Trump immigration policy breaks up a military family, yet again

Casey Michel

Casey Michel Reporter, Think Progress

Demetry Furman is probably not who the Trump administration had in mind when it sold the notion of “secure borders” to voters.

Furman, a former Canadian army captain, served in Afghanistan alongside American troops, and says he even achieved “top-level security clearance,” according to the Guardian. The 47-year-old’s work included stints alongside the CIA and the DEA. For good measure, his wife, Cynthia Furman, even worked as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

But as the Globe and Mail detailed last week, none of that mattered to the current administration, or to those working at Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE). ICE held the former artillery captain for months, due to a decades-old marijuana conviction — a conviction that had already been pardoned by the Canadian government.

Even with Furman’s background, and the fact that he’s married to an American citizen, ICE agents seized Furman after he tried to register a truck in Ohio. Finally, after increased media scrutiny, American authorities released the Canadian citizen, driving him to Windsor, Ontario, where he met his wife for the first time in almost three months.

Furman’s difficulties were compounded by the fact that Canadian officials in Detroit reportedly did not answer Furman’s numerous phone calls. According to the Globe and Mail:

Global Affairs Canada said in an e-mail on Tuesday that Canada cannot intervene on behalf of Canadians citizens who do not meet the entry or exit requirements of the United States or any other country, and that a pardon for an offence issued by Canada is not recognized by the United States. 

Furman’s conviction stemmed from a failed attempt in 1992 to sell marijuana to an undercover police officer. Canada, which legalized marijuana earlier this month, eventually pardoned Furman — a pardon that apparently did little to dissuade ICE from believing Furman to be some type of criminal who deserved to be held for months behind bars. To ICE, which made sure Furman was held in a maximum security prison, Furman was a drug dealer.

The incarceration is the latest travesty behind the Trump administration’s immigration policy. From breaking up military families to child separation to threats of military intervention, the administration’s zero tolerance policies have already caught numerous innocent immigrants in its dragnet.

Furman is the latest victim of such a policy — but he likely won’t be the last. “I feel betrayed. It’s a slap in the face because when I was in Afghanistan no one cared what flag was on my shoulder,” Furman told the Guardian.
Reposted from Think Progress
Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Uber Drivers Deserve Legal Rights and Protections

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

In an advisory memo released May 14, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office stated that Uber drivers are not employees for the purposes of federal labor laws.

Their stance holds that workers for companies like Uber are not included in federal protections for workplace organizing activities, which means the labor board is effectively denying Uber drivers the benefits of forming or joining unions.

Simply stating that Uber drivers are just gig workers does not suddenly undo the unjust working conditions that all workers potentially face, such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions and  job insecurity. These challenges are ever-present, only now Uber drivers are facing them without the protection or resources they deserve. 

The labor board’s May statement even seems to contradict an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that couriers for Postmates, a job very similar to Uber drivers’, are legal employees.

However, the Department of Labor has now stated that such gig workers are simply independent contractors, meaning that they are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay.

While being unable to unionize limits these workers’ ability to fight for improved pay and working conditions, independent contractors can still make strides forward by organizing, explained executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai.

“We can’t depend solely on the law or the courts to stop worker exploitation. We can only rely on the steadfast militancy of workers who are rising up everywhere,” Desai said in a statement. 

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Make Father's Day Union Made!

Make Father's Day Union Made!