At least 192,000 undocumented workers in New York City have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs.
The report estimated that nearly one in six NYC jobs lost due to the pandemic were held by an undocumented worker. These workers are explicitly excluded from receiving support from federal stimulus packages.
The city recently announced a $20 million gift from the Open Society Foundation that will provide cash assistance for undocumented workers. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $125 million public-private fund for undocumented workers. Gothamist
Farmworkers Continue to Work With Little Protection
The Department of Homeland Security has deemed farmworkers essential during the coronavirus pandemic, but their health and protection haven’t gotten the same attention. Growing numbers of farmworkers in upstate New York are testing positive for COVID-19, according to advocates who work in the region. Farms in New York state are mainly staffed by immigrants, many of whom are undocumented. An Adelphi University report about farms in Hudson Valley region found that 92 percent were neither legal residents nor citizens, while 71 percent were undocumented and 21 percent were guest workers. County health departments are conducting workshops on COVID-19 at farms that request them, as well as coronavirus testing. Read more at Documented
Only ICE Office in NYC Accepting Bond Payments Has Closed
The only place in New York City for Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees to pay bond is closed due to coronavirus, leaving many immigrants who have won release from detention stranded. Immigrants in New Jersey detention centers who are frightened for their lives as the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to swell face difficulty getting out even if a judge has agreed to their release. Families have had to travel to Newark or Hartford where ICE offices are only sporadically open to make bond payments. Others have had to make contact with advocates in Minnesota and Texas to file bond payments on their behalf at open ICE offices. Gothamist
Nearly 2 Million NY Immigrants Work in Essential Businesses
Around 1.8 million immigrants in New York work in “essential businesses” and about a third of the state’s health care workers are immigrants, according to a new report from the Center for Migration Studies in New York released on Friday. “In the midst of this crisis, immigrants are sustaining our health care, food, manufacturing, and other industries,” said CMS Executive Director Donald Kerwin. Of the 1.8 million essential foreign-born workers in New York State, more than one million are naturalized citizens, 458,400 are legal noncitizens, and 342,100 are undocumented. Brooklyn Eagle
Latin American Countries Push Back on Deportations Over COVID-19 Fears
Tensions between the U.S. and Central American nations continue to escalate as the U.S. deports immigrants who are testing positive for COVID-19. Guatemala has suspended nearly all deportation flights after a large number of deportees tested positive after they arrived, prompting ICE to confirm Friday it would begin testing immigrants it was planning to deport. Rapid deportations put in place during the pandemic have also created problems for border towns in Mexico. The border state of Tamaulipas identified 16 migrants infected with the coronavirus, who allegedly caught it from a Mexican citizen they’d been detained with in Houston. The Wall Street Journal
Haiti Scientific Group Call for Pause on Deportations
Haiti received 125 deportees from the U.S. on Thursday, according to Jean Négot Bonheur Delva, the head of Haiti’s Office of National Migration. Forty-nine of the deportees were children and all of them had illegally entered the U.S., many coming from Brazil and Chile. The deportees have been placed under a 14-day quarantine where they’re being monitored for symptoms of COVID-19. A Haiti scientific group that is advising the government on how to respond to COVID-19 called for a pause on deportations, as it may lead to an outbreak that could overwhelm the country’s health infrastructure. Three deportees have already tested positive. The Miami Herald
Judge Orders ICE to Reduce the Number of Detainees
U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter in California on Thursday ordered ICE to reduce the number of detainees at the Adelanto ICE Processing facility. While he did not specify how much ICE must reduce the detainee population, he said it must decrease “to such a level that would allow the remaining detainees to maintain a social distance of six feet from each other at all times.” Federal judges across the country have been ordering ICE to release detainees from detention centers where the spread of COVID-19 has proved difficult to contain. As of Friday, 317 ICE detainees had tested positive for COVID-19 across the country. The Los Angeles Times
Remittances Decline Amid Global Shutdown
Due to the national shutdown cutting jobs, millions of immigrants in the U.S. have not been able to send money to their relatives back home, cutting off the main source of income for many families. Migrants and others sent approximately $689 billion in global remittances in 2018, according to the World Bank. The World Bank is now projecting remittances will drop by 20% this year, “the sharpest decline in recent history.” Many countries’ economies are reliant on remittances from workers. A decline in remittances, experts warn, could lead to civil unrest and political instability. Mexico is the largest recipient of money sent from the U.S. The New York Times
International Students Left in Limbo
Foreign students at U.S. universities have been left stranded by the shuttering of campuses across the country. Many who had been living in college dorms were left to find new housing far from home during the lockdown, while their citizen classmates went back to their parents’ homes. Some international students have had to turn to food banks as their bank accounts have dwindled, while others are staying at friends’ houses. Others who left the country are now unsure they will be able to return due to new restrictions placed on travel. The New York Times
Miller Says Immigration Restrictions Part of Long-Term Plan, SCOTUS Rejects Request to Pause Public Charge, Non-Citizen U.S. Troops Sue Pentagon
White House policy adviser Stephen Miller told a group of supporters during a call this week that the Trump administration intends to use the pandemic to instill long-term changes to the immigration system. In an off-the-record call with Trump surrogates on Thursday, Miller discussed the new executive order which the president had signed on Wednesday. The order limits green card applications for the next 60 days.
Contrary to their expectations, Trump’s supporters and hardline immigration restrictionists were disappointed by the executive order as it did not apply to temporary foreign workers, despite it being characterized as an order that would protect American workers during record unemployment. Miller told the group that the administration was considering new orders and he indicated it was part of a long-term vision, not just a stop-gap.
“As a numerical proposition, when you suspend the entry of a new immigrant from abroad, you’re also reducing immigration further because the chains of follow-on migration that are disrupted,” Miller said, according to The Washington Post. Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli was also on the call and said Trump had long been considering a pause on immigration. The Washington Post
The Supreme Court on Friday denied a request to place the public charge rule on hold during the pandemic. The rule makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain green cards if they use public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing vouchers. The court had previously allowed the rule to go into effect following court challenges, but states had asked the court to reconsider their decision during the pandemic. The court rejected this request but told states they could petition district courts. New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday said she would be asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to halt the rule. CNN
Six U.S. troops filed a class action lawsuit Friday alleging the Pentagon is blocking their ability to become U.S. citizens under the expedited process they’re entitled under law. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit, which alleges the Pentagon has slowed down the process of acquiring certification to become eligible for the expedited process. This certification previously took a day, but new measures installed in 2017 have made it “difficult, if not impossible, for service members to benefit from expedited naturalization.” The Hill