politics

Donald Trump’s Dept. Of Labor Secretary Pick Has Admitted To Hiring An Undocumented Worker

@andypuzder / Twitter / Gage Skidmore / FLICKR

President Trump has not had an easy time getting his appointees confirmed. From Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education to Jeff Sessions at Attorney General, Democrats have worked diligently to slow down the process of confirming these appointees as a sign of disapproval. The latest drama coming from a Trump appointee is the revelation from Department of Labor Secretary Andrew Puzder that he and his wife once employed an undocumented housekeeper.

Andrew Puzder (center) claims that he and his wife unknowingly hired an undocumented housekeeper. He’s not the first appointee with the same revelation.

@andypuzder / Twitter
CREDIT: @andypuzder / Twitter

According to the Huffington Post, Puzder’s undocumented employee is just one more scandal in a growing list of questionable activities, one of which is the accusation of domestic abuse by Puzder’s ex-wife. Though the hiring of an undocumented immigrant is counter to the promise of job growth for Americans by the Trump administration, Puzder claims the hiring was an honest mistake. According to the Huffington Post, Puzder was unaware that his housekeeper was undocumented and the moment he realized her status, he immediately started to work to rectify the situation.

“My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S.,” wrote Puzder in a statement released by his spokesperson. “When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the State of California and submitted all required paperwork.”

Puzder is not the first presidential nominee to face questions about hiring undocumented employees. According to Newsweek, Bill Clinton had two attorney general nominees who withdrew their nominations after it was revealed that they had hired undocumented nannies. George W. Bush had a similar problem when his Secretary of Labor nominee, Linda Chavez, was found to have hired an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who lived with her for two years and received cash for cleaning and other housework, according to The New York Times.

Puzder’s confirmation hearing keeps getting delayed, so it is unclear when and if he will be confirmed.


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U.S. Gives $98 Million In Aid To El Salvador To Fight Gang Violence And Reduce Northern Migration

politics

U.S. Gives $98 Million In Aid To El Salvador To Fight Gang Violence And Reduce Northern Migration

Kurtis Garbutt/Mario Pleitez/FLICKR

Over the last few years, El Salvador’s reputation for gang violence and corruption has gained national attention. In 2015, San Salvador, the country’s capital and largest city, had one of the highest murder rates in the entire world, at 108.5 murders for every 100,000 people. In 2016, homicide across the country fell by 20 percent, but there were still 5,278 murders for the year, Reuters reported. The country has also seen a spike in the number of corruption cases levied against those who hold power in the highest offices of the country.

In an effort to help curb the violence, the U.S. has sent $98 million in aid to El Salvador’s government, Reuters reports.

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Jorge Quinteros/FLICKR

The $98 million, which was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2015, is part of a larger plan — the Alliance for Prosperity Plan in the Northern Triangle of Central America — designed to reduce gang crime and corruption in El Salvador and Central America. According to White House archives, the money will fund programs that will “better address the needs of those threatened by criminal gang violence and domestic violence, human rights defenders who have been targeted, and others.” However, U.S. intervention in Central America’s affairs is based on domestic concerns as much as it is in humanitarian interests in El Salvador.

Over the last few years, the U.S. has seen a surge of immigration from those looking to escape gang violence in El Salvador.

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ABC News/ YouTube

In El Salvador, violence between gangs, including MS13 and Barrio 18 — which were founded in the U.S. — has affected much of the country. Families of gang members can find themselves targets of retaliation and bystanders can find themselves caught up in the violence as well, leading to countless deaths.



To escape these conditions, many citizens have fled the country, often to the U.S, the New York Times reports. In some cases, gang members tired of the continual violence in El Salvador have also fled to the U.S. Part of Congress’s approved plan, according to the White House archives, is to develop “cooperation between the United States and Central America to ensure that fewer migrants embark on the dangerous journey to the United States.”



Attorney General Douglas Meléndez is leading the charge against El Salvador’s political corruption, the Washington Post reports.

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Noticias Telemundo/YOUTUBE

The money granted to El Salvador was also designated to combat corruption in the nation’s government, which plagued the previous administration. Current Attorney General Douglas Meléndez has filed corruption cases against many officials, including a case against former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes. Meléndez’s attempts to crackdown on corruption are in stark contrast to previous Attorney General Luís Martínez, who facilitated fraudulent and corrupt behavior among Salvadoran politicians and elites.

To combat gangs, police forces in El Salvador have been given freedom to use excessive force, Reuters reports.

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Kieth Allison / Flickr

In 2012 and 2013, the gangs in El Salvador declared a truce, leading to a dramatic reduction in the number of murders in the country. The truce “dissolved” in 2013, according to the Associated Press, and those officials responsible are now facing charges, saying the pact led to “illicit negotiations” between government officials and gang members. The terms of the truce may have led to less murders, but it also gave gangs more power in the long run, the New York Times reported.



By 2014, gang violence resumed in El Salvador, but this time, according to Reuters, the Salvadoran police were allowed to attack gangs “without any fear of suffering consequences.” This approach led to countless deaths among citizens at the hands of brutal authorities. Juanita Ortega, whose son who was killed by police, told the Guardian in February, “I tell you sincerely, we fear the soldiers more than we ever feared the gangsters.”

Whether or not the Northern Triangle’s Alliance for Prosperity Plan succeeds, one thing is for sure: El Salvador needs help.

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This past January, The Guardian reported that El Salvador experienced a dubious distinction: it had its first day without a murder in two years. Though the country is fighting back against both corruption and violence, we’re still a long way from finding out the impact this $98 million will have in the fight for the country’s future.



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