The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week, in a 5-4 decision, that the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful. The ruling was technical and found the administration had not provided legal justification for ending DACA. There are approximately 700,000 people enrolled in the DACA program, with almost 27,000 DACA enrollees that are healthcare workers including nurses, pharmacists, home-care aides, and nearly 200 are medical students, residents, and physicians.
BACKGROUND IN 30 SECONDS
DACA is an Obama-era program that provides temporary legal status to qualified individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children if they graduated from high school or were honorably discharged from the military, and if they passed a background check. It allows qualified enrollees to work, study, and remain in the U.S. on a renewal permit. DACA beneficiaries are often called “Dreamers.”
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR BUSINESS?
Nearly three dozen legal briefs were submitted supporting DACA representing big business, education, religious institutions, labor unions, law enforcement, and national security. In a brief to the Supreme Court, it stated that ending DACA would “inflict serious harm” on employers, workers, and the economy. The economic loss of removing Dreamers would entail a gross domestic product loss of $215 billion, including a loss of $60 billion in tax revenues, over the next decade.
IS THIS FINAL?
Not likely. The court decided that the way the Department of Homeland Security went about canceling DACA was illegal, but the justices seemed to agree that the president does have the authority to cancel DACA if done properly. President Trump already tweeted that his administration will be submitting “enhanced papers shortly in order to properly fulfill the Supreme Court’s ruling.” We’ll keep watching for any legislative or executive movement on this.
The Louisiana House approved a bill (HB 59) yesterday that would shield public and private school systems from civil lawsuits if students or teachers contract COVID-19. The protections would also apply to colleges and universities. The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Buddy Mincey Jr., said he’s concerned without such a law, that schools will opt for distance learning rather than traditional classrooms because of liability worries. Two weeks ago, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law a package of measures that provides businesses limitations on liability due to COVID-19. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that Louisiana will stay in Phase Two of reopening for another 28 days as the number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations have started to rise. The measure is now in the Senate with one week left in the special session.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to more closely monitor businesses not following coronavirus guidelines. DeSantis said he planned to increase inspections of bars, restaurants, and hair salons by the Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation. Florida has seen a surge of new COVID-19 cases. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is talking with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut about the idea to quarantine people from Florida for a period of time. DeSantis issued an executive order on March 24 that requires travelers from the New York Tri-State area to quarantine for a period of 14 days.
Making Our Way Around the Country
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday to suspend the issuance of certain temporary worker visas through the end of the year. The order includes H-1B visas, which permit employers to hire foreign workers with specialized knowledge and are used heavily by multinational corporations and technology companies. The order cites the need to preserve jobs amid the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order does not apply to individuals already in the United States and provides for some exceptions, such as healthcare workers and researchers combating COVID-19, university professors, and people working in food processing.
For the second time this month, a federal judge ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cannot prevent the release of worker injury and illness records. The court ruled the employers’ injury and illness records that are submitted to OSHA are not confidential and can be released if requested through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The federal judge in the first case also found the employers’ injury and illness records were not confidential and were subject to FOIA requests. Approximately 300,000 employers file these records annually with OSHA.
This past Saturday marked the beginning of summer in the U.S. As states and municipalities around the country progress through phases of re-opening, public health officials recommend each of us aim to strike a balance between keeping safe at home and safely getting out to enjoy some summer socializing. We’re wishing you a safe, healthy, and fun summer!