With so many businesses either closing down or taking a serious hit due to the current pandemic crisis, we are left asking the inevitable questions, “Are there any businesses out there who are actually thriving in all of this? If there are, how are they doing it?”
Few businesses have managed to become examples of this, but if you’re looking for answers, you need look no further than the neighborhood top dog, Amazon.
The multibillion dollar company has been profiting greatly since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, continuing to take orders from consumers stuck in their residences, and they’re even looking to hire an extra 175,000 workers to support the current demand.
Cleary the company is seeing profit, but at what cost?
Nationwide protests have swarmed the warehouses of the internet giant, being haroled as possibly the largest protests yet against Amazon’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Warehouse workers have been demanding that Amazon shut down facilities where employees have tested positive for COVID-19. They have also been stating that they are not being given masks that the company had promised them, and for Amazon to ease their speed quotas so that they can take more handwashing and other breaks.
“I touch over 2,000 different items every day I work there. I have to grab products out of the shelf and put them in the bins. …And I’m not wearing any protection,” states Terrell Worm, one of the Staten Island warehouse employees. “Amazon says we’re all a family here. If they really saw us as a family, they’d care about keeping us safe and keeping us home.”
Another such protester was Christian Smalls who was a warehouse worker for Amazon that assisted in staging a protest, demanding the closing of one of its New York facilities after discovering several confirmed cases of employees infected by the coronavirus. Smalls was fired following the protest, and which has New York officials looking closely at Amazon with suspicion of violating whistleblower policies.
Officials write that their preliminary findings “raise serious concern that Amazon may have discharged [Smalls] in order to silence his complaints and send a threatening message to other employees that they should also keep quiet about any health and safety concerns.”
After his firing, VICE reported findings of Amazon memo details that were leaked, which narrated an agreed upon smear campaign on Smalls and the union/organizing movement, calling him “not smart or articulate”, and with plans to make him the face of the movement.
Still Amazon holds fast to their position that Smalls was fired because he violated a 14-day quarantine, after he came into contact with another employee who tested positive for the coronavirus. They argue that while they respect their workers’ right to protest, “these rights to not provide blanket immunity against bad actions, particularly those that endanger the health, well-being or safety of their colleagues.”
Indeed, Smalls is not the only case being investigated. Other activists on the Amazon team were also fired for criticizing the company’s warehouse working conditions. Among other affairs, the workers have also raised concerns about receiving pay after being sent home, and also about Amazon removing their unlimited paid sick leave policy.
Time will tell whether the nationwide complaints are unfounded or prove the old adage to ring true that “you can’t make an omelet without cracking some eggs”. As it stands, Amazon seems primed to crack as many eggs as it needs to, to continue seeing results.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County worker’s compensation attorney.
It’s not easy being an immigrant in this country.
Under the current presidency, immigration laws have been unrelenting, and immigrants have been thrown into detention facilities, suddenly torn from their families, suffered neglectful conditions with horrific consequences, and consequently have experienced immense setbacks and losses.
Now, without any warning, let’s add a worldwide pandemic to this scene.
Does it paint a picture? Even before this worldwide health crisis, the reality for immigrants in our country was a terrifying sight. Now detention facilities with a host of immigrants are struggling to keep detainees and staff alike, safe and protected from the coronavirus.
“It was a broken system already, and unfortunately, ICE has not been responding with urgency.”
Katherine Hawkins of Project on Government Oversight, or POGO in Washington, D.C. criticizes Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and rightfully so after their investigation of Carlos Mejia-Bonilla, a Salvadoran man detained at Hudson County Jail during 2017, revealed his cause of death to be a result of negligence in providing him proper healthcare on their part.
Currently only 705 detainees in ICE facilities have been tested for COVID-19 out of a total 30,000. Out of those 705 tested, 425 have tested positive for the virus. The situation is dire for those involved. According to health professionals, these facilities were in bad standing to begin with, and now with the coronavirus running amok, everyone in these facilities are in jeopardy. One doctor who had seen these facilities firsthand, elicits deep concern over their abilities to keep these people safe.
“They’re held in very crowded conditions in a setting that is designed for control, but certainly not for hygiene or to prevent transmission of an infectious disease,” states Dr. Nathaniel Kratz, who is an instructor at Columbia University and a physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “I can also speak to the substandard levels of medical care and attention that they received there,” he said, which was “deeply concerning given the current crisis.”
