Joe Biden Wants To Kick 13-Year-Old Slaughterhouse Cleaners Out Of Their Jobs

That's a tyranny!

As the US staggers through its Second Gilded Age, the legacy of decades of Republicans promising we'd all be better off if we just cut regulations on business while also gutting government agencies that only get in the way of prosperity, we're once more seeing problems that a lot of people thought had been left behind a century ago, like the horrors of child labor. Funny thing about capitalism: When you take away regulations that are supposed to keep people safe, the same old abuses come roaring right back.

Perhaps the one consolation is that we also have muckraking journalists who expose the abuses. As the New York Timesreported over the weekend (free gift link), the USA is seeing a wave of exploitation of migrant children who shouldn't be working in dangerous full-time jobs, but who are, thanks to failures in government systems meant to protect migrant children, chronic under-staffing of the agencies that are supposed to protect worker rights, and of course the tight post-pandemic labor market, in which there are too many job openings and too few adult workers willing to work for the low wages employers are offering. These kids aren't hiding out from immigration authorities, either: Most have been processed through the immigration system after surrendering at the border, and are in the US legally while their immigration cases move forward.

Also fortunate: There's a pro-labor Democrat in the White House, and outrage over the Times story has prompted the Biden administration to take action (another gift linky) to crack down on the abuses the investigation exposed:

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NY Times Exposé: Migrant Child Laborers Taking US Children's Dangerous ​Jobs

What? You say children shouldn't work dangerous jobs?

Remember how we all laughed at Newt Gingrich and mocked him back in 2011 when he suggested maybe schools could save money by hiring children to do the janitorial work and haha, did that idiot think it was 1890 or something? But of course, since the Reagan years, Republicans and business have been doing everything in their power to recreate the Gilded Age, only with smartphones. And yes indeedy, that includes child labor. Just look at that 1909 photo up top: replace the wooden shelves and cigar boxes with stainless steel, conveyor belts, and boxes of Cheerios, and make the girls Guatemalan 15-year-olds who are working the night shift at a factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and here we are again.

Chances are extremely good that most of us are buying stuff made using child labor, right here in the USA, as the New York Timesreports in a blockbuster investigation (NYT gift link) that calls to mind the muckraking journalism that helped end child labor back in the first Gilded Age. Times investigative reporter Hannah Dreier and her team talked to more than a hundred child laborers in 20 states and reviewed records that make it clear that this isn't just a matter of a few bad apples hiring migrant kids. The economy is shot through with underaged workers, and virtually all the safeguards that were supposed to keep that from happening have fallen apart.

Hooray for capitalism. Hooray for dismantling the administrative state. And now Republicans in several states want to make it easier for American kids to work dangerous jobs too, as long as they call it part of a "training program."

Read Moar: GREAT IDEA IOWA! Let Children Work Dangerous Jobs And Then Give Their Employers Civil Immunity!

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Biden Does Immigrant Workers A Solid; Wingnuts Too Busy Freaking Out Over Gas Stoves To Notice

Is it ... a Nice Time?

Maybe you weren't expecting a nicetime on immigration today, but we have one anyway! On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced new protections for undocumented immigrants who report violations of labor rights, giving the government an extra tool to use in cracking down on companies that exploit workers. Owners and managers tend to assume they can get away with cheating undocumented workers, threatening to call La Migra if workers complain or simply assuming that undocumented workers would never risk being deported if they report their employer.

Under the new policy, DHS will streamline its processes for providing up to two years of protection for undocumented workers who report violations of worker rights, as well as a permit to legally seek work. That policy has always been an option, DHS says, but it will now be made easier, with a centralized portal to make such reports and request deferred action (in English or Spanish). It's an incentive for people to come forward and cooperate with labor investigations, and obviously a useful tool for investigators, too.

As DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas explained in a statement,

Unscrupulous employers who prey on the vulnerability of noncitizen workers harm all workers and disadvantage businesses who play by the rules. [...] We will hold these predatory actors accountable by encouraging all workers to assert their rights, report violations they have suffered or observed, and cooperate in labor standards investigations. Through these efforts, and with our labor agency partners, we will effectively protect the American labor market, the conditions of the American worksite, and the dignity of the workers who power our economy.”

It's a win-win-win: Whistleblowers get protection for reporting exploitation, the government gets witnesses who'll help with investigations, and workers will be better protected from employers who use undocumented workers to drive down wages and protections for all workers.

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Supreme Court Tells Joe Biden Only Trump Can Do That

Immigration edition.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Title 42, the Trump administration policy that allows for rapid deportation of most undocumented immigrants even before they can request asylum, will stay in place while the Court considers a lawsuit brought by Republican states. The Biden administration has been trying to wind down Title 42 for much of the year.

Most recently, the program was supposed to end on December 21, but then Arizona and 18 other red states sued to keep it in place. The Supremes poked their heads out of their burrows yesterday, saw Stephen Miller's shadow, and voila, we have six more months of Title 42. The Court will hear arguments in the case in February, and isn't likely to change its order blocking the end of Title 42 until it issues a final decision in June, or ever.

As is his occasional wont, Neil Gorsuch voted with the three liberals on the Court to reject the states' appeal, but the other five Republican appointees voted to hear the case. The Court won't even be ruling on the constitutionality of Trump's use of Title 42 to exclude immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic that no Republicans take seriously.

Rather, the justices will be considering whether states can appeal a lower court's ruling that ordered the Biden administration to end the policy. Yes, the case really is about whether states can demand in federal court that a former president's executive orders must remain active two years into the succeeding presidency, on the principle that Republican presidents have nearly limitless executive authority while Democratic presidents must be reined in from abusing their power.

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