With help from Timothy Noah
TRUMP ATTEMPTS JUJUTSU ON CHILD SEPARATION: “Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.,” your commander-in-chief wrote Saturday on Twitter. Um, what? No such law exists. What does exist is a policy announced earlier this month by President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, to prosecute criminally all illegal border-crossers — a policy that, FactCheck.org explains, will result in many parents being separated from their children, since children can’t accompany adults to criminal detention centers. Nielsen imposed this policy amid heavy pressure from Trump to reduce border crossings, which lately have been rising.
It may not surprise you to learn that Nielsen judges Trump to possess a weak grasp of immigration policy, according to the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey and Nick Miroff, and that Nielsen and White House Chief of Staff have snickered privately together about Trump’s attachment to building a border wall. Dawsey and Miroff also report that in a January 2017 meeting with Senior Advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller, Trump “reminded them the crowds loved his rhetoric on immigrants along the campaign trail. Acting as if he were at a rally, he recited a few made-up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, such as rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country … according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later. Miller and Kushner laughed.” More from Dawsey and Miroff here.
But we digress. Asked to clarify Trump’s Saturday tweet about how Democrats were to blame for parent-child separation along the southern border, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley suggested that border policies supported by Democrats “lead to the temporary separation of illegal alien families because they refuse to close border loopholes that prevent those families from being swiftly returned home.” The White House referred FactCheck.org to a February statement from DHS about a 1997 legal settlement by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (precursor to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services) that limited to 20 days the length of time that that undocumented children could be held in detention. The DHS statement also referred to a 2008 law that, FactCheck.org said, “requires unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada to be placed in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, or relatives in the U.S., while they go through removal proceedings. The bipartisan bill was approved by unanimous consent and signed by [President George W.] Bush,” who of course is a Republican.
Trump’s tweet was utter nonsense, and press reports didn’t hesitate to say so. FactCheck.org labelled it “false.” Maggie Haberman of the New York Times called it a “demonstrably falsehood.” “Seung Min Kim of the Washington Post called it, a shade more politely, “misleading.” More here from FactCheck.org and here from Kim.
Speaking of undocumented children, on Monday the Department of Health and Human Services pushed back against reports by the Associated Press and others that it lost track of nearly 1,500 of them. “These children are not lost,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan in a statement. “Their sponsors—who are usually parents or family members and in all cases have been vetted for criminality and ability to provide for them—simply did not respond or could not be reached [in October, November, December 2017] when this voluntary call was made.” But that’s not how Steven Wagner, HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, put it when he testified last month before Congress. He said the agency “was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475” unaccompanied children.
GOOD MORNING! It's Tuesday, May 29, and this is Morning Shift, POLITICO's daily tipsheet on employment and immigration policy. Send tips, exclusives and suggestions to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @tedhesson, @AndrewBHanna, @IanKullgren and @TimothyNoah1.
STARBUCKS ANTI-BIAS TRAINING DAY ARRIVES: Starbucks will shut 8,000 cafes across the U.S. this afternoon to conduct anti-bias training. “The four-hour master class has been designed to address implicit bias, promote inclusion, and help prevent discrimination with the hopes of preventing future incidences,” CNBC’s Sarah Whitten reports. “The curriculum features videos from Starbucks' CEO Kevin Johnson and Chairman Howard Schultz, as well as rapper Common, and members from the Perception Institute who speak on racial anxiety and how employees can better serve customers. Employees will also watch a documentary from award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson.”
Not participating, as we reported last month, will be the Anti-Defamation League, whose CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, was originally slated to help create the event’s curriculum. The ADL was dropped after a few black activists objected to its participation on the grounds that it was “pro-cop” and pro-Israel, and because it took offense at what the ADL said were anti-Semitic remarks by “a small minority” of leaders of Black Lives Matter. (The ADL didn’t identify the leaders in question.) The company says its training is part of a “multi-phase effort” that will include ADL participation in the future.
