Trump's cruel attack on legal immigrants | Editorial

The Trump administration is preparing a new rule that would punish legal immigrants who use health and nutrition programs like Medicaid or food stamps. It would make it harder for them to get green cards or citizenship, if they have used any of a long list of safety net programs, even temporarily.
 
We've heard legitimate concerns about people coming over here with no means to support themselves and becoming a burden on the American taxpayer. We can't throw our doors open to everyone who gets cancer in China or Mexico. But consider the impact on the ground. Three things are appalling about this, even for a fiscal conservative who favors restricting immigration. 
 
First, this rule applies to legal immigrants. Those who are here illegally are already banned from virtually all federal anti-poverty programs. That's right - despite Trump's rhetoric about people "sneaking into the country," this is about denying care to someone who comes here legitimately for work, plays by all the rules, and then gets sick or falls on hard times.

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IT JUST BECAME EASIER TO CLEAN A CRIMINAL RECORD IN THE GARDEN STATE

 | OCTOBER 1, 2018

NJ Spotlight

 

It just got easier for many New Jerseyans to wipe clean their past criminal records.

Today, changes in the state’s expungement law became effective that give people the ability to apply to have certain past criminal charges or a juvenile conviction removed from their records sooner. They also allow multiple offenses to be cleared at one time. Former Gov. Chris Christie signed the reforms into law at the end of last year.

“Given the fact that the court currently processes some 10,000 expungement applications a year, I think it’s safe to say that the new changes will open the door for thousands more applications each year,” said Akil Roper, vice president and chief counsel for re-entry at Legal Services of New Jersey, who cheered the changes.

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IS THERE ANYTHING MORE TO NEW JERSEY’S U.S. SENATE RACE THAN NEGATIVE ADS?

 | SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

NJ Spotlight

To the typical New Jersey resident, this year’s U.S. Senate race boils down to a choice between the crooked Bob or the greedy Bob.

With less than six weeks before the election, there has been virtually no discussion of any substantive issues in the race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez and Republican nominee and former pharmaceuticals executive Bob Hugin. Instead, the public is being treated to a nearly incessant loop of negative ads, some paid for by the candidates and others by third-party groups highly critical of one Bob or the other.

Neither candidate has given people much reason to vote for him, rather than against his opponent, thus far. If the campaign continues in this vein, that might not happen until October 24, when they are scheduled to debate on NJTV. It’s the only debate to which they have agreed so far.

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NJ Transit May Request Extension for Positive Train Control

By Christian Hetrick • 

New Jersey Transit is at risk of missing a federal deadline to install a mandatory safety system on its tracks and may ask for a two-year extension to complete the work, the head of the agency told state lawmakers on Monday.

The railroad must install Positive Train Control—a system designed to prevent collisions and high-speed derailments—by Dec. 31 or potentially face hefty federal fines. During a hearing before the Assembly Budget Committee, NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said the agency is behind in its work and may ask the federal government for permission to finish the job by the end of 2020.

“We are making that evaluation, but if we are going to go that way, we will have to move fairly quick on that,” Corbett told reporters after the hearing.

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Newark's leading the way and other N.J. cities should follow, Murphy says

Gov. Phil Murphy came to Newark on Monday and reeled off a few phrases that could easily be new slogans for New Jersey's most populous city. 

He called it "a city clearly on the rise" and "a model for urban revitalization." 

That, Murphy explained, is largely because Newark has been bolstered by what he calls "the innovation economy" -- in which technology companies, especially startups, move in to an area and help reinvigorate it.

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GOP WANTS TO YANK GATEWAY FUNDS OUT OF TRUMP’S SIGNED 2019 BUDGET

JOHN REITMEYER | APRIL 30, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Amtrak train exiting the north tube of the outmoded Hudson River Tunnel from New York into New Jersey

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Just weeks after celebrating a significant appropriation for the Gateway transportation program and its trans-Hudson rail tunnel, New Jersey’s congressional delegation is back on high alert thanks to a new push by some Republicans to cancel the infrastructure spending.

The threat to the Gateway funding comes from a group of 27 GOP representatives that is encouraging the use of a parliamentary procedure known as “rescission” to remove an estimated $541 million that was just allocated for the infrastructure project in a more than $1 trillion federal spending bill signed into law by President Donald Trump late last month

While it’s far from certain the rescission gambit will work, members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation are taking it seriously, forming a bipartisan front to defend the approved Gateway spending. Part of their response involves highlighting how many of the representatives who signed an official rescission letter hail from states that, unlike New Jersey, receive more funding from the federal government than their residents typically pay in taxes. Some of the representatives’ own states also just a received a significant amount of aid from the federal government — with the support of New Jersey’s delegation — after recent natural disasters.

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Newark and Camden just got $400k each to clean up dirty land

What do a meat processing site, an abandoned gas station and two abandoned industrial sites have in common? They're all getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money dedicated to cleaning them up.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that four New Jersey brownfield sites, two in Newark and two in Camden, were each being awarded $200,000 in federal grants to help cover cleanup costs.

Going forward, the cities will be primarily responsible for cleaning up the sites while the EPA will hold an oversight role.

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Newark finally released its Amazon HQ2 proposal. Read all the juicy details, including proposed locations.

Newark's closest held secret is finally out.

The city released the bid it submitted for Amazon's new HQ2. Read the document below. (It is just over 200 pages.)

Want a full idea of how Newark pitched to Amazon? Check out this website titled, 'Yes, Newark'. The website, a sleek marketing tool, is designed to give Amazon representatives an idea of what it would be like to live and work in Newark.

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NEWARK MAY GO TO COURT TO DEFEND LEAD LEVELS IN ITS DRINKING WATER

TOM JOHNSON | APRIL 25, 2018

NJ Spotlight

The city of Newark and the acting commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection are facing a court battle over unsafe levels of lead in drinking water.

With lead levels in supplies nearly twice the federal action level for the contaminant, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Newark Education Workers Caucus yesterday announced plans to sue the government for violating the federal safe drinking-water law.

In 2017, more than 10 percent of samples collected by the Newark Water Department show lead levels in excess of 26 parts per billion (ppb), nearly double the federal action level of 15 ppb under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Approximately 20 percent of the samples exceeded the 15 ppb federal action level, according to the groups.

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Will this N.J. teacher be deported by ICE, then hanged? | Editorial

Posted Apr 23, 2018

Ahmed Abdelbasit, a physics teacher at Rising Star Academy in Union City, was detained by ICE agents outside his home in Jersey City, HuffPost reported.

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Immigration agents have refused to say why they are moving to deport a New Jersey physics teacher and father of three - a man sentenced to death in Egypt.
 
But Ahmed Abdelbasit says he knows exactly what will happen if he's sent back.
 
"The Egyptian government will not wait one minute to kill me," he told WNYC's Matt Katz, on a phone from the Elizabeth detention center.

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