylum seekers who are part of the “Remain in Mexico” or “Migrant Protection Protocols” have been granted asylum, according to a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Fewer than 10,000 of over 47,000 people who are part of the program have finished their cases. Only 11 cases resulted in asylum being granted, while 5,085 were denied and 4,471 cases were dismissed. Outside of the program, about 20 percent of applicants were granted asylum in the same time period. San Diego Union-Tribune 

It Can Take Up to 50 Years for Indian Applicants to Receive Green Cards

An estimated 800,000 immigrants working legally in the U.S. are waiting for a green card, an unprecedented backlog. While much of Trump’s immigration crackdown has focused on the asylum system, immigrants seeking legal status through employment have been met with considerate roadblocks under the current administration. Many of the applicants are Indian nationals, so the wait for people from there to get a green card has grown up to 50 years. This logjam is partially due to the quota per country for green cards being unchanged since the 1990’s. Congress has been unable to settle on a clear path forward. The Washington Post

Washington – House Approves Status Quo Immigration Expenses in Spending Bill – DHS Ranks Last in Morale

The House approved a $1.4 trillion spending deal despite outcry from progressives and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about the billions earmarked for agencies overseeing the administration’s crackdown on immigrants. They said the funding was for the administration’s “immoral” immigration policies and “unchecked” military spending. 

Lawmakers had less than 24 hours to review the agreement, which delivered a win for business interests and lobbyists who tacked on provisions, some late at night. The bill includes $1.4 billion for Trump’s border wall, but kept the funding static for the same number of ICE detention beds. Overall, the budget of Customs and Border Protection and ICE remained the same. 

Despite enforcement funding remaining relatively level, the administration included some back door measures so it can increase the number of immigrants it detains. The bill allows the federal government to transfer money to the detention system if there’s a surge in incoming undocumented immigrants. The wall funding also includes fewer stipulations. “It is deeply disappointing that members of Congress, including many who position themselves as supporters of immigrant rights and opponents of this administration’s abusive immigration policies, continue to turn a blind eye to ICE and CBP taking money from wherever they choose and redirecting taxpayer dollars toward its anti-immigrant agenda,” said Heidi Altman, policy director for the National Immigrant Justice Center, in a statement. Politico The Department of Homeland Security has the lowest ranked morale of any federal agency, according to a survey. Employees at the DHS office for fighting weapons of mass destruction was the lowest of all offices queried in the survey. At FEMA, employees complained of lower work-life balance. At ICE, employees were frustrated by the senior leadership. The data comes from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Politico

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