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Early Arrival: Cuomo Offered ICE Access to DMV Without Social Security Numbers

Monday's Edition of Early Arrival: Mother of Mexican Tourist Shot by ICE Calls for Justice — Presidential Proclamation on Health Insurance Sows Confusion — SCOTUS Sides with Government on Public Charge

Mazin Sidahmed

Feb 24, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered on Friday to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement access to the state’s Drivers and Motor Vehicles database without drivers’ Social Security Numbers. 

The DMV is barred from sharing data with ICE under the state’s Green Light Law, which was enacted in December and grants undocumented immigrants the right to get driver’s licenses. ICE has decried the law, saying it makes it harder for them to find and arrest undocumented immigrants. 

The dispute has led to an escalating conflict between Washington and Albany. The Department of Homeland Security recently blocked all New Yorkers from accessing Trusted Traveler programs such as Global Entry. 

“I would give them anything but the Social Security numbers,” Cuomo said in an interview with WAMC. “The Social Security numbers are the indicator of who is documented or undocumented. I will never give them the Social Security numbers in the DMV database.” 

According to Cuomo’s spokesperson Richard Azzopardi, President Trump rejected the idea during Cuomo’s visit to the White House earlier this month. Cuomo said after that visit that he would be willing to offer DMV records on a case-by-case basis, such as for the people applying for Trusted Traveler programs. NY State of Politics, Associated Press


Mother of Mexican Tourist Shot by ICE Calls for Justice

The mother of a Mexican tourist who was shot in the face by an ICE agent called for the agent to be held accountable. Erick Díaz-Cruz was shot in the face while trying to stop agents from arresting his mother’s boyfriend in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Díaz-Cruz filed a lawsuit against the agent last week. The incident is reportedly being investigated by the DHS Inspector General. Carmen Cruz told a press conference at Foley Square on Friday that she wants justice for her son. She called on New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the incident. Her partner was arrested by ICE and his asylum application was reportedly denied. New York Daily News 

ICE Director Slams Green Light Law

Acting Director of ICE Matthew Albence flew in from Washington for an event at the Rensselaer County sheriff’s office on Thursday where he lambasted the state’s Green Light Law. Albence argued that it imperils public safety and endangers law enforcement officers. Albence was flanked by the head of the National Sheriffs’ Association and U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith from New York’s Northern District. Albence said the law prevented agents from running plates when trying to respond to a stabbing at the home of a rabbi last year. It’s unclear why ICE was working on the case. Albany Times Union

Delgado Slams Trump’s Immigration Policies

Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) slammed the recent decision by the Trump administration to deploy Customs and Border Protection agents to so-called sanctuary cities. “I think there has been an energy, a dark energy, created around this issue, and the question is, to what end?” Delgado said. “It is very alarming what the administration is doing around the question of immigration.” Delgado represents the 19th Congressional District. He is serving his first term in office and will be up for re-election this year. Republican Kyle Van De Water announced a bid to unseat him a few months ago. The Daily Freeman


Presidential Proclamation on Health Insurance Sows Confusion

Last year’s presidential proclamation on health insurance caught many onlookers by surprise, including consular officers in the State Department who were responsible for enforcing it. The proclamation – which was enjoined by a judge – would’ve required that  immigrant visa applicants demonstrate to consular officials that they will have health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the U.S. or that they have the financial resources to cover “reasonably foreseeable costs.” According to transcripts reviewed by Documented, days before the proclamation was set to go into effect, consular officers were confused about how to evaluate immigrants’ financial resources. Read more at Documented

Government Ignoring Exceptions to Remain in Mexico

The government has largely ignored its policy of exempting people with health conditions from the Remain in Mexico policy. The policy allows officers to return migrants to Mexico to await the adjudication of their asylum claims in U.S. immigration court. However, according to DHS, migrants with sufficient fear of torture or persecution or who had known physical or mental health issues are exempt from the program. Yet lawyers and doctors at the camp in Matamoros, Mexico, where asylum seekers are waiting say the exemptions are ignored, with around 60,000 migrants returned in the program’s first year regardless of medical status. The New York Times

Greyhound Will No Longer Allow Border Patrol on Buses

Greyhound bus company said Friday it would no longer allow Border Patrol agents without a warrant to board its buses, reversing a policy that had been criticized by immigrant rights groups. The announcement followed Associated Press reporting that an internal Border Patrol memo confirmed agents could not board the bus without consent from the company. This is counter to Greyhound’s previous rationale, in which it said it had no choice under federal law but to allow agents to board buses. Greyhound said it would notify DHS that it does not consent to unwarranted searches on its buses or in areas of terminals that are not open to the public. The Associated Press

Pregnant Asylum Seekers Denied Access to Court

Pregnant asylum-seekers who are in the “Remain in Mexico” program are being turned away by CBP agents as they try to return to the U.S. for court hearings, KPBS reports. Despite being given a court date, four pregnant women told KPBS they were denied entry at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and told they could not board a bus to their court hearing. They were given new court hearings for after their due dates. Advocates say the government is delaying their hearings to avoid the prospect of them having children on U.S. soil, making the child an American citizen. KPBS

Seventh Person Dies in ICE Custody this Fiscal Year

Hernandez Colula, a 34-year-old Mexican man, has become the seventh person to die in ICE custody this fiscal year, according to BuzzFeed. The man died in an Ohio hospital on Thursday, where he was transported after ICE officials found him unresponsive in his cell. Self-inflicted strangulation appears to be the reported reason for death, although ICE said an investigation is ongoing. Colula was arrested by Border Patrol in Rochester, New York, on Dec. 4, 2014. Deaths in ICE custody are only one short of the total deaths in fiscal year 2019 despite fiscal year 2020 only being four months old. BuzzFeed News

Washington — SCOTUS Sides with Government on Public Charge, Biden Agrees to Moratorium, Latino Voters Don’t Just Care About Immigration

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of the government, again, in a challenge to its public charge rule. The court voted 5-4, with conservative judges in the majority, to lift a preliminary injunction on the order that applied to Illinois. The previous ruling from last month lifted a nationwide injunction and paved the way for the rule to go into effect on Monday.

The new order drew a scathing dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who scolded the government and her conservative colleagues. “It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the court would grant it,” she wrote. She said the government had received better treatment than death row inmates seeking last-minute stays of executions. 

The updated public charge rule is essentially a wealth test that would make it more difficult for poor immigrants to obtain green cards. It was met with a number of lawsuits, and several judges ordered injunctions on the rule. Most have been stayed upon appeal. The New York Times

Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign said it would support a moratorium on deportations of anyone in the U.S. for his first 100 days in office as president. There was confusion over his position on Saturday as immigration advocates stated he had told them he supported the moratorium, only for his campaign to deny that was true. The campaign released a joint statement on Saturday afternoon with the Latino Victory Fund issuing his absolute commitment to the moratorium. It is a position that immigration activists have pushed Biden for, and it won him an endorsement from the Latino Victory Fund. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had previously made the same pledge. BuzzFeed NewsSanders scored a large victory in the Democratic caucus in Nevada over the weekend, earning the most support from Latinos in the state along the way. But Sanders’ immigration policy may not be the reason he secured the Latino vote. Vox reports that the majority of Latino voters rank health care and the economy as the issues they find most important.  Only 11 percent of Latino voters said protecting immigrant rights is the most important issue facing the community. Vox

Mazin Sidahmed

Mazin Sidahmed is the co-executive director of Documented. He previously worked for the Guardian US in New York. He started his career writing for The Daily Star in Beirut and he also contributed to Politico New York.




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