economy

Oregon Republicans shrug off politics, extend benefits to undocumented children

Oregon Republicans took the lead in arguing for spending $36 million on health care for undocumented Oregon children during a Monday session.

The “cover all kids” Senate Bill 558 passed the body on a 21-8 vote. The bill now proceeds to the House where it's likely to find favor with the majority Democrats.

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said he’ll take a shellacking for his ‘yes” vote on the bill from constituents who believe extending benefits encourages illegal immigration.

“I can hear the town hall questions; I can write them,” he said.

“I will look at folks with anger in their eyes and they will not listen to the answer that it is less expensive (to provide coverage),” Ferrioli said, finally adding, “Folks can sharpen their knives and load up. I’ll be in the district after the session is over. I can answer the questions then just as I can now.”

The bill would extend coverage under the Oregon Health Plan to an estimated 15,000 children in the state who otherwise would be prohibited from signing up because they lack legal residency status.

Gov. Kate Brown highlighted the cover all kids program as a priority in her proposed budget. Ninety-eight percent of Oregon children are covered today. The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, would bring the proportion even higher.

A hospital provider tax of 1.7 percent on large hospitals and 4 percent on small hospitals passed in June will pay for the expansion, according to legislative documents.

Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, carried the bill to the Senate floor and made the case that it is really a conservative bill. Children don’t go completely without care, he said. When they turn up sick at hospitals, hospitals have to treat them, and that’s the most expensive way to treat them.

“I know about the optics of this thing. We could get wrapped up in sanctuary this, sanctuary that. We could get wrapped up with immigration this or immigration that,” Kruse said. “This is not about the optics or the politics. This is about health care at a reasonable cost.”

Passing the bill will bring relief to hospitals large and small across the state.

“We have asked hospitals to step up in a major way with the provider tax,” Kruse said. “Now to ask them to absorb (emergency department) care for these kids is just one more ask. That is an ask too much. ...

“Chances are I’m going to take some political hits for this too, but quite honestly, I don’t give a damn. I don’t care about politics, I care about policy and I care about doing the right thing.”

Not all Republicans favored the bill.

“My priority are services to veterans who fought and have been injured for this country and for this state,” said Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who voted no. “We have not taken care of them the way we need to. If there are tens of millions of dollars, we need to start there.

“We can work our way to seniors who need care in their homes, those with disabilities, those who are vulnerable -- and there are many Oregonians who are in need,” he said.

All Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, a high school principal, said schools must teach all the children who turn up. “They only learn when they’re healthy,” he said.

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, is a public health nurse.

“Every child needs health care regardless of where they were born,” she said. “It is the moral and right thing to do. A child is not responsible for who their parents are, whether they’re legal or illegal, whether they’re rich or whether they’re poor.” Read more about Oregon Republicans shrug off politics, extend benefits to undocumented children

Consulate of Mexico visits Ontario, seeks to support Mexican nationals

ONTARIO — The Consulate of Mexico in Boise visited Four Rivers Cultural Center, Saturday, to support Mexican nationals in obtaining documentation, counseling as well as additional information.

About 70 Mexican nationals attended the one-day event to obtain a passport, Consular ID, voting ID or birth certificates.

The mobile consulate offers Mexican nationals the chance to obtain documentation from their country within a couple of hours that otherwise may have taken weeks to receive, Claudia Espinosa, a representative of the protection affairs department with the Consulate, said.

Moreover, the mobile consulate allows those who may not have a driver’s license to be able to visit with the organization that is located in Boise.

The last time the Consulate of Mexico visited Ontario was nearly seven years ago, Espinosa noted.

“With new immigration policies we are trying to visit areas outside of Boise to provide our services to as many as we can,” Espinosa said.

It’s now more important than ever to do this, Celso Humberto Delgado Ramirez, Consul of Mexico in Boise, said.

Recently, the consulate visited Montana to offer the same outreach, Delgado Ramirez said.

During his speech to the attendees, the consul commended those who showed up for the services and echoed the organization’s ambition to continue offering services as well as consular protection to Mexicans.

Delgado Ramirez also advised attendees to create a plan of emergency for those who are living in the country without proper documentation in case they are faced with deportation, especially if they have young children.

Moreover, he spoke about what an undocumented person should do in case they are detained by Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Know your rights,” he said to the crowd. “Ask to speak with the Consulate of Mexico, to call a lawyer and to family, if possible.”

