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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 12,232

Journal Archives

Shifting mission of Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under Trump

Something I noticed while searching for more information about ORR is that The Trump administration has been shifting their mission in order to achieve their hardline stance on immigration and likely to try to support their narrative of undocumented immigrants being dangerous.

This is but one thread in the spiderweb that is the ever growing and changing role of ICE, Border Patrol and ORR, but I think it is an important one and one of which we should be aware.

This article notes how ICE has now begun targeting sponsors of unaccompanied children (UAC). The sponsors are sought and identified by ORR, whise mission has been to find sponsors regardless of their own immigration status and place the children with them. ICE now is using this information to go after sponsors, even adding Trumped up charges of aiding human traffickers.
So, people who are trying to help are now targeted for deportation and charged with onerous crimes for their humane act. Best to be skeptical now when seeing this charge being made in this situation.

ICE arrests young immigrant’s sponsor months after feds assured him he’d be safe.


At first, Gari was apprehensive because it would require him to give his personal information to a federal agency — something that virtually all unauthorized immigrants try to avoid. But Health and Human Services officials assured him in January that it wouldn’t jeopardize his own safety. The boy just needed a legal guardian as he dealt with his own immigration case, they said.

Gari, 34, was arrested at his home Aug. 14 by federal immigration agents who had used his little brother as bait.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the Office of Refugee Resettlement, is tasked with reuniting unaccompanied children and youth with relatives in the U.S.
But earlier this summer, the Trump administration announced that ICE would be targeting the relatives of unaccompanied children and teens and charging them with the crime of helping human traffickers.

This article notes how Trump policy is redefining protections for unaccompanied children as loopholes for youth who they view as posing a threat and how they are not only attempting to remove these protections but are proceeding as if these have already been removed. A key part of this is assuming/accusing the youth of gang ties whether or not they have them. Something not brought out in the article, but what seems evident to me is how they are conflating youth trying to escape gang violence in their home countries with the youth somehow then being involved in gangs. Note that this was the circumstance for the young brother in the preceding article. It was also the case for the DREAMER who was recently accused, then exonerated of gang involvement, though in his case he was fleeing one state for another to get away from gangs. So “gang-related” has been stretched to define youth who are trying to flee proximity to gangs to tag that very youth wrongfully with a gang label in the attempt to deport them.
As part of changing or over-riding these policies, they are changing the mission of departments, in this case shifting ORR from social services to something more like a branch of ICE.

Young Migrants: Victims of Gangs or Members of Them?


Over the past month, the Trump administration has taken aim at a set of child protection laws created to protect young people who cross into the United States without a parent or guardian, perhaps aided by smugglers. The administration now sees some of these same youths as a threat, and is portraying the laws as “loopholes” that are preventing the quick deportation of teenagers involved in gangs.

The campaign is aimed at Capitol Hill, but the Trump administration is not waiting for legislation: In a series of at least a dozen moves across multiple federal agencies, it has begun to curtail legal protections for unaccompanied children who cross the border. Many of these safeguards were created by a 2008 law that provided protections for children who might otherwise be forced into labor or prostitution.

The young people affected by the administration’s measures have been fleeing deadly gang violence in Central America since 2014, when civil strife erupted in the region. They are a less politically shielded group of young people than the so-called “Dreamers,” most of whom came to this country as toddlers with their parents.
And the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which provides social services to vulnerable immigrant youth, is now placing all children with any gang-related history in secure detention instead of foster care, whether or not they have ever been arrested or charged with a crime, according to an August memo to the President’s Domestic Policy Council.

“It’s law enforcement mission creep, and our office is ill-prepared for it,” said Robert Carey, who was director of the refugee agency under President Barack Obama.

Ironic that this combined Supreme Court case restricts rights of workers to join in class action

suits to fight for their rights.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is absolutely correct in noting this decision is “egregiously wrong.”

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Workers’ Rights in 5-4 Decision Against Collective Action


In a major blow to workers’ rights, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 Monday that employers can use arbitration clauses to prohibit workers from banding together to challenge violations of federal labor laws in class-action lawsuits. Arbitration is often confidential. Many workers may agree to mandatory arbitration clauses without even being aware of it when they sign a contract with their employer. In a rare show of public displeasure, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, calling the majority opinion “egregiously wrong” and saying, “The court today holds enforceable these arm-twisted, take-it-or-leave-it contracts—including the provisions requiring employees to litigate wage and hours claims only one-by-one. Federal labor law does not countenance such isolation of employees.” For more, we speak with Terri Gerstein, former labor bureau chief for the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

TERRI GERSTEIN: Well, the real significance of this case, I think, is that many, many workers—most workers—especially low-wage workers, will simply not be able to get justice when they experience wage theft or race discrimination, sexual harassment. The decision, as you said, decides that employers are allowed to force workers, through arbitration agreements, to give up their rights to bring a class action. And that is such a problem, first of all, because workers always get strength in bringing cases together. This is both because they’re afraid to bring cases often, because of retaliation, but if it’s a group, it gives more protection from retaliation.

