Subject: POLITICO’s Morning Shift: U.S. visas down for Muslim-majority countries — Immigration court chiefs leave — Democrats make minimum wage pledge
By Ian Kullgren | 05/26/2017 10:04 AM EDT
With help from Bianca Padró Ocasio, Ted Hesson and Mel Leonor
U.S. VISAS DOWN FOR MUSLIM-MAJORITY COUNTRIES: “President Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ may be tied up in court, but newly released figures show his administration is issuing fewer visas to visitors from Arab and Muslim-majority countries,” POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi and Ted Hesson report.
“Data posted online this week by the State Department showed that non-immigrant visas granted to people from nearly 50 Muslim-majority countries were down almost 20 percent in April compared to the 2016 monthly average,” they write. “When only Arab countries were considered, non-immigrant visas were down nearly 30 percent in April compared to the 2016 monthly average. Visas issued to the six countries targeted by Trump’s March 6 travel ban – Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen – declined even further, down 55 percent compared to the 2016 monthly average.”
“Stephen Pattison, an immigration lawyer in Maryland who spent nearly three decades as a State Department consular officer, said he thinks Trump policies are having a ‘chilling effect’ on travel to the United States from Muslim nations…. ‘Some people may have canceled trips,’ Pattison said. ‘Some people may have traveled last year but not this year. But I think it would be naive to assume that’s what’s going on in Washington isn’t having an effect on consular adjudications.'” More here.
GOOD MORNING. It’s Friday, May 26, and this is Morning Shift, POLITICO’s daily tipsheet on employment and immigration policy. Send tips, exclusives, and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @tedhesson, @marianne_levine, @melleonor_, @IanKullgren, and @TimothyNoah1.
PROGRAMMING NOTE – Due to the Memorial Day holiday, Morning Shift will not publish on Monday, May 29. Our next Morning Shift will publish on Tuesday, May 30. Please continue to follow Pro Employment and Immigration issues here.
IMMIGRATION COURT CHIEFS LEAVE: The director and deputy director of the federal immigration courts will leave the office by the end of the month, two sources familiar with the situation told Morning Shift. The courts, known as the Executive Office for Immigration Review, fall under the purview of the Justice Department.
Director Juan Osuna and Deputy Director Ana Kocur announced their departures in a staff-wide email. The reasons for their resignations are unclear, but both assumed their positions during the Obama administration, Osuna in 2011 and Kocur in 2012. Neither EOIR nor the Justice Department responded to requests for comment.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised immigration enforcement will be a centerpiece of his approach to criminal justice, and the next director will be under pressure to speed up deportations and clear the immigration case backlog, currently at nearly 586,000 cases, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
Jeremy McKinney, a liaison to the office for the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association, said Osuna oversaw the courts during a difficult period. “He was dealing with very limited resources,” McKinney said. The next director will have more, if the Trump administration gets its way. The White House budget proposal released this week called for the hiring of an additional 75 immigration judges and roughly 375 support personnel.
DEMOCRATS MAKE MINIMUM WAGE PLEDGE…: First 100 days? Old hat. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats would take up a measure to raise the minimum wage within the first 100 hours after they regain the majority, assuming they win it back in next year’s election. (That’s a pretty big if.) Pelosi made the pledge alongside a handful of other Democratic lawmakers and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as they announced legislation to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15, up from the current $7.25, by 2024.
Democrats are making the pledge part of their campaign strategy for 2018. But even if they fulfill it, don’t hold your breath for it to be signed into law so long as Trump is in the White House. Even many Democrats, Hillary Clinton included, favored an increase only to $12 as recently as last year. Trump proposed an increase to $10 during the campaign, but only after previously suggesting no increase (and even calling into question whether the federal government should set an hourly minimum at all). Trump hasn’t touted the $10 proposal since, and he seems unlikely to. POLITICO’s Elana Schor writes that the Democrats’ embrace of $15 demonstrates the influence that Sanders and the left wing of the Democratic party now wield. More here.
… AND REPUBLICANS FIGHT BACK: Also on Thursday, Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and half a dozen other Republicans re-introduced legislation to overhaul the National Labor Relations Act to weaken unions’ influence. The so-called Employee Rights Act would allow union members and nonmembers alike to withhold that portion of dues or fees that supports political activities by a union that bargains collectively on their behalf. The bill would also require union locals to conduct a recertification election every year; forbid union leaders from calling a strike without a vote of their members; and criminalize coercion by union leadership (though the violent threats that provision is aimed at are already covered by existing laws). “The rights of American workers were under attack during the Obama presidency,” Roe said in a written statement, “and it is time to restore those rights and work to foster a pro-growth, pro-employee environment.”
Republicans introduced similar legislation three times while President Barack Obama was in office, Sean Sullivan writes in the Washington Examiner. But it isn’t clear that Trump, who has tried to cast himself as a friend to unions, would support the bill. During the election, Trump’s campaign resisted efforts to be pinned down. More here.
