A New York federal appeals court rejected a motion from the Trump administration that would have allowed it to implement its public charge policy. The ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the motion to lift a temporary national injunction issued by a New York district court in October. Trump’s rule would have targeted immigrants who may have relied on public welfare programs and downgraded their likelihoods of getting a green card or visa.
The “public charge” rule as it’s known stems back to the early 20th century, when Moische Fischmann, a Russian blacksmith, was denied entry to the country through Ellis Island. A panel of immigration authorities found his “certified condition is such that he would have considerable difficulty in acquiring or retaining employment.” He was labeled a “public charge.”
In October, a judge in New York issued an injunction that halted the rule, as did others around the country. The earlier announcement of the rule sent panic throughout the country as immigrants scrambled to figure out how this would affect their lives. The announcement caused a drop in enrollments to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides assistance in purchasing food to New Yorkers in need. HuffPost
Cuomo Wants to Open Professions to Immigrants Without Green Cards
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out his goals for New York State in 2020 this week, and within it, outlined a plan to open up areas of employment to immigrant New Yorkers. Cuomo wants to allow immigrants to be able to work as security guards, notaries and real estate brokers. Currently, those jobs require licensing from the state and are only open to citizens or green card holders. Read more here.
Flatbush Building is Home to 50 Speakers of an Endangered Language
A nondescript seven-story brick building in Flatbush holds 50 of the last speakers of Seke , a non-written language that comes from the Mustang region of Nepal. There are 700 or so Seke speakers left in the world, according to the Endangered Language Alliance, a New York-based organization dedicated to the preservation of rare languages. Over 100 Seke speakers live in New York, with nearly half in that one Flatbush building. Seke is one of 637 languages that the Endangered Language Alliance has identified as being spoken in New York City and New Jersey. The New York Times
Do-Over Successful in Voter Registration Bill
A new bill that passed the New York Senate would automatically add any citizen who fills out a state form to the voter rolls. The bill targets an estimated 1.1 million eligible voters who aren’t registered, according to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The bill is a redo of another bill from last year, which would have automatically added undocumented immigrants who signed up for a New York driver’s license from the Green Light NY law to voting rolls, even though none of them would be eligible to vote. Albany Times-Union
Honduras Pledged Billions for Its Deportees. Where Did the Money Go?
Last year, Trump halted the United States’ contribution to the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle, a multi-nation plan to curb migration to the U.S. from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. As a part of the plan, those three countries pledged to invest $5.4 billion of their tax dollars and financing mechanisms into programs that help create economic opportunity for their citizens and deal with rampant security problems. Ximena Villagrán and Elsa Cabria traveled to Honduras’ city with the highest rate of deportees from the U.S. to see how the money was being spent. No one they encountered had heard of the program. Read more at Documented
Federal Judge Orders DHS to Return Deported Asylum Seeker
A federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to return a gay asylum-seeker who was deported to Chad because the government had not properly considered his asylum claim. Oumar Yaide arrived in the U.S. in 2009 and applied for asylum. His application was denied and in December 2018 a judge denied his final appeal. About a year later, he filed a motion to reopen his case, but ICE agents put him back on a plane to the country that criminalizes homosexuality. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer found that the “deportation violates his procedural due process right to pursue his motion to reopen.” NBC News
Asylum Decisions Surge in Fiscal Year 2019
Immigration judges decided 67,406 asylum cases in fiscal year 2019, a 70 percent increase from five years ago, when judges decided 19,779 cases. Asylum decisions have become an increasing part of immigration courts’ workload. Nearly one in four cases were asylum claims in FY 2019, while one in ten were in FY 2014. The number of denied claims grew significantly as well, showing a nearly 80 percent increase in the same timeframe. Asylum applicants last fiscal year waited an average of 1,030 days for their cases to be decided, while some waited nearly four years. Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
Mexican Asylum Seeker Kills Himself After Being Denied Entry to the U.S.
A Mexican asylum seeker died by suicide on a bridge across the Rio Grande after being denied entry to the U.S. The man tried to enter the country at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and was turned away by border guards. The man drew a knife and cut his throat on the bridge. The Trump administration recently announced it would begin deporting Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala. Reuters
Border Migrant Apprehension Rate Continues to Fall
The number of migrants apprehended at the southern border has fallen again in December, marking the seventh straight month of declines. The number has now dropped 70 percent from a peak of 130,000 in May, with Customs and Border Patrol announcing it had arrested 32,858 migrants at the border and 7,762 at U.S. ports of entry. Those numbers represent a 5 percent decline from November. Fewer migrants typically attempt to cross the desert in the winter months, but the numbers likely also attest to Trump’s crackdown. Vox
Washington — Sanders Hires Biden Heckler, Officials Announce 100 Miles of Border Barrier, DHS Strays from Cyber Security Mission
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has hired an immigrant-rights protester who recently confronted former Vice President Joe Biden on stage. Carlos E. Rojas will be a Latinx community organizer in Iowa for Sanders’ presidential campaign. He previously led the immigrant advocacy group Movimiento Cosecha and volunteered on the Obama campaign.
Rojas confronted Biden at a campaign stop in Greenwood, South Carolina, and drove all the way from Elizabeth, New Jersey, to do so. He asked Biden to answer for the three million people deported during President Barack Obama’s tenure. Biden told Rojas he should “vote for Trump.” Rojas told the candidate “I’m not going to do that,” as he was walking out of the room. Video of the exchange spread quickly on social media. At the time, Rojas promised to continue disrupting Biden’s events. The Philadelphia Inquirer
Trump administration officials plan to announce Friday they have completed 100 miles of new barrier on the southern border. Trump has been in office for three years, and yet his administration has completed less than a quarter of 450 miles it promised by the end of 2020. Still, the White House is fighting to keep the construction effort funded and recently unfroze $3.6 billion in DHS funding that was held up by a federal ruling. Wall construction still faces challenges with private landowners. The Washington PostThe Department of Homeland Security is straying further from one of its former core missions of cybersecurity as Trump’s crackdown on immigrants and border security have drawn resources and energy away from the topic. “DHS has essentially become the Department of Immigration and Border Security rather than Homeland Security,” said David Lapan, a former press secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Officials are now worried as tensions with Iran continue to worsen. Washington Examiner