Today’s News & Commentary — April 9, 2019
The New York Times reported that the federal government wants to issue more temporary visas for foreign workers, even as President Trump seeks to seal off the border with Mexico, where most of those workers come from. The Departments of Homeland Security and Labor said they planned to issue up to 30,000 additional H-2B visas through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. Congress has generally capped the number of visas, which businesses compete for, at 66,000, divided evenly between summer and winter seasonst
A report from the Economic Policy Institute found that more than eight million workers will be left behind by the Trump administration’s overtime proposal. Workers would receive $1.2 billion less than under the 2016 rule proposed by the Obama administration. “Given the large number of workers who will be left behind under this proposal who would have been covered by the painstakingly justified 2016 rule, we encourage the department to drop this rule-making and instead defend the 2016 rule,” it read.
Washingtonian magazine interviewed 18 anonymous federal workers about what it’s really like to work under the Trump administration, in their own words. One Labor Department employee reported that a hiring freeze is still in effect, even if it’s not technically on the books. “We’re forced to say the sky isn’t blue and the grass isn’t green,” they said. Although the official hiring freeze announced in 2017 lasted 79 days, the administration lifted the freeze but simultaneously informed agencies to gradually cut their staffs.
Washington Monthly wrote about how a simple reform—allowing customers to register for unique, portable, and permanent mailing PINs—could help poor families avoid the often disastrous consequences of missed mail, especially missed court notices. Low-income people move at rates significantly higher than the national average, and frequent changes of address mean that they often miss legal mail, with severe consequences including lost public benefits, default judgments for alleged debt, deportation orders, and voter roll purges.