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Dozens of New Yorkers gathered at Washington Square Park on Sunday afternoon to protest Immigration and Customs Enforcement following allegations of unwanted hysterectomies given to women at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. One protestor told NY1, “The issue hits close to home and when I hear about all the unwanted hysterectomies that they’re performing on women, I see my mother in all of those women. And if that had happened to her, I simply wouldn’t be here, so.” The allegations surfaced in a whistleblower complaint that ICE has denied. NY1
In other local immigration news…
Cuts Could Worsen Growing USCIS Backlog
While many rejoiced when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services found the funds to avoid furloughing 70 percent of its workforce, spending cuts proposed by the agency could similarly worsen the immigration system’s backlog. Since the start of the Trump administration, data shows the backlog of cases at USCIS has continuously grown, even though the number of applications has remained relatively flat. And in August, USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow announced there would be “unprecedented spending cuts” in lieu of the furlough. The planned cuts could further compound the backlog, experts say. Documented analyzed case processing data from the past five years, which also highlights the agency’s rising delays. Read more at Documented
Food Insecurity Continues During the Pandemic
La Jornada, Flushing’s largest food pantry, is feeding 10,000 families a week, up from 1,000 families per week prior to the pandemic. The need for food aid remains high as many people in the city continue to struggle with unemployment. La Jornada moved locations in mid-March, just as the pandemic was becoming severe in New York. Despite preparing for an onslaught of requests, they were overwhelmed on March 28th by a line of people that stretched 30 blocks. Increasing donations of food have helped them keep up with demand in recent weeks. Executive Director of La Jornada Pedro Rodriguez said gentrification had caused food insecurity to rise over the last decade. Gothamist
How Documented Changed its Coverage During the Pandemic
Documented’s team runs a Spanish-language news service on WhatsApp named Documented Semanal. The news service launched in 2019 as a weekly newsletter rounding up immigration news. But during the pandemic, it transformed into a responsive service where we helped answer the questions of our community members – Spanish speaking immigrants in New York City. Documented Audience Editor Nicolás Ríos described the work in a Medium post. He outlines how he ended up creating a feedback loop between us and our audience that dictated how we covered the pandemic. Documented’s Medium
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Documented was founded with the goal of making sure the people affected by our stories were also the people reading them. Immigration reporting is often extractive and isn’t produced or published with the main protagonists as the intended audience. Through our reporting and out outreach via WhatsApp, we’ve created award-winning journalism that is created with and for New York’s immigrant communities. This work is not easy and it is not cheap. Consider becoming a member today to help fuel this work. By joining the Documented Community, you can not help only provide us with the financial freedom needed to fulfill our mission but also meet others who are passionate about immigration in the New York area. Become a member today.