Weekend News & Commentary — January 6-7, 2018

Published January 7th, 2018 -  - 01.07.184


The Trump Administration estimates that the first stage of its plan to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico would cost $18 billion over the next ten years.  This money would be used to build 316 miles of a new physical barrier and strengthen 407 miles of existing wall between Mexico and the United States by 2027.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection submitted this bid to a group of senators, including Senator Richard Durbin, who are getting ready to negotiate an immigration package.  In response to President Trump’s announcement, Senator Durbin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Immigration subcommittee, stated, “President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall.  With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction.”

The New York Times published a story examining how NAFTA impacts truck drivers by profiling two truck drivers, one with American citizenship and one with Mexican citizenship.  While the American citizen, who emigrated from Mexico, is free to drive long distances in the United States, the Mexican truck driver is confined to driving his truck in the border zone between the United States and Mexico.  Even though the Obama Administration finally allowed some Mexican drivers in the United States, very few Mexican truckers were authorized.  In the Trump Administration’s renegotiation of NAFTA, the Administration aims to prevent Mexican drivers from using their trucks to deliver products in the middle of the United States, which would severely impact the profitability of the profession for Mexican drivers.

On Friday, the New York Times ran an obituary commemorating labor lawyer Jerome Lefkowitz, who passed away on December 21 in Albany, New York. Leftkowitz assisted in writing and enforcing New York’s Taylor Law, which allows New York’s public employees to organize but does not allow them to go on strike.  Read more about Mr. Lefkowitz’s life here.

Finally, tonight celebrities will be wearing black at the Golden Globes as a way to express solidarity with the Time’s Up initiative, which seeks to address sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond.  This protest action comes at a moment when the Me Too movement has faced criticism.  Read more here.

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