It’s also true because of the economics of bringing a case. If you think about how much a minimum-wage case might be worth—the federal minimum wage is $7.25, even the places where the minimum wage is $15 an hour—if a worker is not paid a hundred hours, that doesn’t add up to very much money. And it still takes a lot of work for a lawyer to do these cases. So the only way the economics of these cases work for private lawyers to bring cases is to aggregate them into a class action. And it will be—now that workers—employers are free to require workers to give up their right to bring a class action, I think it will be extremely hard for workers to find lawyers who can afford to take these cases.

TERRI GERSTEIN: Right. It’s really interesting, when you look at the actual underlying cases, because these were actually three cases that were combined. In one of them, the arbitration agreement was actually part of the job application itself, so you couldn’t even apply for the job without agreeing to arbitration. In another couple of the cases, workers who were already working at that company suddenly got an email saying, “Here’s your new arbitration agreement. By continuing to work here, you are agreeing to this agreement.” So, and as you said, for a lot of people, it’s just in the very beginning, when you get a mountain of paperwork or, in some places, touchscreens, and you just sign everything. People don’t have the opportunity to really review it, to understand what they’re giving up. And they’re not really getting anything in exchange for signing this arbitration agreement and giving up their right to bring a class action. All they get is the right to have the job.

"Amazon Among Top Washington Companies for Employee Dependence on Medicaid"


While Amazon tech workers in Seattle make an average of $110,000 a year, the company recently released data showing its median employee makes less than $30,000 a year. Here in Washington, the tech company ranks 11th in the state for the number of its employees on Medicaid (also known as Apple Health), according to a November 2017 report from the Washington State Health Care Authority. The company ranked behind top offenders like Walmart and McDonalds but higher on the list than Dollar Tree, Target, Burger King, and Wendy's. Starbucks, another regional giant, ranks below Amazon but still in the top 15. (The report warns of some limits to the data, which is voluntarily self-reported by people enrolling in healthcare programs.)

On the day Amazon announced its construction pause, Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda brought a copy of that list to a council committee meeting. “As we have a conversation about what companies—the largest companies—can afford to help pay for the housing crisis that we have,” Mosqueda said, “we should have a better sense of whether or not these corporations are also getting corporate welfare kickbacks.”

Mosqueda, who previously worked for the Children's Alliance on implementation of Apple Health for kids, said she expects to see companies like Walmart and McDonalds near the top of the list, but called out Kroger, Amazon, Target, and Starbucks.

“These are corporations that are doing very well within our region and yet have individuals that are on Medicaid,” Mosqueda said. “As we think about who is potentially going to benefit from the ability to have housing, it's not exactly asking a lot to think about how we can rightside up this upside down system that we have.”

UK regulator orders Cambridge Analytica to release data on US voter


Cambridge Analytica has been ordered to hand over all the data and personal information it has on an American voter, including details of where it got the data and what it did with it, or face a criminal prosecution.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) served the enforcement notice to the company on Friday in a landmark legal decision that opens the way for up to 240 million other American voters to request their data back from the firm under British data protection laws.

The test case was taken to the ICO by David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York. As a US citizen, he had no means of obtaining this information under US law, but in January 2016 he discovered Cambridge Analytica had processed US voter data in the UK and that this gave him rights under British laws. Cambridge Analytica had refused to accept this and told the ICO that Carroll was no more entitled to make a so-called “subject access request” under the UK Data Protection Act “than a member of the Taliban sitting in a cave in the remotest corner of Afghanistan”.

The ICO did not accept this as a valid legal argument and has now told SCL Elections, which acted as the data controller for Cambridge Analytica, that it has 30 days to comply or appeal. Cambridge Analytica and its affiliates announced this week that they had gone into liquidation, but the ICO has made it clear that it cannot avoid its responsibilities under UK law and states that “failure to comply with this enforcement notice is a criminal offence”.

“no means of obtaining this information under US law”
It’s striking that we have fewer rights to obtain info that has been gathered about us under US law.

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