Throughout the day Mexican nationals were able to have their paperwork processed, have their biometrics taken as well as visit with local resources in the area.

One of the local organizations in attendance included the Oregon Human Development Corporation. Janeth Mendoza, a workforce consultant, said she exchanged information with several attendees about work trainings and emergency services. The Malheur County Health Department and Treasure Valley Community also hosted a booth at the event.

At the end of the event, consulate coordinators distributed documentation to Mexican nationals.

Celso Humberto Delgado Ramirez, Consul of Mexico in Boise, speaks to a crowd before attendees receive various documentation including passports, Consular ID and more, alongside Claudia Espinosa. About 70 Mexican nationals attended a mobile consulate provided by the Consulate of Mexico, in Boise, Saturday, in Ontario. The one day event sought to assist individuals with obtaining Mexican documentation. Read more about Consulate of Mexico visits Ontario, seeks to support Mexican nationals

DHS to Expand Controversial H-2B Visa Program, Breaking Trump Campaign Promise

The Trump administration has decided to expand the controversial H-2B visa program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week. (ABC News, June 21, 2017). DHS spokesperson David Lapan said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has yet to decide how many additional H-2B visas will be made available, but that the number should be set soon. (Id.) Lapan said the department expects to start issuing visas as soon as late July, setting the stage for the betrayal of a key Trump campaign promise—protecting American workers from cheaper foreign competition. (Id.)

In early May, at the behest of the business lobby, Congress gave Kelly and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta the power to more than double the number of H-2B visas issued this fiscal year. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 2, 2017) Shortly thereafter, Kelly indicated that he was receiving pressure from lawmakers and stakeholders on both sides of the issue, but hinted an increase was likely. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 30, 2017) “This is one of those things I wish I didn’t have discretion,” Kelly told the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Id.) “We’ll likely increase the numbers for this year, perhaps not by the entire number I’m authorized,” Kelly added at the time. (Id.)

The H-2B nonimmigrant visa program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring low-skilled foreign workers to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. (USCIS H-2B Program Fact Sheet) There is a cap on the total number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year. (Id.) Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress set the H-2B cap at 66,000 workers per fiscal year. (INA § 214(g)(1)(B)) However, last month’s $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill gave Secretaries Kelly and Acosta the authority to ignore this cap and increase the number of low skilled foreign workers admitted by “the highest number” of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker exemption. (FY 2017 Omnibus, Sec. 543) As a reminder, in December 2015, House Speaker Paul Ryan snuck into the FY 2016 omnibus a provision that exempted from the H-2B cap all low skilled workers admitted between 2013 and 2015. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 22, 2015) There is no reliable data on the number of H-2B workers who took advantage of the returning worker exemption. It is possible that this provision will allow 66,000 additional cheap foreign workers to flood the labor market through the end of September—further suppressing blue-collar wages and taking away opportunities from Americans trying to get back into the labor force.

FAIR criticized the announcement to further flood the labor market with foreign workers. “The administration's decision to exceed the 66,000 cap not only undermines struggling American workers, but betrays unequivocal promises President Trump made in his campaign,” FAIR President Dan Stein charged. (FAIR Press Release, June 22, 2017) “In President Trump's own words, ‘the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans—including immigrants themselves and their children—to earn a middle class wage,’” Stein added. (Id.)

FAIR’s June 21 letter to Secretary Kelly urging against an H-2B visa increase can be found here. Read more about DHS to Expand Controversial H-2B Visa Program, Breaking Trump Campaign Promise

Oregon Lawmakers Aim to Increase Protections of Immigrants

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Public bodies in Oregon would be prohibited from disclosing a person's immigration status and details like addresses, except when required by law, under a bill filed Wednesday in the Legislature.

Teresa Alonso Leon, a Democrat from Woodburn, and Diego Hernandez, a Democrat from Portland filed the bill in the House as immigration enforcement increases under President Donald Trump...

....The bill said that, "except as required by state or federal law," a public body may not disclose for the purpose of immigration enforcement, a person's address, workplace or work schedule, school and contact information.

A public body would also be prohibited from inquiring about a person's citizenship or immigration status except when determining benefit eligibility or as required by state or federal law.

Oregon state law and federal laws, however, clash when it comes to immigration.

