With help from Ian Kullgren
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PROTECTED IMMIGRATION SPEECH: It is no longer a crime to encourage immigrants to come to the United States illegally, POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein reports. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday ruled that a provision in the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (also known as the McCarren-Walter Act) that makes it illegal to “encourage or induce” someone to migrate to the U.S. illegally violates free speech protections under the First Amendment. Judge A. Wallace Tashima argued in the 42-page opinion that “criminalizing” such expression “threatens almost anyone willing to weigh in on the debate.”
“President Donald Trump has railed against the 9th Circuit in recent weeks, blasting its district and appellate court judges for rulings blocking his immigration-related policies, including his effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and his attempt to restrict the granting of asylum to foreigners claiming persecution in their home countries.” More from Gerstein here. Read the opinion here.
GOOD MORNING! It’s Dec. 5, and this is Morning Shift, your daily tipsheet on labor and immigration news. Send tips, exclusives, and suggestions to [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter at @RebeccaARainey, @tedhesson, @IanKullgren and @TimothyNoah1.
ASYLUM FEE?: The Trump administration is preparing to charge asylum-seekers residing in the U.S. a $50 processing fee, Hamed Aleaziz reports for BuzzFeed. “The fee would not apply to those who claim a fear of persecution at ports of entry,” Aleaziz writes, “or those who apply for the protections while in deportation proceedings.” The proposal is included in a “not-yet-finalized draft regulation.” More here.
DEMOCRATS’ DIVERSITY DILEMMA: A shortage of non-white talent available to work on presidential campaigns poses a serious problem for Democrats, POLITICO’s Daniel Strauss writes. With a large pool of likely presidential candidates and a more diverse Democratic electorate, “candidates, especially older ones, need staffers who understand how to stitch together coalitions across racial and economic lines.”
“If you don’t have any people of color on your national team or if you don’t have them in those early states … you’re going to be hamstrung,” said Jamal Simmons, who has served as an adviser for multiple Democratic presidential campaigns. Although some offices and state parties have built an “informal farm system by prioritizing minorities for mid-level positions that will lead to campaign managing jobs or chief of staff roles,” Strauss writes, “the lists to pick from are small.” More here.
ANOTHER OFFICIAL TIME SUIT: The American Federation of Government Employees challenged in a district D.C. court Tuesday a Veterans Affairs policy barring unions from taking “official time” to process worker grievances.
The complaint argues that the VA policy, issued Nov. 8, violates VA workers’ rights to bargain collectively, pointing to an August ruling from the D.C. Circuit that struck down President Donald Trump’s May executive order to curtail official time. Read the complaint here.
MCDONALD’S OWNERS ORGANIZE: McDonald’s franchisees are forming a National Owners Association to push back against “design and operational changes” imposed by the Chicago-based fast-food giant “that will increase costs for owner-operators,” Bloomberg Law’s Hassan Kanu reports. Labor advocates, Kanu writes, can’t help noticing that the newly-minted National Owners Association looks a little bit like a union–which is ironic, because its franchise-owner membership typically resists fast-food workers’ efforts to form a union of their own.
“Labor unions’ chief function is to convey employees’ interests and negotiate job terms for a collective group of workers, similar to the NOA’s stated goals,” Kanu explains. “The association also requires annual dues, including a signed membership card that looked much like a union sign-up card before the group introduced a modified form Nov. 28.” Kanu noted on Twitter that the association could bolster arguments that McDonald’s holds enough control over individual franchisees’ operations to be considered a joint employer. The fast food giant is still in settlement talks with the NLRB to settle an Obama-era administrative law case that alleged McDonald’s was jointly liable with its franchisees for the firing of fast food workers who participated in “Fight for $15” protests. More here.
PREGNANCY INVESTIGATION?: Some 97 members of Congress signed a letter Tuesday urging House Labor and the Workforce Committee leaders initiate an investigation into distributor XPO Logistics following media reports that the company discriminated against pregnant workers, suppressed collective bargaining efforts, and maintained dangerous working conditions. The lawmakers’ concern stems from an October New York Times report about the miscarriages of several workers at a warehouse purchased by XPO. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who will chair the committee next Congress, said in a statement that he is “eager” to “further investigate” the issue. Read the Times investigation here and the letter here.
PEARCE DEAL IN THE WORKS?: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly working with Republicans to broker a deal to confirm NLRB member Mark Gaston Pearce for a Democratic seat on the board in exchange for Democrats allowing several Labor Department nominees to advance, Bloomberg Law’s Chris Opfer reports. No deal has been reached, according to Opfer, and Schumer’s office denied Bloomberg’s report that Schumer spoke with the White House Monday about a possible deal. Business groups have urged the president and HELP committee senators not to reconfirm Pearce, arguing he demonstrated “extreme pro-union leanings” when he led the board during the Obama administration. More here.
TPS MISMANAGEMENT: Eighty-two House Democrats led by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif) said Tuesday that the DHS inspector general should investigate mismanagement and potential violations of law in the administration’s efforts to terminate Temporary Protected Status for roughly 400,000 recipients. The lawmakers argued that the agency’s decisions on TPS were “politically motivated” and that DHS imposed “historic delays” in adjudicating re-registration applications and publishing reviews of country conditions.
A federal judge in October blocked the Trump administration’s move to end TPS for more than 300,000 nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, saying plaintiffs “raised serious questions” about whether the policy was based on racial animus against non-white immigrants. A federal court in Maryland and issued a similar opinion in November that found DHS’s ending TPS for more than 250,000 Salvadoran refugees was likely motivated by race. Another suit challenging TPS policy, in Massachusetts, was allowed to move forward in July. Read the letter here.
EPSTEIN SCANDAL RAGES ON: Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein settled a civil case Monday that prevented his accusers from testifying in state court. But a separate proceeding in federal court will challenge a 2007 plea deal that then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta cut with Epstein. (Epstein ended up serving only 13 months in jail.) That prospect, and the renewed attention the case attracted last week with a Miami Herald report, is taking a toll on morale at DOL, where Acosta is now labor secretary. “It’s been [a] disappointment and very emotional among staff,” one DOL official told POLITICO. “There were people who were trying to convince themselves at least they weren’t working for one of the bad Trump appointees and the secretary was a decent guy, albeit not the most competent or consistent leader. It’s hard to say that today.” More from The New York Times’ Patricia Mazzei here.
MEDIA SLIM DOWN: Two news organizations face staff cuts, with one, The Weekly Standard, potentially shuttering all together, CNN Business reported Tuesday. Thomson Reuters announced to investors that it will shed 3,200 jobs and close 55 offices by 2020. And CNN’s Oliver Darcy reports that the Weekly Standard’s publisher is no longer seeking a buyer for the conservative magazine. More on Reuters here and more from Darcy here.
NEXT CONGRESS: The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute will release today its agenda of pro-worker policy initiatives for Congress to take up next year. Read it here.
— “Homeland Security chief Nielsen has saved her job — for now,” from POLITICO
— “Understanding The Central States Pension Plan’s Tale Of Woe,” from Forbes
— “Hoyer: ‘Too early to tell’ whether Democrats will support NAFTA 2.0,” from POLITICO
— “‘We’re One Union’: Why Chicago Teachers Are Out On the First Charter School Strike in the Country,” from In These Times
— “Southwest Key, Leading Migrant Shelter Provider, Orders Internal Inquiry,” from The New York Times
THAT’S ALL FOR MORNING SHIFT.
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