Culture

Dunkin’ Donuts Is Suing Franchise Owners In An Attack Against Undocumented Immigrants

If you think the Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts game wasn’t already polarizing, America’s coffee choices just got politicized. Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC filed a complaint in a Delaware federal court on June 24, alleging two of its franchise owners have violated federal immigration law and their stores should be shut down. This complaint was against Thomas Sheehan and Kenneth Larson, who run nine stores in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. It isn’t the first time Dunkin’ sued its own franchise owners for this reason.

Dunkin’ sent termination letters to 14 stores in New Jersey and Virginia and then filed a suit against them in April.

According to Dunkin’, it was a customer complaint that sparked this wave of suits.

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It then began a ten month review period which found hundreds of employee records with incomplete, unverified or falsified I-9 forms. Those I-9 forms are what authorize a person to legally work in the United States. The company also uses an electronic system called “E-Verify.”

Dunkin’ started using E-Verify in 2006, when only government agencies were using the system.

Credit: dunkin / Instagram

Two years later, the company began investing in lobbying efforts for immigration reform. It even hired an outside firm to lobby on immigration in 2017. It filed 100 similar lawsuits in 2006 and 2007 alone. The suits filed in the last couple of months are primarily citing its franchise owners for not using E-Verify.

One Delaware franchise owner has countersued Dunkin’.

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They’re claiming they were given no opportunity to “correct the violations” and suspect Dunkin’ is just trying to resell their stores for greater profit. Kind of like when your landlord stops caring about keeping you around so that they can hike up the rent.

Labor lawyers are saying that patrolling immigration status has never been a targeted issue in franchises.

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Dunkin’ is leading the way in pushing immigrant supporters from wanted to run on Dunkin’. Of course, folks are starting to #BoycottDunkin.

Those who support making life harder for undocumented folks are pledging allegiance to Dunkin’ Donuts.

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Some business analysts suspect Dunkin’ is simply making a play at reselling its franchises for profit by pushing owners out. Others imagine Dunkin’ is just trying to protect its own business by avoiding the potential for labor violation fines. Pesky customer complaints.

Last year, new CEO Dave Hoffman said hiring workers on work-study visas was “critical” for the company.

Credit: @dunkindonuts / Twitter

So the move could mean that it’s trying to show the federal government that it’s a lawful employer, in hopes that it would make receiving more legal work visas probable. That was said around the time that 7/11 avoided its own labor violation fines by assisting ICE with raiding nearly 100 stores. 7/11 stated that the franchises, not the company, were responsible for following labor laws.

Regardless, the move has acted as a dog whistle on Twitter.

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Sorry, @NookAppolloni, the move would be destroying hundreds of lives in the Northeast 💯.  The lawsuit targets stores in that area so the wish for California is kind of uneducated. With the inhumane conditions in detention centers and the increased privatization of said centers, it’s likely the most dangerous time to be an undocumented worker in the United States. 

Hypocrisy looks like knowing that Trump’s businesses employ undocumented workers without fear of consequence.

Credit: @JeffFromNH / Twitter

Being undocumented is not a gift or cheating the system. It is a burden to be someone who is more financially and socially vulnerable. Living undocumented means that, while on a quest for a better life, you have to forfeit basic human rights and live in fear that your employer might do something like this.

So, to the Latinx couple that found a screw in their Dunkin’ bagel this week, take it as a metaphor for what they are doing to undocumented people.

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Whatever the business motive is, the move is complicit in the inhumane detention of immigrants. A Jewish Holocaust historian coined the term, “the banality of evil,” which insinuates that evil doesn’t exist in a single mind alone. In order for it to be carried out, it must become pedestrian, seeped into a fabric of society until it is accepted.

READ: New Report Shows ICE Using DMV Data To Track People As Undocumented People Get Drivers Licenses

Supreme Court Hearing Arguments For DACA, Leaning Towards Elimination

Things That Matter

Supreme Court Hearing Arguments For DACA, Leaning Towards Elimination

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The United States Supreme Court heard over an hour and a half of arguments Tuesday on whether or not the Trump administration can end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The case has been brewing since the Trump administration first announced plans to end the Obama-era program in 2017. As of early reporting, it seems the justices are pretty closely split with the conservative members of the court seemingly leaning towards ending the program.

The Supreme Court heard more than an hour and a half of oral arguments in favor and against the preservation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Obama-era program gave deportation relief, driver’s licenses, work permits, and access to student loans for hundreds of thousands of young people in the U.S. Despite Trump consistently telling the media that the issue of DACA will be handled with heart, the president’s former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced the end of the program in 2017.

According to The New York Times, Trump moved to end the program because of “the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system.” Sessions stated that the program had “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”

Plaintiffs and attorneys for DACA left the Supreme Court today and chanted with thousands of protesters demanding the preservation of the program.

“Home is here! Home is here,” the crowd can be heard chanting as the plaintiffs all left the Supreme Court. The arguments helped determine where certain justices fall on the issue of preserving DACA and protecting hundreds of thousands of young people from being deported from the only home they know.

NBC News reports that the nine justices are closely divided on the issue with all of the conservative justices seemingly leaning against it. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh asking questions that seemed to confirm their alignment with the Trump administration’s decision. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer appear to be in favor of preserving the program. The deciding vote might come from Justice John Roberts, who in the court’s last term ruled against the Trump administration’s wish to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

A majority of Americans support the DACA program and the recipients who benefit from it.

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Selena Gomez recently debuted a new docu-series highlighting the lives of undocumented people in the U.S. The show has given new perspective to the immigration debate that has been raging in the U.S. for decades.

