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New Jersey Undocumented Immigrants Can’t Get Driver’s Licenses Yet

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed implementation of New Jersey’s law to allow residents without legal status to get driver’s licenses.

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission originally projected it could accommodate a law taking effect Jan. 1 to allow residents without legal status to get driver’s licenses. But Motor Vehicle Commission officials announced last week they could not meet the deadline and blamed the pandemic for the delay. “The demands on MVC due to COVID-19 have made it impossible for us to complete the training and software changes required to implement it,” MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton said in a statement. Over 440,000 residents are expected to benefit from the law, though immigrant advocacy groups said it could expose applicants’ citizenship status to the federal government. NJ.com 

In other local immigration news…

New York’s Population Continues to Shrink

The U.S. Census Bureau announced last week that New York lost the most people over the past 10 years of any state. New York’s population dropped by 126,355 between July 2019 and 2020, close to one percent of the total population. A New York-based think tank, Empire Center, believes declining immigration rates could explain the population drop. A fifth of those New Yorkers who left went to Florida, as upstaters likely sought the southern state’s lower taxes and warmer weather. Other theories include lower birth rates and deaths related to COVID-19. Lohud 

Here’s a quick look back at what Documented published these past few weeks while Early Arrival hibernated:

Delivery Workers Struggling to Survive the Pandemic

📍Documented Original Gustavo Ajchee can make $400 to $500 a week working for food delivery apps DoorDash and Relay. When the weather is lousy, he can make closer to $800. But making a living means he has to work six days a week, 10 hours a day — and it’s exhausting. He can only make so much if he works six days a week for more than 10 hours a day. It’s exhausting. As a veteran delivery worker, he often finds himself thinking about the good old days when workers were directly employed by a restaurant. That’s not to mention the dangerous conditions the largely immigrant workforce faces as they travel miles on bikes to make deliveries in a pandemic. Read more at Documented 

Advocates Skeptical Of ICE’s Plans to Vaccinate Detainees

📍Documented Original Nursing home staff and health care workers are starting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in New York, and the state is working to finalize who will get the vaccine next. That group could include incarcerated people, including at least 273 immigrants in seven Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers across New York. ICE said it is working with its contract facilities to ensure all detainees receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, but couldn’t provide a timeline as to when that will happen. The New York State Department of Health had no clear public plan either. And with immigrant detainees already subject to unsafe conditions throughout the pandemic, advocates are skeptical of the distribution process. Read more at Documented 

Scams Targeting Latinos Via Messaging Apps

📍Documented Original In recent months, Documented received alerts about online scams targeting Latinos in New York. These WhatsApp and Facebook posts appeared to be from major corporations or celebrities offering help in the form of cash, groceries and other incentives. But chances are these posts are scams targeting Latino immigrants as part of a larger scheme to get personal information, put malware on user’s phones or steal their money. We’ve compiled giveaway schemes that are actually scams targeting Latinos, thanks to contributions from members of our WhatsApp community. We also asked the companies allegedly running these giveaways to confirm if they are true. Read more at Documented

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