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Early Arrival: Rensselaer County Sheriff Renews ICE Cooperation Program

Friday's Edition of Early Arrival: Some Immigrants Avoid New York Hospitals Because of Public Charge Rule — Unaccompanied Minors Swiftly Deported Nationwide — House Democratss Request Answers on Family Separation in Detention

The Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office has renewed its contract for a program that will deputize local law enforcement officials to enforce immigration law.

Sheriff Patrick Russo sent a memo to the Rensselaer County Legislature on Wednesday that he renewed the county’s 287(g) agreement until June 2021. Rensselaer County is the only county in New York that participates in the 287(g) program.

Nationwide, there are 77 law enforcement agencies in 21 states that participate in the program. The move drew criticism from advocates and civil liberties organizations. Albany Times-Union

Local

Some Immigrants Avoid New York Hospitals Because of Public Charge Rule

????Documented Original: With the Bronx emerging as the City’s COVID-19 capital, many immigrants of various legal statuses are confused about whether the public charge rule will affect them if they seek medical help for the virus. The new regulations, which were first implemented in February, could deny an individual a green card or a visa extension if an immigration officer determined that they would be dependent on certain public assistance programs. While the federal government maintains that seeking help for COVID-19 will not impact public charge determinations, fears remain. Read more at Documented.

Thomson Reuters Analysts Process Data to Help ICE Agents Make Arrests, Documents Show

????Documented Original: Thomson Reuters plays a more active role in ICE enforcement than previously understood, according to analysis of documents Latinx advocacy organization Mijente provided to Documented. Solicitation documents for a $4 million contract between Thomson Reuters Special Services and the Department of Homeland Security detail expected data services for ICE’s Targeting Operations Division. The documents stipulate that the company builds a “continuous monitoring and alert system” that gathers credit history, property information, employer records, real time jail bookings, phone numbers, addresses, and much more for ICE tracking and arrest of targeted individuals. Read more at Documented.

More NJ Farmworkers Test Positive for COVID-19

More than 50 migrant workers at a large produce farm in Gloucester County, New Jersey have tested positive for COVID-19. This comes after 59 workers tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month in Salem County. The workers were tested last week as part of a statewide initiative from the NJ Department of Health to test all migrant workers in South Jersey. All of the workers who tested positive have been quarantined off-site, the township’s mayor said. Each year around this time, 20,000 to 25,000 seasonal workers come to South Jersey to harvest produce and fruit. NJ Spotlight

National

Unaccompanied Minors Swiftly Deported Nationwide

Unaccompanied minors are being quickly deported after attempting to cross the border in a reversal of longstanding safeguards granted to migrant children by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Historically, migrants who showed up to the border without adult guardians were provided with shelter, education, medical care and a long process that allows them to make a case for staying in the U.S. But lately, some migrants have been deported within hours of stepping on American soil. Last week, Documented reported about ICE agents attempting to arrest a 14-year-old girl from the shelter where she was living. Her lawyer was able to halt the proceedings and a judge issued an order that prevented ICE from deporting her. The New York Times

Immigration Cases Referred to Federal Prosecutors Drop Under Coronavirus

The number of immigration cases referred to federal prosecutors plunged during the first weeks of the Coronavirus pandemic, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse of Syracuse University. During February and the first half of March, CBP and ICE referred an average of 4,500 cases per week, largely illegal reentry cases. Case referrals fell to 1,800 during the last week of March. CBP and ICE accounted for over half of all federal criminal referrals during the first half of 2020. CBP dropped from a high of about 600 cases per week in January to less than 100 at the end of March. ICE averaged about 100 during January and February and fell to slightly above 40 by March 31. The Crime Report

Philadelphia’s Free Immigration Court Representation Program May Be Cut Over Coronavirus Related Deficit

Facing a large budget shortfall driven by the coronavirus, Philadelphia now may cut its one-year-old legal representation program for immigrants, according to the Pennsylvania Immigrant Family Unity Project. Mayor Jim Kenney announced the project in July, saying it would help the city “push back on the hate being driven by the White House” and “remain a place where everyone, including immigrants, feels safe and welcome.” The project was made possible through a partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice. PAIFUP represented 28 clients in its first year in existence, and was successful at getting 13 people released to their families. The city currently faces $650 million in budget cuts, five times the deficit Philadelphia faced following the Great Recession of 2008. The Philadelphia Inquirer

Guatemalan President Fumes as Deportees Continue to Test Positive for COVID-19

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei is reportedly growing more upset over the U.S.’s decision to deport more Guatemalans who tested positive for COVID-19. “Guatemala is an ally of the United States, but the United States is not Guatemala’s ally. They don’t treat us like an ally,” Giammattei said. Guatemala has confirmed 119 deportees arrived with COVID-19. Most recently, 16 deportees tested positive for COVID-19 on a May 13 flight. ICE said all 65 passengers on the flight had been tested, and that 15 others had been returned to detention after testing positive. Giammattei said the infected deportees were causing problems in Guatemala. Associated Press

Foreign-born Health Care Workers Volunteer to Fight Coronavirus

Thousands of foreign-born health care workers in the U.S. are providing critical care amid the coronavirus pandemic, making up 17% of the American health care and social services sector. Health care professionals from abroad face many hurdles to get into the field in the U.S., partly due to American institutions not transferring education credentials from other countries. The International Rescue Committee launched the Refugees Rescue program to help immigrants and refugees with medical degrees volunteer to fight the coronavirus. Refugees from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been volunteering through the program. HuffPost

Washington — House Democrats Request Answers on Family Separation in Detention

House Democrats sent a letter to ICE on Thursday requesting an explanation for reported incidents where the agency asked migrant families in detention to chose between staying with their children or releasing them. 

Advocates and immigration lawyers said families in detention were asked last week by ICE if they wanted their child to remain in custody with the parent or be turned over to a sponsor in the U.S. Families at Berks in Pennsylvania, South Texas (Dilley), and Karnes County Family Residential Centers in Texas all recounted similar stories. ICE vehemently denied that this had occurred. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf even responded to a tweet by Chelsea Clinton saying the story had debunked. 

“The administration must stop using this public health crisis as a means for implementing unlawful and inhumane immigration policies. In these extraordinary times, human suffering need not be compounded by locking up families or instilling fear in the hearts of migrant parents,” the letter said. CNN

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