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Some New Jersey Farmworkers are Frustrated with Safety Efforts

New Jersey labor leaders say the state needs to take action to test and protect migrant farmworkers, as well as keep them informed of COVID-19 facts

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Filemón Matías runs Jersey Labor Services, which helps connect migrant workers to farms in need of their labor, and has been testing his workers for coronavirus before they’re sent to farms. In mid-June, a group of 65 migrant workers approached him for work. Half of them refused to get tested because they traveled from Florida, where they believed the hot weather killed the coronavirus, and found jobs through other contractors. But of the remaining 35 workers, five tested positive for the coronavirus. Matías sent them to quarantine and gave them $400 each for lost wages, wiping out his testing funding. Matías is worried about the health of workers and the impact it will have on the state’s agricultural industry, especially if the state doesn’t take action. The Philadelphia Inquirer

In other local immigration…

Potential USCIS Furloughs Will Halt Immigration

In recent weeks, 13,400 USCIS employees have received a furlough notice, scheduled to go into effect August 3, 2020, for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 90. USCIS is funded by immigration-related application and petition fees. COVID-19 and the administration’s “suspension of entry of immigrants who present a risk to the US labor market” has, by USCIS estimates, decreased the number of applications and fees associated with them by 61 percent. Lawyers and advocates are unsure what the toll of these furloughs on immigrants could be. “Before, even with the bans, you could file to adjust or change or status or extend your stay, now that won’t even be an option,”  said Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, a former USCIS employee and Director of Government Relations of American Immigrations Lawyers Association. “The furlough will hurt our members and practices, but it will impact American families, businesses and individuals who are here and have been here, living and working lawfully the most,” Read more at Documented

Bill Banning Courthouse Arrests Proceeds

The New York State Assembly passed the Protect Our Courts Act on Monday, which will prohibit civil arrests against anyone traveling to or from a court proceeding without a warrant signed by a judge. ICE arrests in or around courthouses rose over 1000 percent under President Trump. The practice dissuaded undocumented immigrants from participating in the court system, lawyers and prosecutors said. “Federal immigration officials are not local law enforcement officers,” Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) said. “They do not have the jurisdiction or authority to arrest people for crimes or any offenses that are not related to immigration.” The bill will still have to pass the state senate. The Daily Freeman

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