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Immigrant Taxi Drivers Struggle with Medallion Debt

Plus: A Haitian immigrant in Queens gets pardon after 2 decades, and asylum seekers allege abuse by border authorities

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The New York Taxi Workers Alliance have camped out 24 hours a day outside of city hall for the last month demanding Mayor Bill de Blasio provide them with a city-backed guarantee medallion relief program and began a hunger strike. Dorothy LeConte is one of these taxi drivers who owes $558,000, with monthly payments of $2,000. “Sometimes, I think about suicide,” she told In These Times. The Haitian immigrant said when she has thoughts like that, she always thinks back to her children. According to a January 2020 report by the Taxi Medallion Task Force, the median debt for the taxi driver-owner workforce, which is mainly made up of immigrants, is $500,000. In These Times 

In other local immigration news…

Haitian Immigrant Waited Two Decades for a Pardon

📍 Documented Original
After two decades, Roland Sylvain was given a pardon for a minor criminal conviction, granted by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Sylvain said this pardon finally opened up the doors to a dream that seemed difficult to reach: the chance to live in the U.S. with loved ones without the constant fead of deportation. According to his attorney, Jessica Rofé, he can now be granted a waiver of deportation. The Queens resident was born in Haiti and immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 as a child. Sylvain has lived in the U.S. for decades as a legal permanent resident and hasn’t stepped foot in Haiti since. Read more at Documented.

Asylum Seeker Allegedly Endured Abuse by Border Authorities

Human Rights Watch released records saying that since 2016, U.S. asylum officers recorded dozens of migrants’ allegations that U.S. border agents physically abused them after being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. The New York-based nonprofit sued for copies of asylum officers’ internal reports that detailed alleged misconduct committed by U.S. and Customs and Border Protection agents. Under U.S. immigration law, migrants who are arrested by border agents are referred for an interview with asylum officers if they fear returning home. Records show migrants brought up verbal and physical abuse by border agents during their interviews. Reuters 

NYC Mayoral Candidates Speak on NY as a Sanctuary City at Debate

On Wednesday night, both New York City mayoral candidates held a debate where they answered a series of questions in preparation for the Nov. 2 general election. When asked about continuing to call New York City a sanctuary city, Democratic candidate Eric Adams said he wants to continue protecting immigrants and ensure NYC is a sanctuary city. Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa felt differently. He asked how could the city reject Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it tracked down MS 13 and other dangerous groups, the “vicious predators of their own people.” He said, “We have to have some cooperation with ICE.” Deanna Garcia for Documented.

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