*Oregon created America's first sanctuary state in 1987 with a law that prevents law enforcement from detaining people who are in the United States illegally but have not broken other laws. In February, Brown signed an executive order that said all state agencies must follow the 1987 statute.

A Republican lawmaker who advocates enforcement of America's immigration laws said the state should comply with federal law.

"If you read federal law, it says not only is it illegal to be in the country without authorization and if you're caught you have to go back, but it is also illegal to harbor someone," Rep. Sal Esquivel, from the southwestern Oregon town of Medford, said in a phone interview....

Esquivel said Brown is "protecting people of illegal status in the state, which is against the law. This is a country of laws and if we don't adhere to the laws we won't have a country left."

Brown said Wednesday that  *"Oregon relies on a diverse workforce to support a growing economy, and we must ensure the civil rights of all Oregonians are protected and that the rule of law is respected."...

He said school administrators, county judges, and other public bodies are seeking guidance from the state on how to respond if ICE asks for information....

"This bill is a way to help make sure our communities have clear guidance so they are in compliance with state and federal law," Rosenblum said...

*Emphasis added Read more about Oregon Lawmakers Aim to Increase Protections of Immigrants

Bill would provide health care for all kids

More than 17,000 children are currently excluded from the Oregon Health Plan because of their residency status.

To address this, Governor Kate Brown testified Monday before the House Committee on Health Care in support of a bill known as “Cover All Kids.” If passed, House Bill 2726 would extend health care coverage through the Oregon Health Plan to all Oregon children, expanding legislation passed in 2012.

"It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults with access to education, health care, and a bright future," Brown said. "Oregon children should have the opportunity to be healthy and ready to learn, and Oregon families should feel confident that a medical event will not dramatically change the trajectory of their lives."

Brown has included the expansion in her proposed budget, allocating $55 million in General Fund money. Brown highlighted the importance of all children having health care coverage in her inaugural address.

Uninsured children are much more likely than insured children to forgo necessary medical care due to costs, and more likely to have unmet medical needs, according to a report by the Campaign for Children’s Health Care.

Additionally, the Oregon Latino Health Coalition cites insured children are 9.7 percent less likely to drop out of high school and 5.5 percent more likely to graduate from college.

The bipartisan legislation currently facing the Oregon State Legislature is co-sponsored by Representatives Alonso Leon, Gilliam, Hernandez, Huffman and Olson and by Senators Boquist, Monnes Anderson, and Roblan.

Fatima Preciado, 18, a Portland State University student and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, was one of the kids who did not qualify due to her residency.

“Because my siblings and I lacked proper health insurance, we were denied the right to live a normal childhood,” Preciado said in a statement. "Fear and worry instead consumed my everyday childhood.

"My mother struggled severely when it came to purchasing my sister’s medication," she said. "There were times when my sister went weeks without medication, causing her to suffer severe uncontrollable epileptic seizures.”

The Senate Committee on Health Care will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 558, a companion bill, on at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Hearing Room B. Read more about Bill would provide health care for all kids

Brown: Extend Medicaid to more than 17,000 kids

SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown spoke Monday in support of a bipartisan proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to the more than 17,000 children currently ineligible due to their immigration status.

Brown — whose two-year budget included the estimated $55 million the coverage is expected to cost — is joined in her support for the measure by nearly 40 advocacy groups, health care providers and unions.

“It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults, with access to education, health care and a bright future,” Brown said during a meeting of the state House Health Care Committee.

It’s a departure from a proposal by top Oregon budget writers to cut Medicaid coverage to roughly 355,000 adults to help fill the state’s $1.8 billion budget hole.

People who joined the program under the Affordable Care Act’s 2014 eligibility expansion would lose coverage.

Advocates, however, characterize the measure, called Cover All Kids, as building on strides the state has made over the years to increase access to health care coverage for children. Lawmakers voted in 2009 to expand kids’ access to Medicaid and subsidized health insurance policies. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed Oregon to expand its Medicaid program to kids in families with incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. The coverage only applied to lawfully present children, however.

Still, it’s estimated about 2 percent of children in Oregon remain uninsured, the majority of whom are ineligible for coverage because they’re in the country illegally. House Bill 2726, along with its counterpart in the Senate, would extend Medicaid coverage to anyone under age 19 with family incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level — $48,720 annually for a family of two or $73,800 for a family of four — regardless of immigration status.

Medicaid programs in California, Washington state, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., already cover children in the country illegally.