At LaSalle Detention Facility in Louisiana, another man named Roy Rayson had died in 2017 under the care of ICE. After an investigation was performed by POGO, results concluded that this again was another case of negligence on the part of ICE members. This again was long before the coronavirus pandemic was in place, and although the facility stated that they have been taking the proper precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus, there is still apprehension that ICE members are not administering adequate attention to its detainees.
“What we’ve seen overall in these facilities….is a serious and worsening condition for what folks are facing…and that’s denial of medical care, overcrowding, a refusal of basic health-related needs.” exhorts Amber Khan, the director of health justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
However the GEO Group, which operates the LaSalle facility, denies that there is a severe outbreak and says they are providing adequate masks and hygiene opportunities to detainees.
“We take our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of all those in our care and our employees with the utmost seriousness,” sais GEO spokesman in a statement, “and we reject efforts by outside groups to advance politically-motivated agendas in the face of the unprecedented health crisis facing our country.”
GEO asserts that employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus are self-quarantining, and that the LaSalle facility even operates an “airborne infection isolation room”. Still, some immigrant advocates seem to be hearing a different side of the story. One attorney, Laura Murchie, represents clients at the LaSalle facility and her concerns color a very different narrative.
“People are terrified…They see people with various COVID symptoms — coughing, fever, chills.” retorts Laura, “I’ve heard from plenty of clients that for any issue that they have, they just give you ibuprofen. And if it’s not working, they just give you more. They’re truly endangering people’s lives.”
It’s a grim scene, but one we’re left to contemplate while the pandemic ensues. And with so many voices crying out at once, it’s easy to overlook those who can’t speak for themselves.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County Personal Injury and Worker’s Compensation attorney.
California has been in lock-down mode for a few months now due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we’re all waiting rather patiently for the day to come when small businesses and public facilities will begin to reopen.
We find ourselves looking for guidance from state and federal legislators, medical health professionals, religious institutions, and news agencies, waiting for signs and predictors that might give us a clue to this complex puzzle of uncertainty. Yet, the more we look the more we begin to realize…
Nobody really seems to have the answers.
Governor Gavin Newsom of California recently submitted his plans to move the state out of the current stay-at-home order. This four stage plan echoes what most health professionals have been exhorting the general public to do, and that’s to lift the stay-at-home order very slowly, so that we can avoid another serious spike in the fight against the virus.
There seems to be, however, a few ambiguous benchmarks in Gov Newsom’s plan.
The first stage proposes that we build up testing, tracing, PPE, and hospitality. Currently California has recorded testing only about 2% of the entire state population. Indeed it is imperative we expand and increase our testing efforts if we are to relish in that fresh California air anytime soon. The governor has mentioned that there will be new testing sites momentarily, after recently receiving a much needed shipment of specimen swabs from the federal government.
The rest of the first stage revolves around preparing safety guidelines for each sector of the workforce, and making our essential workers as safe as possible. This all sounds very familiar…wait, have we been in stage one this entire time?!
The second phase seems to reinforce our current standing in the escape plan. Part of it involves opening up “lower-risk” workplaces that have been “adapted” for social distancing. This means curbside pickup for retail stores, reopening manufacturing businesses, and even increasing access to public spaces. This stage seems to include only the businesses that can limit customers running around, which allows for greater control of the spreading of the virus.
The third stage is one we have yet to see, and is identified as opening “higher-risk” workplaces. Here’s where we’ll start to see places like restaurants open, salons, gyms, religious services, and even…sports? The National Basketball Association is predicted to continue in May, barring jurisdictions that aren’t under a shelter-in-place order.
“The potential rule changes would allow teams to make their practice facilities available for use by the team’s players for workouts or treatment on a voluntary, individual basis if the team’s facility is in a city that is no longer subject to a government restriction,” the league states.
These allowances in stage three will only take place with strict social distancing in place, which in the case of NBA sports means– no live audiences allowed. Movie theaters are also expected to open up during this time, again only with strict social distancing in place.
The fourth and last stage is the most ambiguous of all, and will harold the end of the stay-at-home order. In this stage the highest-risk environments will be reopened: live sporting events with fans, concerts, festivals, conventions, etc.
Gov. Newsome has commented that stage three is still months away (excluding the NBA), and stage four is completely contingent on whenever we have treatment available, which could be months, a year, or quite possibly longer.
With all of these different businesses and facilities mentioned, schools are a big question that needs answering. Governor Newsome has lumped it in with the gradual reopening of lower-risk businesses in stage two, which means schools may possibly begin opening in as early July or August.