The training was prompted by an incident in which two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia store location in April for using the bathroom without ordering coffee; they were present at the store for a business meeting with a third man who had not yet arrived. The company has now modified its store policies to allow anyone to use the bathroom. Also, “a really good step Starbucks took is the new guidelines for when employees should call the police,” Sigal Barsade, a management professor at the Wharton School told Morning Shift. “They’re much more specific.” More here.
IS THE POST OFFICE THE POST-JANUS FUTURE? As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legality of “fair-share” fees in Janus v. AFSCME, postal unions are being looked at as a possible model for post-Janus public-employee unions. “Like most state and local unions but unlike most federal unions, postal unions are permitted to bargain collectively over wages and benefits, “POLITICO’s Andrew Hanna reports. “As is the case with other federal unions, however, postal unions are barred from charging non-member fees — a constraint that Janus is expected to extend to state and local unions. But if [Solicitor General Noel] Francisco sees postal unions as forerunners to post-Janus public-employee unions, that isn't how postal unions see themselves.” More here.
GARRETT DENIES BULLYING, ADMITS DRINKING: “Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) said Monday that he has a drinking problem and will not seek reelection in November — a decision that came amid mounting scrutiny into his handling of his congressional office,” POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt reports. “The 46-year-old Garrett was the subject of a POLITICO report on Friday alleging that the congressman and his wife, Flanna, had used official staff to run errands and take care of their dog. In his Monday statement, he called the allegations ‘a series of half-truths and whole lies.’” More here.
PREVAILING WAGE = MINIMUM WAGE: The federal government has been paying contractors less than prevailing wage thanks to decades-old data, Bloomberg’s Josh Eidelson reports. “Over the past year, the U.S. Department of Labor has formally given approval for contractors to pay $7.25 for specific government-funded projects in six Texas counties, according to letters reviewed by Bloomberg. Those counties are among dozens around the nation where the government-calculated prevailing wage listed for certain work—such as by some carpenters in North Carolina, bulldozer operators in Kansas and cement masons in Nebraska—is just the minimum wage.
“That’s in part because, according to publicly available data from the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, the agency is relying on wage survey data in more than 50 jurisdictions that’s from the 1980s or earlier,” Eidelson writes. “Experts said that’s a far cry from what Congress intended when, starting with the Depression-era Davis Bacon Act, it passed a series of laws meant to ensure that private companies contracted for government-backed projects pay their workers at least in the vicinity of what others get for the same work in the same geographic area.” More here.
BORDER PATROL UNION V. NATIONAL GUARD: The U.S. Border Patrol’s union called the White House’s decision to deploy National Guard to the Mexican border a “colossal waste of resources,” Molly Hennessy-Fiske reports for the Los Angeles Times. The union’s president, Brandon Judd, said he was initially “excited” for the deployment, hoping it would alleviate the group’s workload. But restrictions on the Guard troops’ ability to operate, he said, have made them far less effective than when they were deployed under President Barack Obama. “They were allowed to do a lot more,” Judd said. “They were allowed to be in lookout and observation posts. They were allowed to be out grading the roads and mending fences. They were allowed to be our eyes and ears, freeing us up.” More here.
MARRIOTT WORKERS MARCH AGAINST HARASSMENT: Marriott hotel workers will be in Geneva today at the U.N. International Labour Conference to push for company measures to combat sexual harassment. Workers from worldwide locations will protest at the Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton to call for quicker responses to reports of sexual harassment and for greater protection from employee retaliation. “As the world’s largest hotel company Marriott has the power to raise standards for women across the entire industry,” said IUF General Secretary Sue Longley, who heads the international trade union federation representing the workers. “We want them to act now.”
REPORT: OVER HALF OF GLOBAL SOUTH URBAN WORKERS INFORMAL: Between 50 and 80 percent of urban workers in India, Africa, Latin America and Asia are part of the “informal economy,” according to a new study by World Resources Report. Looking at three categories — home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers — researchers found they make up a majority of urban informal employment but are often left out of cities’ public policy initiatives. Read it here.
— “Unions Are Not a Special Interest Group,” from New York Magazine.
— “When the Mailmen Rebelled,” from Jacobin.
THAT’S ALL FOR MORNING SHIFT.