Court battles over Title 42 continue as migrants amass at border – National & International News – FRI 16Dec2022



Court battles over Title 42 continue as migrants amass at border. California county votes to consider secession. Massive public sector strikes paralyze UK.




Court battles over Title 42 continue as migrants amass at border

El Paso, TX, and other border towns have seen a recent uptick in arriving migrants. At El Paso alone, some 2,000 migrants a day are crossing the border and seeking asylum. Border towns are are struggling to process and shelter people, many of whom have small children in tow. Some of these migrants have attempted to cross the border multiple times, only to be turned back under Title 42 pandemic restrictions. Many have waited in encampments at the border for months.

Back in April, the Centers for Disease Control declared Title 42 was no longer necessary. The measure went into force under former President Trump, ostensibly as a safeguard against COVID-19. Critics say the measure only succeeded in forcing more hardship on migrants. Under US law, migrants who meet certain criteria have a legal right to seek asylum. Title 42 was supposed to be an emergency suspension of that right.

A broken system

In its attempts to lift Title 42, the Biden administration has met numerous legal challenges from Republican states who want to keep Title 42 in place. Last month, a federal judge ruled Title 42 unlawful and ordered it to end on Dec. 21. The GOP states have launched another appeal, claiming that Title 42’s end would create a “disaster” at the border. If an circuit court turns them down, the states could appeal to the Supreme Court to keep the restrictions in place.

Department of Homeland Security Head Alejandro Mayorkas says that the chaos on the border as well as the legal tussles underscore the need for long overdue action on immigration reform by Congress. “Our asylum system is broken,” Mayorkas said. “Our immigration system as a whole is broken. It hasn’t been updated or reformed in more than 40 years”.

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One of California’s largest counties votes to consider secession

San Bernadino County, one of California’s most populous counties, has voted to consider seceding from the state. The county is home to an ethnically and racially diverse population of 2.2 million people, and sits just to the east of Los Angeles. By area, San Bernadino is the largest county in the state at 20,000 square miles, larger than 9 states. In an advisory ballot, this politically mixed county voted by a thin margin to direct local leaders to study the possibility of seceding from California.

The vote is largely symbolic as secession would require approval from both California’s Legislature and Congress, which isn’t likely. However, it does reflect growing frustration with the state’s government. Some are unhappy about the state’s progressive politics and high taxes, while others are frustrated by the state’s inaction on major social problems like homelessness.

The debate is reminiscent of the Greater Idaho movement further north. Majority conservative counties in Northern California and in Eastern Oregon and Washington State are campaigning to leave their relatively progressive states to join the neighboring conservative state of Idaho. Two Oregon counties recently joined the growing movement by passing ballot measures.

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Massive public sector strikes paralyze UK

Tens of thousands of public sector workers in the UK have joined a coordinated campaign of strikes to protest stagnant wages and working conditions. The UK public sector covers a much wider array of services than in the US. Unions representing the country’s nurses, railroad workers, airport workers and postal workers have all called strikes this month.

Susan Milner, a University of Bath professor who researches labor matters, says the economic standing of the UK’s public sector workers never really recovered following the 2008 financial crisis. Following the crash, Britain made massive wage cuts and layoffs across the public sector.

Things have gotten even worse in the last few years. When COVID hit, Conservatives in Parliament implemented a public sector wage freeze. Only nurses received a 3% pay rise last year. But with inflation now at 11%, many British public sector workers are struggling to make ends meet, and even relying on food banks. All the while, they are working more hours than ever before due to successive layoffs and a growing number of resignations. 

Conservatives in Parliament remain steadfast in their desire not to “give in” to labor unions. This won’t help their waning popularity. Current polls show that the Labor Party has huge margins of support over the ruling Conservatives. But there won’t be another general election in the UK until 2024.

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