Dr. Sonia Angell, California’s state director of the Department of Public Health, lays it out for us very plainly, “When the data tells us that the moment is right, those environments can start to open.”
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County worker’s compensation and personal injury attorney.
COVID-19 has sprung up like a vicious weed garden, leaving the nation and the world dumbstruck and in a panic.
As the pandemic continues, businesses everywhere are doing their part to combat the insidious and exponential spread of the virus, inciting different methods and going to various extremes to restrain its movement and aid in the fight against coronavirus.
Among these companies are ride sharing giants Uber and Lyft.
Both ride sharing companies announced that they are suspending their shared rides features (known as “Uber Pool” for Uber and “Shared Rides” for Lyft) in the U.S. and Canada, which allow riders to carpool if they are headed in the same direction for a reduced rate. Uber and Lyft both noted that these actions are being directed as a response to public health safety guidelines.
“Our goal is to help flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve,” Uber executive Andrew Macdonald stated plainly. “We remain in close contact with local leaders and will continue to work with them to discourage nonessential travel.”
A spokeswoman for Lyft asserted, “The health and safety of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we’re dedicated to doing what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and base our actions on official guidance.”
While ride sharing has specifically been kicked to the curb for the time being, both companies have yet to halt their remaining business operations.
The very popular UberEats is still up and running, and if you need to get somewhere you still have the option of requesting a regular pickup. Both apps however are displaying precautionary messages, urging that people only travel where and when they absolutely need to. A commendable effort on the part of both companies, considering their livelihoods depend on the very thing they are discouraging.
Another business has taken a more creative response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Amidst the widespread closures of Regal Cinemas and AMC Theaters across the country, Comcast NBCUniversal has announced that they will be allowing regular theater goers to live stream new movies at home on-demand during the same day as their official release in theaters.
CEO of NBCUniversal, Jeff Shell, proposed, “Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable.”
NCBUniversal will also be allowing movies that are currently in theaters to be available for streaming starting this Friday, March 20.
Disney is another company jumping on this bandwagon, diverting the release of “Frozen 2” to the Disney+ streaming service, and making it available to subscribers three months ahead of schedule.
The Walt Disney Company CEO, Bob Chapek, emphasizes, “Frozen 2 has captivated audiences around the world through its powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family, messages that are incredibly relevant during this time.”
These are only a few of the businesses coming through with alternative solutions in the presence of a still climbing threat. Many other businesses however have not been so lucky, either completely shutting down or forced to severely constrict their daily operations.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County worker’s compensation and personal injury attorney.
The higher up you climb, the further down you fall.
Former GOP representative Duncan Hunter received a sentencing of 11 months in federal prison due to an illegal misuse of campaign funds, likely ending his political career.
Hunter began serving as a representative for California congress in 2009, replacing his father, former Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, who held the congressional seat for 28 years. Both were promising individuals, the younger Hunter serving during the Iraq war, and his father a former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
At the tail-end of a swift decline, Duncan Hunter resigned his congressional seat this past January due to criminal charges brought against him and his wife a little over a year before.
Per the August 2018 indictment, during his induction into Congress in 2009 and up until the end of 2016, both Hunter and his wife Margaret were charged of conspiracy to, “knowingly and willfully convert Campaign funds to personal use by using them to fulfill personal commitments, obligations, and expenses that would have existed irrespective of Duncan Hunter’s election campaign…”
Frivolous and inconsiderate spending of campaign funds is a violation of Federal Law, so naturally Hunter was charged with corruption after spending $250,000 worth of campaign money on various items such as eating out, airline tickets, hotel rooms, birthday parties, and even spending money to fly the family pet, a bunny named “Eggburt”, cross-country.
Last year former Representative Darrell Issa, a proclaimed friend of Hunter, announced his intention to supplant Hunter as the next congressman from the 50th Congressional District.
“He deserves his day in court,” Issa said, and proceeded to express his conviction unreservedly that, “the 50th Congressional District does deserve the ability to maintain this as a conservative district and, quite frankly, to have a member who can show up and take all of his committee assignments.” A remark displaying clearly the fragile position Hunter was in.
Both husband and wife were indicted on five dozen criminal counts, including wire fraud & conspiracy and falsification of records.
Hunter initially denied all charges and his attorneys made the case that the prosecution was unfairly trying to embarrass him. Later however, he gave way to a change of heart and decided it would be better to plead guilty. Duncan described his defection as a mindful consideration for his family’s sake.
“It’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids,” he admitted to KUSI, a local television station in San Diego last December.
