Today’s News & Commentary — February 13, 2017

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Trump, stated Sunday that the White House is weighing its options following last week’s decision by the Ninth Circuit to suspend Trump’s Executive Order halting immigration from seven predominately Muslim countries, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Miller told Fox News that these options included new executive action or seeking an emergency stay at the Supreme Court, and said “We are considering and pursuing all options.”  President Trump also stated Sunday that the administration would be ramping up immigration enforcement in several cities, tweeting “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise.  Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”

Politico reports that farmers in California, many of whom, just months ago, voted for President Trump in the hopes that he would relax regulation, are becoming increasingly worried that he will fulfill his promise to deport the illegal immigrants who make up a good deal of their workforce.  As an international example of immigration restrictions causing labor shortages, the New York Times reports that Japan, after successfully limiting illegal immigration into the country now faces severe labor shortages in its blue-collar industries.  In attempts to alleviate the shortage while maximizing restrictions on immigration, the Japanese government has devised government-sponsored training programs which allow foreign workers to enter the country as “interns” in low-wage industries.  However, critics say that the workers receive no more training than average manual laborers in the industry.  Additionally, the program has exposed these workers to employer abuses such as wage theft, particularly because the trainee visas require the worker to remain with the same employer while they are in the country.  Although almost 200,000 foreign workers are employed through the program, the labor shortage persists, with calls from some political actors to expand the program or establish a formal guest-worker system.

As an increasing number of states and counties pass paid sick-leave laws, JD Supra notes that the legislation has given rise to growing conflict over the laws’ enforcement.  For example, Cook County passed an ordinance in October which required employers to allow covered employees to accrue 40 hours of paid sick leave a year, but so far four Cook County suburbs have already opted out of the ordinance.  Nevertheless, such laws are becoming increasingly common; Connecticut was the first to pass paid sick-leave in 2011, with six states, thirty cities, three counties, and Washington D.C. following with their own paid sick-leave requirements since then.