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Early Arrival: Trump Escalates War Against Green Light Law, Cuomo Says

Wednesday's edition of Early Arrival: Vocal Opponent of Green Light Law Wins Award for Passport Program — Pennsylvania’s Immigrant Voters Could Swing the State — Supreme Court Hears Immigration Cases

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that the Trump administration is escalating its battle with the state over its Green Light Law, namely by canceling a Medicaid grant that will cost the state $600 million. This comes on top of the administration holding up funding for the Second Avenue subway and the Gateway Tunnel to New Jersey, as well as blocking New Yorkers from enrolling in Trusted Traveller programs. “They see New York as a Democratic state. They don’t believe they are politically viable here,” Cuomo said to explain Trump’s vengeance.

The contested issue is the state’s landmark Green Light Law, which grants undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses. Written into the law is a provision that forbids the Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing data on program applicants with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Trump administration is demanding access to that data. NY1 reported that the federal government could escalate the fight further by blocking or delaying the congestion pricing program, which was set to take effect early next year. The money that would have been raised from the congestion pricing program would have been used to improve the subways. 

Cuomo has faced opposition from the state’s Republican party over the Green Light Law. “Every state in the nation allows DHS, Department of Homeland Security, to access their DMV database, including the 14 other states that provide illegal immigrants with driver’s licenses,” said Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island and Brooklyn. Malliotakis was tapped by State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay to lead Republicans in the State Senate to gain access to the DMV database. NY1, The Staten Island Advance

Supreme Court Hears Immigration Related Cases, Trump Calls on Sotomayor to Recuse Herself After She Writes Scathing ‘Public Charge’ Dissent

The Supreme Court is having an active week in immigration decisions. On Tuesday, it ruled that the parents of a 15-year-old boy cannot sue the federal agent who fatally shot him by firing across the US-Mexico border. On the same day, the justices seemed skeptical that a 1986 law making it illegal to “encourage” unauthorized immigration could be squared with the First Amendment.

In 2010, Mexican citizen Sergio Hernandez Guereca was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent, Jesus Mesa Jr. Hernandez, while he was playing with friends on the boundary between El Paso, Texas, from Juarez, Mexico. The three teens dared each other to cross the unmarked border, touch the fence on the U.S. side and then run back. Mesa Jr. detained one of the boys for illegally crossing the border, but Hernandez ran away. Mesa drew his weapon and shot the 15-year-old in the head. Hernandez’s family sued Mesa after the U.S. refused to extradite Hernandez. The justices sided with the federal government. “A cross-border shooting is by definition an international incident,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote

The other case involved Evelyn Sineneng-Smith, a woman who formerly ran an immigration consulting firm in San Jose, Calif. Her clients worked without authorization in the home health care industry. Sineneng-Smith had been helping some get green cards through a Labor Department program, but after it expired she continued filing applications she knew had no teeth. She was convicted of mail fraud and violating a 1986 law making it illegal to encourage undocumented immigration.

The justices were skeptical of Sineneng-Smith’s claims and asked for other examples of people being prosecuted. One Massachusetts woman was found in violation of the law in 2012 when she hired an undocumented immigrant to clean her home andoffered general advice about immigration law. “I would submit,” Mark C. Fleming, the lawyer for Sineneng-Smith said, “that the First Amendment is wisely designed to protect us from just this kind of a law.” The case is still ongoing. NBC NewsThe New York TimesPresident Trump meanwhile called on Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves in all Trump-related cases in a pair of tweets. “Trying to ‘shame’ some into voting her way?” Trump said of Sotomayor. “She never criticized Justice Ginsberg when she called me a ‘faker’. Both should recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump-related matters! While ‘elections have consequences’, I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court!” Trump was provoked by Sotomayor’s dissent in a case before the court which allowed the administration’s “public charge” rule to go into effect. The Washington Post

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