The measure’s sponsors include Republicans Rep. John Huffman of The Dalles, Rep. Andy Olson of Albany and Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas. Democratic sponsors include Sen. Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay, Rep. Diego Hernandez of Portland, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson of Gresham, Rep. Teresa Alonso León of Woodburn and Rep. Pam Marsh of Ashland.

Huffman told the audience at Monday’s hearing the bill makes sense both morally and economically.

“Morally, because I have always advocated for supporting our most vulnerable citizens,” he said. Economically, because healthy kids miss less school and their parents miss fewer days of work.

Former Republican Rep. Vic Gilliam also submitted testimony in support of the measure, which he wrote would not be just another government “entitlement” program but would strengthen communities.

Linda Roman, director of health policy and government relations for the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, said in an interview the issue boils down to values.

“I think across party lines, across chambers of the House and the Senate, we all believe that every child in our state on day one of school needs to be prepared and ready to learn,” she said. “I think our legislators in Oregon really understand that and embrace that.”

Even though the coverage would cost the state an estimated $55 million over the next two years, Roman said it would save money in the long run. Access to health care prevents treatable illnesses from becoming expensive health care crises, she said. Further, Roman said children with insurance perform better in school, are more likely to graduate high school and contribute more in taxes later in life.

“We’ve seen that it works,” she said. “It saves money.”

All of the written testimony submitted to the House Health Care Committee ahead of its hearing Monday urged lawmakers to support the measure. Organizations included the Oregon Primary Care Association, Basic Rights Oregon, the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance and several others. Insurance carrier Moda Health and health systems Legacy Health and Providence Health System also voiced support.

Monday’s session was a public hearing; a vote was not held. The Senate Health Care Committee will host a hearing on the measure Tuesday afternoon. Brown is not scheduled to testify at that hearing, but state Sen. Jeff Kruse, a Republican from Roseburg, and Koblan will speak in support of the bill, according to the Oregon Latino Health Coalition. Read more about Brown: Extend Medicaid to more than 17,000 kids

Sen. Tom Cotton unveils the most important immigration bill for protecting American workers

The BREAK THE CHAINS Campaign has begun.

This morning, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) announced that he will introduce legislation next week that would end ALL categories of Chain Migration -- and the Visa Lottery, too.

Chain Migration is the main reason that American workers have had to compete for wages and jobs with tens of millions of new immigrants who have been given lifetime work permits the last several decades.

40% IMMEDIATE REDUCTION IN ANNUAL IMMIGRATION

Sen. Cotton says his bill would reduce the number of lifetime work permits given to foreign citizens by around 40% the first year -- and by around 50% in the tenth year after passage.

Ending Chain Migration is the primary way the bill would achieve that goal.

For several decades, immigrants no longer have been limited to bringing in a spouse and minor children. Chain Migration categories allow each immigrant (once a citizen) to petition for adult brothers and sisters, for adult sons and daughters, and for parents. Each of them can in turn do the same along with bringing their own spouses who can start whole new chains in their own families, and so forth in a never-ending pattern.

Sen. Cotton would stop all of that Chain immigration which adds millions of workers each decade without any regard to their skills or how they would affect Americans competing in the same occupations.

By limiting family immigration to a spouse and minor children -- including overseas adoptions and marriages by U.S. citizens -- Sen. Cotton says the bill would . . .

" . . . restore historical levels of immigration in order to give working Americans a fair shot at wealth creation."

At around one million a year since 1990, overall annual legal immigration has been some THREE times higher than the historical average before then.

A RARE OPPORTUNITY

Sen. Cotton's bill will be the first since 1996 to challenge the Senate to eliminate future Chain Migration.

It was in 1996 that I started NumbersUSA with our Number One legislative goal being to end Chain Migration, as recommended by the bi-partisan federal commission chaired by the Civil Rights icon Barbara Jordan.

Sen. Cotton has boldly indicated today that he will assume the leadership to advance that vision of an immigration policy that first serves the interests of our national community's workers, especially its most vulnerable.

This year represents a rare opportunity. It is the first time in nearly a hundred years that there is a President in the White House who has declared his intention to reduce the overall numerical level of immigration.

THE PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED

Sen. Cotton is titling his bill the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act.

Its initials spell RAISE. It's the RAISE bill. Sen. Cotton wants to give hard-pressed American workers a raise by allowing labor markets to begin to tighten.

