President Donald Trump and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) met Thursday to discuss providing some DMV information about immigrant residents in exchange for reinstating New Yorkers’ access to Trusted Traveler programs, which the Department of Homeland Security cancelled over New York’s Green Light driver’s license law. The state sued the Trump administration on Monday over the cancellation of the traveler programs. “I’m cooperating. Will you now stop doing what you’re doing, which is gratuitous and retaliatory?” Cuomo said, addressing Trump directly on CNN.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that New Yorkers would no longer be eligible to apply to certain programs that expedite international travel: Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. New York quickly responded by filing a lawsuit in federal court. The cancellation came in response to the Green Light law, which allowed undocumented drivers to apply and receive licenses. Built into that legislation is a clause that prevents the state DMV from sharing data collected in the process with ICE.
In attempt to offer a truce, Cuomo said he would provide the federal government with some DMV data. Trump responded by tweeting “New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!” a dig at Cuomo’s brother, Chris Cuomo, who had a viral moment when he got into a confrontation with a diner who called him ‘Fredo’ at a restaurant. After the meeting, Cuomo’s communications director Dani Lever said Trump wants to work on the issue and will follow up next week. Politico
New York Moves Toward Banning Investments into Private Prisons
Private prisons have been illegal in New York State since 2007. But in a further blow to the industry, State Sen. Brian Benjamin (D-Harlem) introduced Bill 5433A, which passed on Thursday and “prohibits state-chartered banking institutions from investing in and providing financing for private prisons.” The bill affects 205 financial institutions chartered in New York. As major corporate banks pull out of the industry, the bill, should it be codified, will put a further dent into the coffers of companies like GEO Group and CoreCivic. Forbes (opinion)
White Supremacist Activity Grows in New Jersey
Reports of white supremacist flyers and other propoganda has more than tripled in New Jersey last year. It put the state at the top of the country in terms of increase in hate activity, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL’s Center on Extremism documented 143 cases of supremacist material in New Jersey in 2019. The materials typically targeted Jews, black people, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community according to Oren Segal, the ADL’s vice president for the Center on Extremism. White supremacists have become more active on college campuses as well, including eight in New Jersey, according to the ADL. Bergen Record
New York Vehicles Blocked From Export
DHS announced this week it has put all exports of New York-titled and -registered vehicles on hold until further notice. “Effective immediately, all exports of New York titles or New York registrations vehicles will be placed on hold,” an email from CBP read. This development comes shortly after DHS also blocked New Yorkers from applying for or renewing membership in trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry and NEXUS and others over New York’s immigrant driver’s license law. “Vehicles titled in New York may be deprioritized for export, as resource limitations require when supporting documents cannot be authenticated through information sharing with New York DMV,” CBP said in a statement. Jalopnik
Arizona Military Programs Face Over $1 Billion in Budget Cuts over Border Wall
Two military programs in Southern Arizona may see budget cuts of nearly $1.4 billion due to the Trump administration siphoning $3.8 billion for its border wall. U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said the cuts would include $156 million in funding for the F-35 program, which includes aircraft based at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix and a Marine corps base in Yuma. The cuts will also slash $1.3 billion from the National Guard and Reserve Equipment budget. “The president is now trying to steal money from our National Guard to pay for his vanity wall project,” said U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.). “Not only does this action disregard our separation of powers and constitutional system, it also compromises our national security by taking away valuable resources.” Tucson Sentinel
California Court Ruling Overturns Illegal Entry Convictions
Oracio Corrales-Vasquez, a Mexican citizen, was found by Border Patrol agents in 2019 hiding in bushes about 20 miles east of the Tecate, Mexico, point of entry. He was convicted of illegal entry in federal court in San Diego. He appealed the charges and his lawyers argued that the government erred in charging him with eluding examination, saying those examinations could only happen at “places and times designated for examination or inspection by immigration officer.” Corrales-Vasquez did not enter the country through a point of entry so he didn’t enter a place he could be inspected. Hundreds of illegal entry convictions may be overturned thanks to that decision. Voice of San Diego
Immigrants Waiting Longer for Bond Hearings
Attorneys with clients held in New Mexico have found at least 174 immigrants who were held for months without a bond hearing. ICE only began scheduling bond hearings at ICE’s Otero County Processing Center after attorneys threatened a federal lawsuit on Jan. 27. Court administrators blamed the delays on the deprioritization of bond hearings. Meanwhile, Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli said plans were underway to expedite the cases of asylum seekers from Central America and Mexico. Attorneys said they used to have bond hearings within a week and now are having to wait for months. BuzzFeed News
Federal Judge Orders ICE to Restore Hotline
A federal judge has ordered ICE to restore an immigration hotline that was shut down last year after it was featured on the popular TV show “Orange Is the New Black.” Freedom for Immigrants, the nonprofit that created the hotline service that connects immigrants with their families, support, and legal representation in 2013, sued after ICE shut down the hotline. They argued ICE only ended the service, which immigrants could use to report abuse and mistreatment, because the popular TV show had drawn attention to it. U.S. District Court Judge André Birotte Jr. issued an injunction on the federal government’s rule, saying it “likely retaliated” against the organization’s First Amendment rights. New York Daily News
Errors Found in Public Charge Documents
Documents detailing how to implement the federal government’s public charge rule are riddled with errors, MuckRock reports.Under the new rule, lawful permanent resident and visa applicants will face a more rigorous evaluation of whether they are or could become a “public charge,” and their applications can be rejected or denied accordingly. But there are numerous errors in the policy’s guidance, including a rule that tells evaluators to consider the very fact of applying for a green card to be a negative. Applying for a green card would be the only reason they’re subjected to the evaluation in the first place. MuckRock
Miller Ally Appointed as DHS Chief Counsel, Kushner’s Revives Immigration Plan, Kelly Speaks Up
Chad Mizelle has been appointed chief counsel of DHS, causing concern due to his alliance with President Trump’s anti-immigration advisor Stephen Miller. In his new role, Mizelle will advise DHS leadership on legal issues. The move comes as the department is embroiled in a number of legal battles.
Mizelle has less than ten years of experience as a lawyer and will now run an office where he oversees 2,500 attorneys. Critics argue he was appointed because he is likely to be loyal to Trump and Miller, and not due to his competencies in running the office. The previous general counsel John Mitnick was fired after Miller reportedly wanted him out. CNN
Jared Kushner has been trying to revive discussions to overhaul the U.S. immigration system now that Trump’s impeachment trial has ended. His effort has come in response to lobbying from business groups. Immigration restrictionist group the Federation for American Immigration Reform said there was a lot to like about Kushner’s new plan. NPRFormer DHS Secretary and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he disagreed with Trump about the scope of the problem of immigrants crossing the border without authorization. He disapproved of the president’s language about migrants, saying that “they’re overwhelmingly good people … They’re not all rapists and they’re not all murderers.” The Atlantic