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Raul Contreras woke up Thursday morning to missed calls and text messages. They were from his family and friends, letting him know about the Supreme Court decision to halt President Trump’s attempt to overturn the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “It felt very much the same way as when Barack Obama announced [DACA] the first time,” Contreras told THE CITY. “There’s this huge feeling of relief. The world is full of possibility — full of opportunity,” he said, mirroring the feeling of thousands of young New York DACA recipients.
The decision came as a surprise to many around the country. “In these very difficult times, the Supreme Court provided a bright ray of sunshine this week,” said a visibly emotional Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a speech on Capitol Hill. “Wow. This decision is amazing,” he said. There are an estimated 29,000 DACA recipients living in New York City, according to the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs.
Still, uncertainty remains as the Supreme Court only rejected the termination of the program on procedural grounds, saying the government didn’t provide a sound explanation for why it was terminating the program. That fact left DACA recipients and lawmakers cautiously optimistic. “For more than two years we had lived with the fear that they would once again face separation from their families and deportation to a country that was no longer their home. But more work must be done,” Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) told THE CITY.
For many in the city, the attempted termination of DACA put their lives on edge. Zara K., who is originally from Morocco, had been saving part of her paycheck in case the program was rescinded. Others raced to renew their status as soon as possible once Trump announced its end. The Trump administration can challenge the program again, but with the impending election and popularity of the program, their road forward is unclear. THE CITY
In other New York immigration news…
Coronavirus Threatens New York’s Live Meat Markets
New York City is home to around 80 live meat markets, often in neighborhoods with large immigrant communities. But since the coronavirus pandemic began, they have been under legal threat. Bills before the New York assembly and senate have requested an immediate moratorium on all live animal markets in the city. “Many of these markets can and should be improved,” said Krishnendu Ray, an associate professor of food studies at New York University. “But calls to eliminate them serve only to invoke disgust against the small practices of small people – while leaving intact the very large systems that are threats to health, animal welfare and the environment.” The Guardian
New Jersey Temp Agencies Cram Workers into Vans Without Protections
Many people who have lost their jobs in New Jersey have found work through temp agencies, but it may have come at the expense of their health. While Gov. Phil Murphy has capped capacity on public transit at 50 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, temp agencies privately own and run vans that aren’t adhering to these precautions. Carmen Martino, a professor at Rutgers University, said pandemic job losses are creating “the makings for a new version of the Wild, Wild West. Because there’s no safety net, because there’s no unemployment for undocumented workers, temp agencies sort of become … the only social safety net that undocumented workers have.” WNYC
Survey Shows the Coronavirus Caused Widespread Damage to Black Immigrant Domestic Workers
A survey of 800 Black immigrant house cleaners, nannies and home care workers in New York City, Massachusetts and Miami found 70 percent of them had either lost their jobs or had their hours or pay cut. A quarter of the workers had experienced or lived with someone who had COVID-19 symptoms. Over half of the workers had no health insurance and nearly half said they were afraid of seeking government assistance due to their immigration status. “Black immigrant domestic workers are at the epicenter of three converging storms — the pandemic, the resulting economic depression and structural racism,” a report of the survey compiled by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Institute for Policy Studies read. HuffPost