Hunger strikers fight unsafe Orange County Jail conditions — Massachusetts passes driver's license bill — Dems demand reform of Black migrants' treatment
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FEBRUARY 18, 2022

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Contractor known for dangerous job sites, theft leads $38 million NYCHA renovation

📍Documented Original
Construction company Pizzarotti LLC faces at least three lawsuits over flawed construction and failing deadlines, and 49 workers have also accused the company of wage theft. But the New York City Housing Authority still hired Pizzarotti to restore its Amsterdam Houses without vetting him. Workers have paid the price: five workers have been injured while working on the project, making Pizzarotti the contractor with the most injured workers on NYCHA properties in the last 13 months. Pizzarotti also has a track record of failing to notify the Department of Buildings about accidents, as mandated by law. All of the five accidents on the Amsterdam Houses site were not reported, a Department of Buildings official told Documented. Continue reading on Documented

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What Lawful Permanent Resident Status Means for U.S. Immigrants

📍Documented Original
Residents with lawful permanent status, also known as green card holders, can live and work in the U.S. permanently and eventually apply for citizenship. Their status allows them to apply for work, own property, receive federal financial assistance, and live permanently anywhere in the U.S. LPRs can join the armed forces and later apply for citizenship, among other benefits. In order to successfully obtain citizenship, an LPR must maintain their status for five years (or three years for those who obtain their green card through a marriage-based application) and successfully complete the citizenship test. This article is part of Documented’s Glossary, which aims to explain the U.S. immigration system. Read more about LPR on Documented.

Advocates amplify hunger strikers’ demands for healthier conditions in Orange County Jail

Immigrant advocacy groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, alleging abuse and unsafe conditions at the Orange County Jail in Goshen. Firsthand accounts from ten detained immigrants allege "jail officials individually and collectively engage in a culture of racist and retaliatory abuse, violence, and medical neglect," the complaint said. Among other allegations of racism detailed in the complaint, guards have "especially targeted Black immigrants," it alleged. The facility has previously faced allegations of mistreatment of detained immigrants, and has also undergone various Covid-related complaints since the start of the pandemic.

Community groups demand health care for Black immigrants with Coverage for All act

Activists from the New York Immigration Coalition and the African Services Committee are demanding better health care coverage for Black immigrants. They’re also asking New York State to pass Coverage for All legislation that would create a state-funded health coverage option for uninsured New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. Immigrants reportedly resorted to self-administered treatments during the pandemic because they were afraid that sharing their information would put them at risk of deportation. New York Assembly and Senate committees are currently considering the Coverage for All, which would cost around $345 million to cover uninsured New Yorkers. Amsterdam News                

Albany County donates $50K for Afghan evacuees’ legal services

Albany Law School and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants have received $50,000 from New York’s Albany County to provide legal services to Afghan evacuees. The Albany division of the committee has resettled over 300 Afghan evacuees since September. With the donation, the law school and the group will help the evacuees find a pathway to citizenship. "The U.S. government, after a thorough vetting, only provided (evacuees) with temporary status that expires two years from their date of arrival," Sara Lowry, staff attorney at USCRI, said at a press conference held at Albany Law School Thursday. "They are left extremely vulnerable at the end of those two years," Lowry added. "And to expect somebody new to our country to navigate their own way through the immigration system is preposterous." Times Union

Massachusetts House passes bill to let undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses

On Wednesday, lawmakers in Massachusetts approved a bill allowing immigrants without legal status to obtain driver's licenses. The bill won overwhelming support from Democrats, protecting it from a potential veto by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. Residents will be allowed to prove their identity using passports from their home countries and birth certificates. Supporters of the legislation say explicitly including wording that clarifies undocumented immigrants with driver's licenses can’t vote led more House members to support the bill. Advocates have been pushing for the legislation for almost 20 years, on the basis that it would address public safety and improve access to opportunities for immigrants. Boston Globe

Private prison company to pilot U.S. house arrest program for detaining immigrants

BI Incorporated, a subsidiary of the private prison company GEO Group, will test run a new "home curfew" pilot program to detain hundreds of migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Some critics have called this approach an extension of for-profit detention, as it could let private companies retain a strong presence in managing immigration enforcement. Immigrants in the program will be mandated to stay at home for 12 hours a day, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., and will be monitored with tracking devices as they await their court proceedings. The latest approach is part of the Biden administration’s "alternatives to detention" efforts. Reuters

Poll shows 70% of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

A new poll from NewsNation shows that 70% of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which recent attempts to reform immigration have focused on. It has been decades since a broad legalization measure became law, although a few small bills have since been enacted. Last year, U.S. House Democrats included a provision in their Build Back Better bill that would grant approximately 7 million undocumented immigrants legal status, but not a path to citizenship in most cases. The House also approved a bipartisan bill to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented farmworkers. Still, neither paths have a realistic chance of Senate approval. The Hill

Grassroots immigrant groups call on Congressional Hispanic Caucus to push for immigration reform

A coalition of 31 grassroots immigrant groups, led by the CHIRLA Action Fund and CASA in Action, are calling on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to push for immigration reform. The groups wrote that they were disappointed that only a few "champions for immigration solutions" made their voices heard last year as "various interests sought inclusion" in President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Before the House debated BBB in November, legislators proposed various forms of relief for undocumented immigrants in the legislation. But negotiators in the House chose a parole option to grant temporary relief to undocumented immigrants, which senators in the caucus said made it more difficult for them to negotiate for the law’s passage. The Hill

100 Democrats call on Biden to address treatment of Black migrants within U.S. immigration system

A group of more than 100 Democrats wrote a letter to President Biden, expressing deep concern over the treatment of Black migrants. They cited disturbing images and videos of border patrol agents using horses and horse reins to harm unarmed Black people at the border. The Democrats are demanding a new way forward rooted in equal treatment and protection of human rights to support immigrants and asylum seekers. As a starting point, they recommend the Department of Homeland Security, in collaboration with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, conduct a holistic review of the disparate treatment of Black migrants throughout the U.S. immigration system. They also request for the results of the review to be made available to the public, with further steps taken to remedy disparities at each step of the immigration enforcement process.

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