Debate grows over bill allowing undocumented immigrants to have NYS drivers licenses

1505b141-c2c4-46c2-ae5f-673c106dd229-large16x9_5c8fccb45c1a8.imageDebate grows over bill allowing undocumented immigrants to have NYS drivers licenses (DMV)

 

The New York Immigration Coalition protested a press conference held by the NY Conservative Party in Liverpool on Saturday that discussed preventing legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to get an NYS drivers license.

The Green Light NY Bill, which would allow undocumented immigrants the ability to get their drivers license, has gained momentum in Albany as Democrats in the State Assembly say they plan to move ahead in passing the bill.

“The experience in other states shows that allowing undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses would make the roads safer for everyone as all drivers would need to pass the same tests to get a license. And studies show that in states where undocumented immigrants have access to driver’s licenses, there has been a reduction in traffic fatalities and the number of uninsured cars on the road,” Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said.

In response to the bill, Rep. John Katko, said, “I oppose giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Rather than legitimizing illegal immigration, policymakers at all levels of government should be focused on creating a comprehensive solution on immigration that balances the needs of our economy, immigrants and their families, and strong national security.”

If the bill passes, New York would be joining 12 other states that already allow undocumented immigrants the ability to drive, including California and Utah.

 

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Men linked to Mexican drug cartel behead 13-year-old special needs girl, murder grandmother

Dh6-g3AU8AEvRvzTwo men are accused of beheading a teenager with special needs and her grandmother. (Image source: WAAY-TV screenshot)

 

Two men loosely associated with a brutal Mexican cartel, one of whom is an illegal immigrant, are responsible for beheading a 13-year-old girl with special needs and murdering her grandmother, Alabama law enforcement allege.

What are the details?

Authorities say Yoni Aguilar and Israel Gonzalez Palomino murdered Oralia Mendoza and her granddaughter, Mariah Lopez, because they didn’t trust Mendoza after she exhibited suspicious activity during a recent drug running trip to a small town in northeast Atlanta.

Authorities say the group ran drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel, the largest organized crime syndicate in the world. Police say it was Mendoza who had deep connections to the cartel.

According to AL.com, authorities believe something went wrong during their trip, spurring Palomino to believe he was being setup. Upon returning to Huntsville, Palomino discovered Mendoza had removed the SIM card from her cellphone. He also discovered text messages to an unknown woman during the drug run. Police say Mendoza texted a woman asking her to secure Lopez, who was staying with Palomino’s wife, because she feared for their lives, WAAY-TV reported.

After discovering the messages, Aguilar and Palomino allegedly awoke Mendoza in the middle of the night on June 4. They told her they were taking her and Lopez to a safe location.

Instead, the two men took their captives to a cemetery. Police say there was an altercation between Palomino and Mendoza. After it escalated, police say Palomino pulled a knife and stabbed Mendoza, leaving her to die in the cemetery.

The men then drove about 2 miles down the road, where police say Palomino forced Aguilar to kill Lopez by beheading her. Law enforcement said Palomino decided Lopez needed to die because she was a witness to her grandmother’s murder.

Police began investigating the murders on June 7 after a local boy discovered Lopez’s body. After police released a description of the girl, a woman came forward claiming to be Lopez’s mother and Mendoza’s daughter, AL.com reported. Authorities were then able to positively identify Lopez’s body.

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After Lopez was identified, Aguilar and Palomino were quickly identified as suspects. Police took the men into custody, and after being interviewed separately, investigators gathered enough evidence to charge them with Lopez’s murder.

According to AL.com, Aguilar confessed to the crimes, which helped investigators finally locate Mendoza’s body at the cemetery on June 15.

Police have charged the men with capital murder. They are being held without bond.

What evidence do investigators have against the men?

In addition to Aguilar’s confession, which he again made in court last Thursday, authorities have a wealth of physical evidence against the two men.

AL.com reported:

Aguilar and Palomino’s cellphones pinged in the area during the time of the killings, Rutherford testified. Investigators also recovered two knives, believed to be the murder weapons. One was found under Aguilar’s mattress; the other was under Palomino’s mattress, Rutherford told the judge. Additionally, blood was found inside Palomino’s car, the investigator testified.

What are the suspect’s immigration statuses?

Authorities said Aguilar is an illegal immigrant, while Palomino is in the U.S. on a green card, according to WAAY. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the Atlanta Constitution-Journal they had placed a detainer on Aguilar.

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White House considered sending immigrant detainees to sanctuary cities

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at a healthcare roundtable at the White House in Washington

President Donald Trump and White House officials proposed in recent months releasing immigrant detainees into the streets of so-called “sanctuary cities,” places where local governments have decided to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities working to locate and deport undocumented immigrants, according to officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.

The plan, which was first reported by The Washington Post, would have targeted cities — many of them led or represented by Democratic lawmakers– which have policies that limit their cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The term sanctuary city has been used in reference to a number of policies in different jurisdictions and does not have one legal definition. There are dozens of so-called sanctuary cities across the United States, including places like San Francisco, New York City, and Denver, where Democratic leaders have been outspoken in opposing the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

When asked about the plan Thursday night, a White House official and a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security emailed the PBS NewsHour nearly identical statements. The White House statement said, “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”

In recent years, the number of immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has hit record highs, with nearly 50,000 immigrants detained this year. It is not clear how many people the White House proposed releasing into sanctuary cities, but news of the proposal comes as Trump doubles down on his hardline immigration policies through personnel changes and new policy proposals.