“Whatever my time in custody is, I will take that hit…my only hope is that the judge does not sentence my wife to jail. I think my kids need a mom in the home.” Hunter concluded.
To this tune, Margaret Hunter struck a plea deal, the only catch being she had to testify against her husband in court. Her sentencing is scheduled to be held on April 7, and her husband is obliged to turn himself in and begin serving his sentence starting May 29.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County worker’s compensation and personal injury attorney.
“This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s urgent message propels the newest relief bill past opposition in the Senate, as it awaits President Trump’s signature. After facing some delays among concerns from Republican senators, the now passed legislation aims to aid Americans directly affected by the coronavirus.
Specifically, it provides paid sick and family leave for some U.S. workers impacted by the illness, expands unemployment assistance, provides nutrition assistance, and provides a greater abundance of resources needed for virus testing.
While this is a step in the right direction to provide relief for the country during this time of crisis, Senator McConnell expressed serious concerns and a call to action that still needs to be made regarding further economic aid to Americans and small businesses.
“…it does not help enough Americans and, crucially, it adds even more uncertainty for small businesses.” the Senator shared on Twitter. McConnell continues, “It will make it all the more urgent for the Senate to pass bold legislation to help small businesses.”
Earlier this month, the Trump administration approved eight billion dollars in funds to respond to the coronavirus threat, which was the first congressional measure addressing the pandemic. Now with the passing of this second bill, action towards lingering concerns for additional aid are already underway and efforts are being focused on a third, larger relief measure that could total up to one trillion dollars.
“Americans need cash now, and the president wants cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin demonstrates a sense of deep urgency in his remarks, working with President Trump on the relief package and requesting roughly one trillion dollars from Congress.
Mnuchin asserted at a White House press conference on Tuesday, “We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” with plans to have the funds directed towards small businesses, loan guarantees for industries such as hotels and airlines, and a stimulus package for workers.
This upcoming measure alongside the one passed just this Wednesday, exhibits the amount of pressure and urgency that the COVID-19 situation is demanding from government officials.
“We’re going to work here in warp speed for the Senate, which almost never does anything quickly,” Senator McConnell communicated to reporters this past Tuesday. “These are not ordinary times, this is not an ordinary situation, so it requires extraordinary measures.”
There is hesitation however about how exactly these trillion dollar measures will be executed.
“It’s just the mechanism that’s the question,” a senior Republican congressman stated to NPR. The congressman admitted that “the most difficult piece” of this relief bill will be how the government is going to structure direct payments to Americans. He remained confident however that payments will happen.
Perhaps one of the most crucial actions taken place was President Trump invoking the Defense Production Act in order to allow private firms to produce critical goods in response to urgent need. The invocation basically allows the entire process of production to move forward at a much faster pace, creating resources we desperately need such as medical supply masks, ventilators, and the coronavirus test kits.
As time goes on, we’ll begin to see a more clear picture regarding our response to this dire situation the country now faces. Americans are no strangers to change however, so let this trying time be an opportunity to yet again display our resilience as we rise to meet the adversary before us.
John Rosenbaum is a trusted Orange County personal injury attorney.
As the imminent threat of coronavirus continues to affect the nation, lawmakers in Congress are moving even faster to pass legislation that allows for economic relief for Americans.
The reason? Lawmakers themselves are beginning to test positive for COVID-19.
Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams reported on Wednesday evening that they had both tested positive for the coronavirus, and have been self-quantining as a result.
Diaz-Balart is a GOP representative from Florida’s 25th Congressional District, and said that he developed symptoms on Saturday evening beginning with a headache and a fever.
McAdams is a Democrat representing Utah’s 4th Congressional District, and he stated experiencing “mild, cold-like symptoms” on Saturday evening as well. Over time, these symptoms evolved into a fever, where McAdams then began coughing and experiencing difficulty breathing. He was “immediately isolated” in his home that evening.
These two individuals were both on the House floor this past Saturday voting to pass the second coronavirus relief package that President Trump just recently signed on Wednesday night.
Democratic House Speaker Nanci Pelosi’s office mentioned they have cleaned all areas that seem to have been at risk as a result of the in-house outbreak, and that the two affected congressmen are being attended by physicians and are “ill, but in good condition. They are following CDC specified self-isolations guidelines at their homes.”
Diaz-Balart has not yet returned to Florida because his wife Tia, has a preexisting condition that could make her exposure to the coronavirus a severe one if she catches it.
