Today's News and Commentary – April 17
According to the New York Times, President Obama is focusing on job training and immigration reform in a campaign to help Democrats retain control of the Senate. As part of this effort, the President announced $600 million in new grants for apprenticeship programs and skills training at community colleges. The article also describes the widely-reported phone call between President Obama and Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) about stalled immigration reform legislation.
The Los Angeles Times reports that President Obama is considering allowing bond hearings for immigrants who would otherwise remain in detention waiting for their deportation hearing. Not only would the move allow the immigrants to leave jail, but it could also slow the pace of deportations because incarcerated immigrants are currently fast-tracked through the deportation system. Meanwhile, the editorial board of USA Today urged President Obama to maintain a balance between enforcing immigration laws and humanitarian considerations and “not to go soft for political reasons.” The editorial is concerned that the President may begin to ignore immigration law in order to curry favor with left-leaning political groups.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has announced that Mayor Michael Nutter issued an executive order amending the city’s policy of detaining immigrants and ending its cooperation with federal immigration officials. The city will no longer hold immigrants who would otherwise be released from jail on request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless ICE receives a warrant from a judge. The city will not even alert ICE that an immigrant is about to be released unless that person has been convicted of a violent felony.
In international news, the Wall Street Journal reports that hundreds if not thousands of German Amazon workers are expected to walk off the job today in order to protest low wages. The workers want Amazon to recognize them as retail employees, which would make them eligible for higher wages and benefits than they are currently eligible for under their classification as “logistics sector workers.” The strike is the second at Amazon in Germany this year.
The New York Times covers the fourth day of the strike at the Chinese factory of Yuen Yuen International – one of the largest shoe companies in the world. More than forty thousand workers employed by the company are participating in the strike as they ask for employer contributions to benefits packages.