The administration is aggressively using executive action to achieve goals that have been stuck in Congress.
Obama expands “hardship” waiver for illegal immigrants. Last year the government started using discretion before deporting illegal immigrants. The aim would be to target felons and "public safety threats" but limit deportations of students and people who've lived here since childhood. Under the current system, it takes an average of six months for the government to judge waiver cases, and illegal immigrant applicants are required to go home during that period. Under the new rule, which does not require congressional approval, immigrants would be allowed to stay in the U.S. and apply for a waiver, which can be granted if deporting an immigrant would cause undue hardship to his or her U.S. family. Once waivers are granted, immigrants may apply for green cards. They would still have to leave the U.S. to make those applications, but because they would have hardship waivers in hand, they would be very likely to gain readmission to the country. The new rule means the illegal immigrant can stay in the U.S. during the adjudication period. “The goal is to reduce the time of separation and alleviate the extreme hardship to a United States citizen, as the law currently intends.”
The Obama administration proposed regulations to give the nation’s nearly two million home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections. Twenty-two states do not include home health care workers under their wage and hour laws. Republican lawmakers and business groups criticized the proposed rules. A 1975 labor rule defined home care aides as “companions,” a class of workers that does not qualify for federal minimum wage and overtime protections. Ms. Coke’s lawyer, Craig Becker, argued before the Supreme Court in 2007 that the rule was supposed to apply only to occasional domestic workers, like baby sitters, not home care aides. The justices ruled 9 to 0 that only Congress or the Labor Department could change the rule, not the court. President Obama nominated Mr. Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board in 2010. Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation vote, so President Obama installed him on the board through a recess appointment twice.
The administration’s move calls for home care aides to be protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the nation’s main wage and hour law. The White House said 92 percent of these workers were women. Nearly 30 percent were African-American and 12 percent were Hispanic. Nearly 40 percent rely on public benefits like Medicaid and food stamps. While industry experts say an overwhelming majority are paid at least the minimum wage, many do not receive a time-and-a-half premium when they work more than 40 hours a week.
President Obama announces his commitment to creating nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth this summer. “America’s youth can’t wait for Congress to act. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. That’s why today we’re launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America’s youth.” Blacks between the ages of 16 and 19 are more likely to be unemployed than any other group in the nation. Their jobless rate has consistently been more than twice that of white teens - and more than four times the national rate overall. The economist attributes these unemployment inequities to a growing shift of jobs - from the inner cities to the suburbs. He says weaker job networks for blacks, a low minimum wage, a deficiency in soft skills, and a bias among some employers are also factors. Black teens grapple with unemployment.