“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better.” Diaz-Balart states, “However, it is important that everyone take this extremely seriously and follow CDC guidelines in order to avoid getting sick and mitigate the spread of this virus…we must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”
Diaz-Balart and McAdams aren’t the only two members of Congress taking precautions over the recent spread on the House floor. There are seven other members of Congress who have announced they would self-quarantine after experiencing exposure in various places, including an added scare that three Hill staffers have tested positive for the virus.
A GOP physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, is working with lawmakers who are getting tested, and connecting with members who could have been exposed.
Monahan is conferring with those lawmakers who are coming out testing positive for COVID-19, and having discussions with them about who they’ve come into contact with as of late in order to map about the affecting parties, in which case Monahan would attempt to advise those individuals to self-quarantine so they don’t spread the virus any further.
GOP Representative Drew Furguson is a crowning example of this process, who mentioned through his Twitter that he will now be self-quarantining until March 27th after being informed by Monahan that he had come into contact with a member of Congress who had tested positive for the virus.
The spread of the virus in Congress has also prompted an increasing interest to allow remote voting for House lawmakers in order to further stem the outbreak, however there have currently been no decisions made.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County worker’s compensation and personal injury attorney.
COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives in a remarkably short amount of time.
Hope, for many, has become a bitter ideal and something just beyond reach, as we see millions of people across the nation being affected by the rippling changes of this virus. Although the great majority of citizens have been lending an inspirational amount of support to one another, there are still those who would seek to profit off of the fear and uncertainty running rampant parts of our country.
“It’s a perfect ecosystem for somebody like a fraudster to operate in.”
Words spoken by Craig Carpentino, who is the U.S. attorney for New Jersey as well as the head of the Justice Department’s COVID-19 price gouging and hoarding task force.
Apparently the virus pandemic had been causing all sorts of illicit activity, including price gouging, illegal hoarding of essential goods, false creation and sale of “miracle cures” or treatments for the virus, and even operations known as “advance-fee schemes”, in which people are offering to sell millions of dollars worth of merchandise contingent on a sizeable advance from the buyer, but end up never receiving the merchandise and losing their advance payment fee.
One sinister example of this type of scheme involved a man named Christopher Parris from Georgia, who sold $750 million worth of masks and other protective equipment to the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, the merchandise offered did not even exist in the quantities offered by Parris.
Why would business organizations fork over an obscene amount of money, upfront, without receiving some sort of guarantee beforehand? It shows how desperate the times have become and Steve Merrill, the head of the FBI’s financial crimes section, cautions the public to beware of these criminals, who are apparently appearing in many different places around the country.
“We’re getting many complaints that different entities are entering into these agreements, paying money upfront, sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars, and may or may not get any masks or other PPE ordered at all…our guidance to the public is to please me wary of these frauds and solicitations.”
Another case that was deemed the first criminal case under the Defense Production Act, a man in Long Island, New York named Amardeep Singh had allegedly stockpiled more than 5 tons of medical equipment, including masks and gloves, in his retail store and warehouse. He was then selling the equipment in a section of his store marked “COVID-19 Essentials” at heart wrenching rates. The disposable masks, for example, were being sold at an alleged markup of over 1000% their normal cost!
These types of selfish, predatory behaviors are just a few examples on a long list of cases that have been surfacing since the onset of the pandemic just a few months ago. Unfortunately, Carpentino and Merrill both agree that this is only the beginning. Due to the extraordinarily large $2 trillion stimulus relief fund that is being issued to people across the nation, even more cases of fraud are expected to come to the fore.
“What we’re worried about is that not only do we have these existing conditions, but we are awaiting — like everybody in the country — the arrival of $2 trillion to hit the streets. And anytime there’s that much money out there, you can just multiply the amount of frauds that are going to take place. So we’re preparing for many more complaints to come in and new schemes to arrive on a daily basis.”
Merrill concludes with a heavy reality of the circumstances placed before us. Great relief comes with great consequences; with those who seek to take advantage of these circumstances, combined with the natural threat of the virus, we must be more relentless now in our perseverance of hope amidst this pandemic than we previously may have assumed.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County worker’s compensation attorney having served the county for decades.
For immigrants in this country, times have almost always been tough. Especially if you’re an illegal immigrant facing deportation.
Well, coronavirus has you covered!
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE made a public statement on Wednesday, saying they are beginning to switch their focus to “public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds”, delaying its arrest of suspected individuals for violating immigration laws until after the coronavirus threat is dealt with.