More than 60 percent of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center also favor a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. That poll found that 48 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

All eyes are on the Supreme Court as more than 600,000 DACA recipients wait to know their fate.

With such overwhelming support, it would seem that passing legislation to protect DACA recipients would be easy. However, Democratic Representation Lucille Roybal-Allard of California introduced a bill in March of this year called The American Dream and Promise Act. The bill would enshrine the protections offered by DACA into law. The bill passed the House of Representatives on June 4 and is awaiting a vote from the Senate. However, the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, has refused to take a vast array of bills up for a vote in an increasingly partisan pushback.

DACA and the lives of undocumented people in the U.S. are being evaluated at the highest court of the land today.

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Americans overwhelmingly support the program. The president has used this vulnerable community as a political pawn. At one point, the president was willing to offer DACA protections in exchange for border wall funding.

The nation is watching the Supreme Court closely as they are waiting to hear the fate of hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S.

Students in Los Angeles joined in with major walkouts to demonstrate in favor of DACA and their peers benefitting from the program. We are all waiting to hear how the Supreme Court rules on this issue.

Check back with mitú as this story develops.

READ: Luis Cortes Is The 31-Year-Old Dreamer Attorney Fighting To Save DACA In The Supreme Court Case

Judge Reopens Lawsuit Against The Washington Post For Defamation By Teen Nick Sandmann

Entertainment

Judge Reopens Lawsuit Against The Washington Post For Defamation By Teen Nick Sandmann

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Federal U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman has reopened Covington Catholic student, Nick Sandmann’s, $250 million defamation case against The Washington Post. Judge Bertelsman had dismissed the suit in July but is now allowing a discovery process in regards to three of the 33 libel claims against The Washington Post. Additionally, a separate multimillion-dollar claim filed against CNN has been granted discovery.

As you may recall, The Washington Post reported a January 18 incident during which Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann and Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips were recorded in a standoff at the Lincoln Memorial Stairs. Now, Judge Bertelsman is allowing Sandmann’s legal team to access The Washington Post’s documents at the time as they pertain to alleged defamatory statements about Sandmann “blocking” Phillips from exiting the confrontation.

Nick Sandmann is claiming that he was falsely labeled a racist and vilified by The Washington Post and other press.

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Sandmann and his fellow Covington Catholic peers were demonstrating at the annual anti-abortion March for Life protest, all donning Make America Great Again hats. Nathan Phillips was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March. Viral footage showed Phillips singing and playing a drum face-to-face with Sandmann, who is seen smiling. His peers, also plaintiffs in the case, are shown in the background, jeering and laughing. 

As the story quelled to a national platform for debate, new footage was unearthed that showed Phillips, in fact, approached Sandmann. The suit claims that The Post ‘bullied’ the plaintiffs to further an alleged ‘anti-Trump agenda.’

At first, Judge Bertelsman dismissed the suit on grounds of First Amendment protections of the press.

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“Few principles of law are as well-established as the rule that statements of opinion are not actionable in libel actions,” Bertelsman initially said in his 36-page judgment last week. The First Amendment protects opinions printed in the press. Phillips had told The Washington Post that he was blocked from passing, and The Washington Post claims it was simply relaying Phillips’ opinion alongside Sandmann’s. Still, Sandmann’s legal team has cited three Twitter posts and seven articles that they deem ‘defamatory’ to their plaintiffs.

Sandmann has become the martyr of the right’s perceived war against #FakeNews, as instigated by President Trump.

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When Sandmann initially filed suit, the President of the United States tweeted, “Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!” Just today, Trump applauded the judge’s decision and denounced “the thoroughly disgusting Washington Post (which is no longer available at the White House!).” His tweet has been liked 84k times with over 21k retweets, many of which come with comments like, “That is excellent news in the fight against #FakeNewsMedia outlets that set out to destroy innocent people’s lives. I hope that Nick wins millions of dollars.”

“This is a huge win,” tweeted attorney Todd McMurtry. “Now #NickSandmann will be able to start discovery and find out exactly what the reporters were thinking when they attacked Nicholas and the #CovingtonCatholic kids.”

The new decision is likely to reopen a string of other suits in Sandmann’s favor and has already opened a case against CNN.

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A week after The Washington Post suit was filed, McMurty filed multimillion-dollar suits against CNN and NBC. Today, the court released a new motion that grants discovery in the case against CNN. “As in the Washington Post case,” court documents read, “the Court believes that discovery is necessary to determine what happened in the unfortunate events which give rise to this litigation, and, to determine whether defendant accurately reported them, and, if it failed to do so, whether the failure was due to negligence or malice.”

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and CNN correspondent Ana Navarro are also implicated in a separate suit that would grant Sandmann up to $600,000.

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The eight students are listed anonymously and claim that Warren and Navarro, along with ten other defendants, defamed their character and erroneously caused harm to their reputation and lives. In a tweet the following day, Navarro actually came to the defense of Sandmann, tweeting, “Some see it differently & yes, it’s complicated. I think the kid was obnoxious as hell & got into Native American elder’s face. But come on. For God’s sake. It’s Martin Luther King Day. Nobody -specially some kid not old enough to grow a beard- should get death threats. Stop.”

The defendants in the suit also include activist Shaun King, US Representative Deb Haaland, comedian Kathy Griffin, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jefferey, Rewire Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson, Kentucky entrepreneur Adam Edelen, and former CNN correspondent Reza Aslan.

READ: The President Tried Making Vulgarity Mainstream With An Attack Against Mitt Romney But Ana Navarro Had Time To Play