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Federal Immigration Review Office Pushes Back on New Jersey Lawsuit

New Jersey lawyers are trying to stop in-person immigration hearings while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stop disease spread

Max Siegelbaum

Aug 28, 2020

EOIR, Immigration Court, El Paso, Texas

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The federal government on Wednesday pushed back against a group of New Jersey lawyers’ efforts to halt in-person immigration hearings while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The Executive Office of Immigration Review opposed a motion from the New Jersey chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association that sought a preliminary injunction on in-person proceedings at the Newark Immigration Court. EOIR said allegations that courthouse conditions were conducive to spreading coronavirus were “simply not true.” “Even before the pandemic, EOIR offered videoconferencing for non-detained hearings through EOIR’s video teleconferencing (“VTC”) proprietary software,” the agency said. The agency said attorneys could appear remotely “by simply making a motion to do so.” Law 360

In other local immigration news…

New Jersey Advocates Say License Rules Hurt the Undocumented

New Jersey advocates say guidelines around the issuance of driver’s licenses for immigrants in the state create “unnecessary barriers” that could deter up to 200,000 eligible residents from applying. Applicants must show proof they live in New Jersey and proof of their Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or receive a letter from the Social Security Administration which states why they are ineligible for a Social Security number. Advocates say this may deter some people from applying, and argued the state could not require a letter from a federal agency for a state license. northjersey.com

City ID Agencies Are Slow to Reopen

New York City is slowly reopening, but it has still been hard to get government-issued identification, applicants say. IDNYC offices that closed in March have not reopened and DMV appointments are hard to come by. For immigrants, the inability to obtain legal forms of ID opens up fears of interacting with local authorities, especially because the undocumented became newly eligible for driver’s licenses this year. “Any interactions with the NYPD, for example, or when you go into a hospital, when you are trying to enroll your kids in school, you are going to need an ID and all of those are critical especially in this moment during a pandemic,” said Anu Joshi, vice president of policy for the New York Immigration Coalition. THE CITY

Health Care Workers Who Died of Coronavirus Were Largely Born Outside the U.S.

A Guardian and Kaiser Health News project found that nearly one-third of healthcare workers who were confirmed to have died of COVID-19 were born outside the U.S. These doctors and nurses came to the U.S. from all over the world, including Dr. Reza Chowdhury, who studied medicine in his native country of Bangladesh before he immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago. When the pandemic arrived, Chowdhury’s daughter begged him to stay home, but he kept working until he died April 9. Chowdhury belonged to a network of nonprofit health care providers in New York called SOMOS, which lost 12 of its physicians and nurse practitioners to Covid-19. The Guardian and Kaiser Health News

Max Siegelbaum

Co-executive Director of Documented




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