Sen. Cotton described the problem his bill is attempting to address:

  • For over a quarter century, the United States has accepted an average of 1 million immigrants annually--the equivalent of adding the entire state of Montana each year.
  • When only 1 out of every 15 immigrants arrives in the United States on a skills-based visa, the majority of the remaining immigrants are either low-skill or unskilled.
  • This generation-long influx of low-skilled labor has been a major factor in the downward pressure on the wages of working Americans, with the wages of recent immigrants hardest hit.
  • Wages for Americans with only high school diplomas have declined by 2 percent since the late 1970s, and for those who didn't finish high school, they have declined by nearly 20 percent. This collapse in wages threatens to create a near permanent underclass for whom the American Dream is always just out of reach.

THE 'RAISE' SOLUTION

Sen. Cotton describes the key elements of his bill like this:

Eliminate Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery: The Lottery is plagued with fraud, it advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and it does not even deliver the diversity of its namesake. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery.

Place Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees: The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average. (This is the same annual refugee cap in Pres. Trump's executive order. It is also the cap recommended in the 1980 Refugee Act, which is current law but which Presidents have routinely exceeded.)

Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

Eliminated would be green card categories for foreign citizens who are:

  • Adult parents of U.S. citizens
  • Adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Married adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried adult sons and daughters of legal permanent residents

Create Temporary Visa for Parents in Need of Caretaking: For U.S. citizens who wish to bring elderly parents in need of care-taking to the United States, the RAISE Act creates a renewable temporary visa on the condition that the parents are not permitted to work, cannot access public benefits, and must be guaranteed support and health insurance by their sponsoring children.

Friends, the difference in this being a wonderful BILL and it being an incredibly helpful LAW is likely to be the degree to which the 8 million members of NumbersUSA's online grassroots army makes it clear to their Members of Congress and to Pres. Trump that this is a true priority.

New Actions
ROY BECK, NUMBERSUSA FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

  Read more about Sen. Tom Cotton unveils the most important immigration bill for protecting American workers

Medford and Grants Pass residents - Jan. 25th Townhall meeting

Alert date: 
January 19, 2017
Alert body: 

State Representative

Duane Stark

House District 4

 


State Representative

Sal Esquivel

House District 6

News Release:  January 19, 2015

Contact:
Dawn Phillips-Rep Stark’s Office: 503.750.1764

Southern Oregon Legislators Host Town Hall January 25th in Eagle Point

(Salem)  Two Southern Oregon lawmakers will hold a Legislative Town Hall Wednesday January 25th in Eagle Point to preview some of the issues expected to be debated during the upcoming 2017 Session at the State Capitol in Salem.

The Town Hall starts at 6 pm on January 25th and is co-sponsored by State Representative Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass) and State Representative Sal Esquivel (R-Medford). Local residents are invited to attend the event which will be held at Eagle Point City Hall, 17 South Buchanan Avenue in Eagle Point.


“It’s important for us to touch bases with citizens in Southern Oregon before the legislative session gets underway this year,” said Representative Stark. “I wish we could host events like this in every corner of both of our legislative districts. Given the time constraints, we selected a location between both districts so we could have an opportunity to talk to people about the things that matter most in their lives.”

 

“There will be some significant challenges this time around,” said Representative Esquivel. “The state budget is going to mean some tough choices on critical issues such as human services, public safety, education, and others. There simply aren’t enough funds to go around for every program that folks want to see funded.”

 

For those who can’t make it to the Town Hall they can reach the legislators using the contact information below:

 

State Representative Duane Stark:

Rep.DuaneStark@oregonlegislature.gov
503.986.1404

 

State Representative Sal Esquivel
Rep.SalEsquivel@oregonlegislature.gov

503.986.1406

 

###

 

900 Court Street NE Salem, OR 97301   ¨   www.oregonlegislature.gov  

 

 


 

H-1B ruling proves that existing law allows employers to replace American workers

A federal judge in Orlando, Fla. ruled yesterday that the Walt Disney Company did not violate the law when it laid off roughly 250 high-tech American workers in 2014 and forced them to train their H-1B, foreign-worker replacements as a condition of their severance.

The plaintiffs, two of the laid off Disney workers, claimed that Disney and the two companies they outsourced the jobs to, Cognizant Technology Solutions and HCL America, had conspired to violate visa laws.