In the past, the Trump administration tried to withhold federal funds from jurisdictions considered sanctuary cities but the effort has largely been blocked by court decisions.

Trump has also repeatedly blasted the idea of sanctuary cities. “I don’t think we like sanctuary cities up here,” Trump said during a rally in Nevada last year. “By the way, a lot of people in California don’t want them, either. They’re rioting now. They want to get out of their sanctuary cities.”

Ashley Etienne, the communications director for Pelosi, pointedly criticized the plan Thursday. “The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” she said in a statement. “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal.”

News of the president’s plan to release detainees comes amid major changes in the administration’s immigration leadership positions. On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign from her post. Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Claire Grady also offered the president her resignation this week.

Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, a move Trump announced on Twitter. On Thursday, Ronald Vitiello, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also announced he would be replaced in the acting role Friday by acting Deputy Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Matt Albence.

White House officials have told the NewsHour that the personnel changes come as the president reviews how to best pursue the immigration policies he prefers.

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s departure also added to the slate of Trump Cabinet officials operating with “acting” as part of their titles. They include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, and acting Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen.

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Crying migrant girl on TIME magazine cover was not separated from mother, family says!

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A little girl shown in a viral photo crying as a U.S. Border Patrol agent detained her mother – and used by TIME magazine to symbolize the Trump administration’s family separation policy – reportedly was never separated from her mom.

“Welcome to America,” declared a somber TIME cover, which showed the picture of the Honduran child Yanela Sanchez next to a towering President Trump.

TIME, which is standing by the cover despite the new information, originally called it “an image America could not ignore” and interviewed the photographer, as did other outlets. TIME followed up with another article entirely about the cover and “the story behind” it.

The picture was featured in international coverage of the policy around the world. The New York Daily News also put Sanchez on the cover of its June 16 issue with the headline: “Callous. Soulless. Craven. Trump.”

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CNN analyst Chris Cillizza wrote an entire article on the TIME cover: “It shows the compassion gap that exists between the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ border policy and the real-life people that are affected.”

But multiple outlets interviewed the father of the girl behind the iconic image, and he said he had learned that his two-year-old daughter was detained with her mother at a facility in Texas, and the two were not separated at all. The Honduran government confirmed his version of events to Reuters.

The Washington Post reported that the mother, Sandra Sanchez, had previously been deported in 2013 to Honduras. Her husband told the Post that she left without telling him she was taking Yanela with her and couldn’t contact her. But then he saw the picture on the news.

“You can imagine how I felt when I saw that photo of my daughter. It broke my heart. It’s difficult as a father to see that, but I know now that they are not in danger. They are safer now than when they were making that journey to the border,” Denis Javier Varela Hernandez told The Daily Mail.

He also said he did not support his wife’s decision to make the perilous trek to the U.S. and that they have three other children together.

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“I didn’t support it. I asked her, why? Why would she want to put our little girl through that? But it was her decision at the end of the day.”

But despite the dad’s explanation, TIME stood by its cover in a statement Friday.

“The June 12 photograph of the 2-year-old Honduran girl became the most visible symbol of the ongoing immigration debate in America for a reason: Under the policy enforced by the administration, prior to its reversal this week, those who crossed the border illegally were criminally prosecuted, which in turn resulted in the separation of children and parents,” TIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said. “Our cover and our reporting capture the stakes of this moment.”

Yet, in its story about the photo, TIME included the following correction: “The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she taken from the scene. The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together.”

The confusion and misrepresentation over the family’s circumstances came amid a chaotic week in which passions flared over the administration’s controversial “zero-tolerance” policy that seeks prosecution for virtually all illegal border crossers. That policy led to family separations, but Trump backed off with an executive order earlier this week allowing families to stay together during proceedings.

He faced bipartisan criticism over the separations, but the outrage reached intense levels on the left.

Activists, lawmakers and journalists have accused the administration of running “internment camps,” while Trump administration officials have had their cell phone numbers revealed online and been chased out of restaurants.

“We must maintain a Strong Southern Border. We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections. Obama and others had the same pictures, and did nothing about it!” Trump tweeted Friday.

It’s the latest immigration-related misstep by media outlets and reporters.

Last month, liberals and journalists rushed to share an article featuring pictures of children locked in cages at an Arizona detention center. Many such tweets were quickly deleted or clarified when other users pointed out that the article was from 2014 — during then-President Barack Obama’s administration.

EMBARRASSMENT FOR NEW YORK TIMES AS TOP EDITOR FALLS FOR OLD PHOTO AMID WEEKEND OF MISLEADING ANTI-TRUMP TWEETS 

Others shared a tweet about a “prison bus” that Immigration and Customs officials allegedly used to carry babies. But the bus was used for educational field trips, and the picture was published on April 2016 — about six months before Trump won the presidency.