“To ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response, ICE will temporarily adjust its enforcement posture beginning March 18th.”
ICE mentioned they would use alternatives to detention when circumstances are appropriate, like in the case of lower-level offenders. These alternative measures include using ankle bracelets and telephonic monitoring systems.
With immigration being such an important cornerstone of the Trump Administration and his 2020 reelection campaign, it goes to show how serious this outbreak has become.
As a response to complaints issued by immigration judges and prosecutors alike about busy courts putting them at risk for contracting COVID-19, the U.S. Government has also canceled all deportation hearings for those immigrants who aren’t being detained in order to address this concern.
What’s more, the ICE agency has made a surprising announcement that immigrants do not have to be afraid of looking for medical attention during this time.
“Consistent with its sensitive locations policy, during the COVID-19 crisis, ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.”
Some advocates for immigration however are skeptical about these new proclamations.
Maria Rodriguez is an executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition who reported to the Miami Herald “two incidents in Gainesville, where at least six workers were detained and transferred to a detention center and hundreds of people — without access to bathrooms outside to wash their hands — still being forced to check in at Miramar check-in center.”
About 200 non-detained people were standing outside in line at Miramar on Wednesday waiting for their mandatory check-ins. This raises serious sanitation and negligence issues considering the current state of affairs, and ICE’s commitment to what should clearly be taking precedence — social distancing.
ICE told the Miami Herald that it doesn’t have any plans to close its facilities at the moment however.
“At present time the agency has not [considered it]. However, in accordance with established practice, persons can call ahead and request to reschedule their appointment for a later date.”
ICE has yet to comment on whether it will release its 37,000 detainees from its detention centers, which poses a threat to contract the virus not only for immigrants involved but those officers and agents working at the detention centers.
With the coronavirus pandemic still showing no signs of slowing in the United States, immigrants face yet another oppressing challenge to overcome. Deferring efforts to more pressing matters is exactly what needs to be done in this time of great need.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury attorney.
Stagecoach robberies are quite literally an American past time. Ironically as the face of stagecoaches across the nation, Wells Fargo has unerringly done a great deal to preserve that tradition and is once more being reprimanded for admittedly stealing millions of dollars in bank account fees over the course of almost 15 years from loyal customers.
Beginning in 2002, employees of Wells Fargo bank began opening accounts, debit cards and purchasing banking products for customers without their knowledge or consent, in order to “meet unrealistic sales goals” issued by the company. As a result, what followed these actions included forging signatures, altering customers’ contact information, and moving money from existing accounts to avoid detection.
But perhaps the most heinous feature of this illegal involvement was that bank managers knew it was happening and allowed the behavior to sustain until 2016.
“This case illustrates a complete failure of leadership at multiple levels within the Bank,” Nick Hanna, a U.S. attorney for the Central District of Columbia states. “Simply put, Wells Fargo traded its hard-earned reputation for short-term profits, and harmed untold numbers of customers along the way.”
Plagued by scandals following the new millenium, indeed wavering leadership seems to be a recent trend in the more recent years for multi-billion dollar bank Wells Fargo.
A handful of years ago in 2016, the bank’s CEO John Stumpf stepped down in the aftermath of these fraudulent events. Just under 3 years later, new CEO Timothy Sloan again resigned due to the $1 billion fine placed on Wells Fargo as punishment for overcharging customers on mortgage interest rate-lock extensions and running a mandatory insurance program that affixed insurance costs and fees into certain borrowers’ auto loans.
Current CEO Charlie Sharf had these words of atonement to say about the settlement,
“The conduct at the core of today’s settlements — and the past culture that gave rise to it — are reprehensible and whole inconsistent with the values on which Wells Fargo was built…We are committing all necessary resources to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”
Astonishingly, none of the $3 billion settlement will return to customers who were affected by the company’s negligence.
This is reportedly due to the settlement penalty that was incurred in order to “remediate harmed consumers” during Wells Fargo’s mortgage/auto insurance incident of 2018. Instead the majority of the money will make its way to the U.S. Treasury, and $500 million of the settlement will be administered to the Securities and Exchange Commision to compensate investors.
Wells Fargo managed to circumvent criminal charges by the Justice Department as well, so long as it meets certain defined criteria for the next three years.
With their current track record as it is, it’s not difficult to be skeptical about a comeback for Wells Fargo. Despite this, Nick Hanna expressed hope for the company,
“We are hopeful that this $3 billion penalty, along with the personnel and structural changes at the Bank, will ensure that such conduct will not reoccur.”