New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Friday the state plans to sue the Trump administration over its decision to block New York residents from participating in Trusted Traveler Programs, including Global Entry.
The Department of Homeland Security announced the block on Wednesday, which Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said was in response to New York’s Green Light Law. The law, which went into effect in December, allows undocumented immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses. It also blocks the Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing information with federal immigration authorities without a court order. The Trump administration said it would lift the ban if it was granted access to the state’s motor vehicle records.
The block on Trusted Traveler programs affects approximately 50,000 state residents who have applications pending for the program and another 175,000 New Yorkers whose memberships expire this year and are at risk of not being able to renew. Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program is not included in the ban.
Officials said the attorney general’s lawsuit would argue that the federal government violated the state’s sovereign immunity, among other things. The New York Civil Liberties Union said on Friday that it would file a separate lawsuit against DHS but would work in conjunction with the attorney general’s office. The New York Times
Brooklyn Borough President: ICE Agents Should Wear Body Cams
Gaspar Avenando-Hernandez, the target of an ICE arrest that resulted in Eric Diaz-Cruz being shot in the face by ICE agents on Thursday, was dragged out of Maimonides Medical Center in shackles on Friday. Protestors failed in attempts to block the SUV from carrying him away. ICE agents attempted to arrest Avendano-Hernandez at his Gravesend home on Thursday before his girlfriend’s two sons came out to protect him. Diaz-Cruz was one of them, and ICE agents tasered and shot him in the face. He was awaiting surgery on Friday as this happened. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called on ICE agents to start wearing body cameras to increase transparency. The New York Daily News
DHS Block on NEXUS Could Hurt Western New York
Residents near the US–Canada border are worried the block on New Yorkers having access to Trusted Traveler programs will set off a slow-moving disaster. All New Yorkers with a NEXUS card, which grants quicker access across the Canadian border, will lose access when their card expires. Cars utilizing Nexus account for about 25 percent of the current passenger traffic at the Peace Bridge that connects Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario, and nearly all of the traffic that connects Niagara Falls, New York with Canada on the Whirlpool Bridge. A block on NEXUS could have a devastating impact on Western New York’s economy, officials said, as several local industries rely on cross-border travel. The Buffalo News
Immigration Enforcement Accesses Cell Phone Tracking
A commercial database that tracks the movements of millions of cellphones in the U.S. has been acquired for use by federal immigration authorities, The Wall Street Journal reports. DHS used the information to detect undocumented immigrants and others who may be entering the U.S., and ICE has used the data to help identify targets for arrests. Customs and Border Protection use the database to check for cell phone activity in remote parts of the Mexican border. DHS started buying location data from Venntel Inc. in 2017. CBP argued that the data is anonymized and doesn’t include cellular phone tower data, which has been singled out for extra protection by the Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal
ICE Blocked from Filing Detainers Using Faulty Database
A federal judge has blocked ICE from relying on databases deemed faulty in order to file detainer requests in the Central District of California. ICE files detainer requests to ask local law enforcement to hold inmates so they can potentially be transferred into ICE custody. Sanctuary jurisdictions typically don’t honor these requests. Despite the geographic limit on the ruling, it includes ICE’s Pacific Enforcement Response Center in Laguna Niguel, which makes requests around the country. The White House slammed the ruling, saying in a statement that it undermines the pillars of immigration enforcement. The Associated Press
Sacred Sites Blown Up For Border Wall
Several sites sacred to Native American groups have been blown up as part of the construction of President Trump’s border barrier. Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is an internationally recognized biosphere and at least a dozen Native American groups claim a connection to grounds within the monument. Yet construction crews working on the border barrier began blasting through parts of the site, according to Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). Members of the Tohono O’odham Nation have buried members of opposing tribes at the site where construction is currently happening. CBP said there is an “environment monitor” at the blast sites. The Washington Post
Ranchers Blindsided by Trump’s Wall
Malpai Borderlands Group, a coalition of ranchers, felt blindsided by the decision to build a border barrier on the U.S.–Mexico border. The group works to protect around 800,000 acres of rangeland in Arizona and New Mexico. MacArthur Foundation genius grant winner and founding member of the group Bill McDonald said he feels betrayed by the government over its decision to build the wall. They had previously had a positive relationship with Border Patrol, assisting with surveillance. He was dismayed to hear the wall would cut through the land they had fought to protect. High Country News
Family Separated by Remain in Mexico is ReunitedA Guatemalan family separated due to the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program was reunited at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Thursday. Maudy Constanza, Hanz Morales and their three children had been apart for seven months. The ACLU of Massachusetts had filed a lawsuit on the family’s behalf in federal court which the government agreed to settle. Nearly 60,000 asylum seekers have been sent back to Mexico to wait for their asylum proceedings to make their way through immigration court. Morales was forced to wait in Mexico with their 9-year-old son while Constanza and her two daughters were allowed to enter the U.S. Associated Press
Washington — Trump to Request More Wall Funding in Budget
President Trump is expected to request additional funding for his border wall on Monday. He intends to ask Congress for an additional $2 billion of border wall funding inside a $4.8 trillion budget bill.
The budget stands little chance of success and is effectively a tool for Trump to message his re-election priorities. Immigration features heavily in the campaign, as do spending cuts over the next decade. He plans to ask for $15.6 billion for CBP, a seven percent increase, and $9.9 billion for ICE, a 23 percent increase. The Trump administration’s previous demand for funding for the border wall led to a government shutdown, but he has since diverted $6.7 billion in funds from the military to pay for the wall. Trump plans to use a further $7.2 billion of those funds this year. He does not intend to allocate funds to reimburse the military. The New York Times
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