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Roundtable: More Visas, More Raids; Women Sue Salk Institute; Imperial Beach Sues Big Oil

Audio

Work Visas, Immigration Raids; Salk Lawsuits; IB & Big Oil

PANEL

Kate Morrissey, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Gary Robbins, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Joshua Emerson Smith, The San Diego Union-Tribune


Transcript

The Trump Administration increased the number of temporary work visas (H-2B) by 15,000 this week, under a joint rule from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor.

The reason: the harm to employers unable to fill jobs is greater than the harm to American workers if someone fraudulently gets a visa.

Some Trump supporters are not happy, saying employers merely want to hire workers as cheaply as possible. They are concerned the program won’t be sufficiently monitored, and workers will overstay their visas.

Requests for H-2B visas have exceeded the cap for the last three years.

Related: Trump supporters see broken 'Hire American' promise in Trump's loosening of visa caps

IMMIGRATION: MORE RAIDS

The Story

The number of targeted arrests for immigration violations in San Diego has returned to pre-2014 levels. That was the year President Obama changed Immigration and Customs Enforcement's priorities to catching and deporting people convicted of felonies or multiple misdemeanors.

President Trump’s policy has ICE focusing on those charged with any level of crime, including unauthorized entry to the U.S.

From February through May, 2017, ICE arrested 547 people, more than double the 242 arrested in the same period last year.

Related: Targeted immigration arrests in San Diego area have more than doubled under Trump

WOMEN SUE THE SALK FOR GENDER DISCRIMINATION

The Story

And now there are three.

Biologists Vicki Lundblad and Katherine Jones were joined on Thursday by biochemist Beverly Emerson in filing gender-discrimination lawsuits against the Salk Institute, which Emerson described as "an antiquated boy's club."

They allege systemic gender discrimination, including toward Elizabeth Blackburn, the Nobel laureate who is the Salk's current president.

All three are full professors, well-known and well-respected in their fields. They believe Salk pays its women scientists less, promotes them more slowly or not at all, and offers them far fewer opportunities than it does male scientists.

The Institute came out swinging this week and said Jones and Lundblad perform in the “bottom quartile” of their peers, have failed to obtain adequate grants and have poor publishing records.

Related: 2 top female scientists sue Salk Institute for gender discrimination

Related: Gender discrimination controversy grows at fabled Salk Institute

Related: Salk Institute Gets Pushback Over Response To Gender Discrimination Lawsuits

TINY IMPERIAL BEACH SUES GLOBAL CONGLOMERATES

The Story

The small (29,000), relatively poor town of Imperial Beach has joined San Mateo and Marin Counties to sue more than three dozen oil and coal corporations for damages caused by rising seas.

They allege that the rising seas caused by global warming from carbon emissions in turn cause continuous flooding. They are suing for compensatory and punitive damages.

Imperial Beach, for instance, says Seacoast Drive floods often, and the city will eventually have to move a sewer line inland at a cost of $10 million dollars.

Other efforts to force oil and gas companies to pay up have focused on reducing greenhouse emissions and have failed so far.

Related: Imperial Beach, two counties sue fossil fuel companies for money to deal with sea level rise

STATE EXTENDS CAP-AND-TRADE

The Story

Eight Republicans joined with the Democratic majority in the California legislature this week to extend the state's cap-and-trade program on climate change.

Governor Jerry Brown had lobbied hard for this tool to fight emissions, and this vote keeps it in place until 2030. It also provides funds for the bullet train.

Cap-and-trade sets a firm limit or cap on greenhouse gasses, which will decline approximately 3 percent each year. Trading creates incentives to reduce greenhouse gasses below allowable levels through investments in clean technologies.

California's is the only program of this type in the United States.

Related: California Legislature extends state's cap-and-trade program in rare bipartisan effort to address climate change

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