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State senators voted to pass a bill that will block U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from making arrests in or around New York courthouses without a judicial warrant. Now, the bill will be sent up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) desk for its final approval. Manhattan Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman urged its final approval. “We cannot allow our courthouses to become a hunting ground for federal agents attempting to round up immigrant New Yorkers,” Hoylman said.
Advocates and law enforcement officials have been pushing to stop courthouse arrests for years. ICE arrests at courthouses spiked over 1700 percent since 2016, according to the Immigrant Defense Project. Agents arrested immigrants at criminal, civil and specialized intervention court hearings, like New York’s innovative human trafficking court. This has dissuaded many immigrants from participating in the criminal justice system, including testifying in court in other cases and even being convicted or exonerated of crimes they’re accused of committing.
Documented obtained documents showing employees of the state courts were collaborating with ICE agents to help make arrests. Transcripts of depositions of ICE officials Documented also obtained further detailed how involved the state courts were in making these arrests. Cuomo has previously signaled he would support a bill that would protect immigrants from arrests at State Courthouses. Spectrum News
In other local immigration news…
NYC Citizenship Oaths Begin Again
Immigrants from three dozen countries took the oath of citizenship on Wednesday in Manhattan, one of the first times since U.S. Citizen and immigration Services stopped processing naturalization cases due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now the agency says it is back on track to continue swearing in new American citizens. “I want to vote, I’m ready to vote,” Denise Johnson Green, one of the people who was sworn in, said. It is unclear if and how the financial crisis at USCIS will affect the citizenship ceremonies moving forward. NY1
DHS to Reopen Global Entry to New Yorkers
The Department of Homeland Security said it would resume allowing New York state residents to enroll in Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs. The federal government suspended state residents from applying for the traveler programs in February over New York’s refusal to share driver’s license data with federal authorities. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said his department shut down access to the program because it didn’t have enough information to perform background checks on applicants. Still, Customs and Border Protection has shut down enrollment centers through Sept. 8. The Wall Street Journal
Rent Relief Program is an ‘Endless Pit of Despair’
When Sophie Adams tried to apply for rent relief for her mother, an out-of-work shopkeeper in the East Village, she kept getting the same message: “Whoa, hold it! You are not authorized to access this page.” Adams is also a software developer identified a flaw in the site’s code that prevented it from storing her mother’s information. A call to the state helpline went dead, and when she eventually got through to a representative, he told her to wait until it was fixed. Adams eventually filled out a paper application. “It’s just an endless pit of despair,” she said. The $100 million rent relief program is riddled with bureaucratic hurdles and language barriers which make it nearly inaccessible for the people who need it most. Gothamist