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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday upheld New York’s Green Light Law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. This approval went against a 2019 lawsuit by Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns, who wanted to block the law and claimed it would cause him to violate U.S. immigration policy. According to WGRZ, when the law was passed last December, Kearns posted “If you see something, say something” signs in Erie County auto bureaus along with the U.S. Customs and Enforcement phone number. He also had staff take photocopies of foreign papers, despite it being against state policy. Gothamist
In other local immigration news…
Immigrant Workers Say Contractor Refused to Pay Them
About a dozen workers gathered outside a luxury apartment building in Midtown East to protest a contractor and a subcontractor who the workers say owe them about two months of back wages. The workers are accusing Mario Hernandez, who was hired by the Yonkers-based Cassaway Contracting to help do finishing work on the building. “Employers feel they can steal their wages in times of crisis,” Ligia Guallpa, executive director of the Workers Justice Project, a community-based workers’ rights organization that headed the protest. The workers said they’re owed over $29,000 and know of many others who weren’t paid as well. The group was able to get a representative from Cassaway on the phone, who said they were willing to work out a solution to pay the workers directly. A request for comment was not returned by Thursday morning. Max Siegelbaum for Documented
Venezuelan New Yorkers Suffer After Consulate is Closed
New York’s Venezuelan consulate closed in 2019, leaving Venezuelans the only Latino community in New York without a way to carry out consular paperwork. This affects their ability to renew or extend passports. Venezuelan New Yorkers said they were not able to obtain driver’s licenses, open bank accounts or perform basic “survival” tasks. On March 19, the New York consulate was transferred to the government of Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. recognized as interim president. The diplomatic staff appointed by President Nicolás Maduro was removed, and the consulate was closed. City Limits
Cuomo Concerned About COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
As COVID-19 cases rise throughout the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) outlined his three main concerns for federal response to the pandemic on Tuesday. He is worried that there is not enough funding given to states to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, that Black and brown communities will not receive the same distribution as other communities and that possible tracking methodologies that could target undocumented immigrants. He claimed that an agreement for the vaccine, which would require personal information such as a Social Security number or driver’s license, could possibly be shared with ICE and the Department of Homeland Security. Fingerlakes1.com
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