Federal Judge Gregory A. Presnell's ruling wasn't too surprising given the fact that existing federal law allows employers to do exactly what Disney did. But Disney's response to the ruling was a bit more appalling given the national fallout since news of the layoffs went public. According to the New York Times:

A spokeswoman for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Jacquee Wahler, said, "As we have said all along, this lawsuit was completely baseless, and we are gratified by the decision."

In other words, Disney is pleased that federal law allows American companies to replace American workers with cheaper, more compliant foreign workers.

Under existing H-1B rules, it's easy for companies like Disney to replace existing American workers with foreign workers. The law allows companies to replace their workers as long as they pay H-1B workers more than $60,000 a year, show that the worker has an advanced degree, and wait at least 90 days between the time the H-1B petition was filed and the replacement date of the American worker.

The waiting period is rarely an issue because the wait time from when an employer files a petition for an H-1B worker and when they receive an affirmative answer is usually more than 90 days. And according to Salary.com, an entry level software engineer in Orlando makes a little more than $61,000 per year, so the wage requirement isn't an issue for most employers either. In reality, the American workers doing the same job are likely making at least 50% more than that, so employers are still saving thousands of dollars by hiring cheaper H-1B workers to replace them.

The H-1B program is one of the most explicit examples of federal immigration policy working against the interests of American workers and the nation as a whole. And yet, Congress has done nothing to address it. In fact, there are more elected officials calling for increases in the H-1B program and an even further loosening of the rules than those who are calling for meaningful reforms that would prioritize American workers.

Supporters of the H-1B program argue that there is a shortage of American workers to fill these jobs and there are adequate protections in place to protect them. But yesterday's ruling undermines that argument. Clearly, the law, as written, allows companies to legally displace American workers, and the Disney example shows that there is no worker shortage.

In these remaining weeks before the general election, we urge you to hold your Members of Congress accountable on this issue and ask what they'll do to put an end to the abuses within the H-1B program. Read more about H-1B ruling proves that existing law allows employers to replace American workers

EEOC Renews Collaborative Agreements With Mexican Consulates in Pacific Northwest

SEATTLE - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today with the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle. This marks the fourth agreement signed between the federal civil rights agency and Mexican consulates throughout the Pacific Northwest, following signings in Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, Calif.; and Boise, Idaho.

Today in Seattle, Mexican Consul General Dr. Roberto Dondisch and EEOC San Francisco District Director William Tamayo signed an agreement renewing their ongoing partnership to provide Mexican nationals with information, guidance and access to resources on the prevention of discrimination in the workplace, regardless of immigration status.

"There is no better way to honor Labor Day than by signing these MOUs affirming the longstanding and beneficial collaboration between the Mexican consulate and EEOC," said Tamayo. "Together we can work to ensure that vulnerable workers understand their rights and are protected from discrimination."

According to the state's Office of Financial Management's estimates, the Hispanic/Latino population in Washington is 850,276, or 12.2% of the total population. Tamayo noted that EEOC's San Francisco District has recently signed similar agreements with local Mexican Consulates in three other areas with significant Latino populations.

- On Aug. 29, Tamayo met with Consul General Francisco Maass Peña and Consul for Protection and Legal Affairs Heliette González Hernández to sign a landmark MOU with the Mexican Consulate in Portland. The Pew Research Center notes that Oregon has the 19th largest Hispanic population in the nation, with about 496,000 people, or 12% of the total state population.

- Also on Aug. 29, EEOC Deputy Director Michael Connolly and San Francisco Consul Gemí José González launched Labor Rights Week by signing a sequel MOU at a ceremony in San Francisco. Latinos make up 15.3% of the city's numbers and represent California's largest ethnic group, at 39% of the state population.

- On Sept. 2, Tamayo and Consul General Celso Humberto Delgado Ramírez committed to continuing the partnership between the federal agency and consulate in Boise, Idaho. The Idaho State Journal reported that Latinos have the fastest growth rate of any ethnic group statewide at 2.9%, and in 2014 reached 196,502, or 12% of the state's growth.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. EEOC's San Francisco District has jurisdiction over Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Northern Nevada and Northern California. Further information about the agency is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov in both English and Spanish, or by calling its toll-free number at 1-800-669-4000. EEOC's toll-free TTY number is 1-800-669-6820. Read more about EEOC Renews Collaborative Agreements With Mexican Consulates in Pacific Northwest

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