DURING SCHOOL HOURS? A Louisiana charter school, International High School of New Orleans, needs to make a dozen modifications to its employee handbook to comply with federal labor laws – including axing a policy that prohibits teachers from using social media during school hours. An administrative law judge ruled Wednesday that the policy runs afoul the National Labor Relations Act. The judge also took issue with a policy that prohibits teachers from using school computers to access social media websites, and another that prohibits teachers from conducting personal business during school hours. The ruling touches on two issues of contention between charter school advocates and unions: whether unions belong in charter schools, and whether charter schools are sufficiently “private” to fall under the jurisdiction of federal labor law. Read the ruling here.
A CASE AGAINST PLAs: Ohio schools built under government-mandated project labor agreements cost 13.12 percent more than schools that were built through competitive bidding, according to a new study by Beacon Hill Institute commissioned by the Associated Builders and Contractors. The study, which looked at schools built since 2000, calculated that PLA constructions cost $23.12 more per square foot than their non-PLA counterparts. Read the study here.
HOGAN TO VETO PAID LEAVE BILL: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will veto a paid leave bill that would have given workers in that state five days’ annual paid sick leave. The bill covered all employers of at least 15 workers, but the Republican governor, who proposed addressing paid sick leave with incentives for employers, called it “simply very bad policy.” Hogan said he plans to issue a series of executive orders relating to paid sick leave, including the creation of task force to study the issue. He also plans to mandate paid sick leave for contract employees of the state’s executive branch. Democrat lawmakers will try to override the veto. More from the Baltimore Sun here.
UNIONS SUE TO BLOCK KENTUCKY RIGHT TO WORK LAW: “Organized labor struck back Thursday against Kentucky’s right-to-work law, filing a lawsuit that claims the ban on mandatory union fees in workplaces violates the state’s Constitution,” the Associated Press reports. “The Kentucky State AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89 filed the suit, which asks a judge to temporarily block the right-to-work law while the suit proceeds. The labor groups said the law should be struck down for violating numerous sections of the Kentucky Constitution.” More here.
INDY MAY HOLD OFF ON MINIMUM WAGE HIKE: “Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is urging the City-County Council to hold off on setting a $13-an-hour minimum wage for staff while his office works to eliminate the city’s structural deficit,” James Briggs writes for the Indy Star. “Hogsett on Wednesday said he does not support immediate passage of Proposal 92, which would raise wages for 365 city and county workers who earn between $9.13 per hour and $12.98 per hour.” More here.
ICE ARRESTS NEARLY 200 IN LA: ICE is touting the arrests of 188 undocumented immigrants in the Los Angeles area during a five-day “expanded enforcement” operation that captured a “convicted rapist and a previously deported cocaine trafficker,” ICE said in a written statement Thursday. In addition to identifying where each arrest took place, the ICE statement identified the types of previous criminal convictions and each person’s country of origin.
“Since President Trump signed the Executive Orders regarding immigration enforcement priorities,” ICE said, “ICE has arrested more than 41,000 individuals nationwide who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally, a nearly 40 percent increase over the same period in 2016.”
– “Restaurant: ICE Agents Ate Breakfast Then Detained Employees,” from The Daily Beast
– “Bice: Sheriff Clarke directed staff to hassle plane passenger after brief exchange,” from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
– “Appeal says ruling that vindicated San Diego pension reform could create statewide problems,” from the San Diego Union-Tribune
– “Labor union calls on Harley-Davidson to abandon plan to build overseas plant,” from the Milwaukee Business Journal.
– “Elgin to opt out of Cook County minimum wage, sick leave requirements,” from The Chicago Tribune.
– “Editorial: Don’t tinker with teacher pensions,” from The Detroit Free Press
– “Mass. House Lawmakers Postpone Vote On Bill Aimed At Countering Trump’s Immigration Crackdown,” from WBUR
THAT’S ALL FOR MORNING SHIFT.
To view online:
To change your alert settings, please go to https://secure.politico.com/settings/settings
This email was sent to email@example.com by: POLITICO, LLC 1000 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA, 22209, USA
Please click here and follow the steps to unsubscribe.
Thanks to the always wonderful Bianca Padró Ocasio for sending this item my way!
In my experience, it’s somewhat unusual for the top two career Senior Executives in an agency to depart simultaneously unless they are headed to the same place, which does not appear to be the case here. It’s also somewhat remarkable in light of both Osuna’s and Kocar’s fairly lengthy and very distinguished service to EOIR and the DOJ (Osuna was a Member, Vice Chair, and Chair at the BIA, and a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division, prior to becoming Director) that no official press release on the departures has been issued, and that both EOIR and DOJ refuse to comment. Usually, even when civil servants are effectively “forced out,” the Department gives them a “pat on the back” and “thanks for the service.”
Some have speculated that with AG Sessions’s overriding interest in immigration enforcement, EOIR will be more “directly controlled” by either the Deputy Attorney General or assistants to the Attorney General in the future. Another possibility is that Sessions will appoint a trusted member of his staff to serve as Director. My recollection is that while the Director is not a Presidentially appointed position, it can be filled by either a career or a non-career (i.e., political) SES appointment.
Have a great Memorial Day holiday.