Water charges will sink workers

first_imgEmail THE regional president for St Vincent de Paul in the Mid West is urging the government to reconsider the proposed water charges of €4.88 per 1000 litres due to fears that it will push already struggling families over the edge.The St Vincent de Paul (SVP) organisation says the charge – one of the highest in Europe – will have serious implications for low income families.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Michael Murphy, of SVP Mid West told the Limerick Post: “What we’re beginning to see is people in lower paid employment who are really struggling and who don’t get any benefits, and yet their income might only be marginally different to people who are on social welfare.“We’ve had extra charges such as the property tax and now we’re following this with the water rates, and these people will have to pay all these charges. They are in employment so there’s no way of avoiding it.”Mr Murphy remarked that the added burden on low income households “doesn’t do anything to encourage people to be in the workforce and to pay their way”.“There are people who are just about keeping their heads above water and they are being hit with more charges. This needs to be looked at again, because it’s being brought in in a hasty manner at the moment,” he added.The SVP is now calling on the government to revise the charges, with particular regard to people on minimum wage and in low-paid employment.Mr Murphy concluded: “Examples are being given that it’s being brought in to improve the situation where we’re losing up to 50 per cent of our water through a porous water system that has been underfunded by the State and it’s just not good enough that the people are being punished and made to pay for it.“So far, all we’ve seen is the enormous cost of setting up this operation. The money is not being spent on the infrastructure.” Previous articleWaiting for Millennium midnight hourNext articleSt Michael’s Rowing Club take to Limerick’s streets John Keoghhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Facebook NewsWater charges will sink workersBy John Keogh – August 7, 2014 528 Irish Water defers introduction of new business charges during the Covid 19 emergency TAGSIrish WaterSociety of St Vincent de Paul Pictures reveal damage caused by wipes being flushed down Limerick’s loos RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Printcenter_img Advertisement Limerick customers to benefit from extension of Irish Water’s First Fix free scheme to tackle leaks Irish Water to replace old water mains on St Nessan’s Road WhatsApp Twitter Linkedin Update: Works underway to resolve discolouration of water in Raheen area Abbeyfeale water supply gets the all clearlast_img read more

Legal immigrants with jobs in the marijuana industry are being denied US citizenship

first_img(ABC News) Oswaldo Barrientos stands outside the mayor’s office in Denver after meeting about immigration and the marijuana industry. (DENVER) — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock sat at a round wooden table, shaking his head in disbelief before dropping his head into his hands in his sprawling downtown office Tuesday afternoon.He was listening to a group, including two permanent legal U.S. residents, tell him the federal government is crushing their dreams of full citizenship and even threatening their ability to travel without fear of detention, all because of their employment in Colorado’s nearly two-decade-old legal marijuana industry.Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, and recreational weed became legal in 2014. But cannabis is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government, meaning agencies like the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can simply ignore the marijuana laws of Colorado and 33 other states — not to mention the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.Oswaldo Barrientos said he and his mother emigrated from El Salvador 29 years ago — when he was a baby — and he got his green card at 13. By the time he turned 30, he felt it was time to finally trade it in for full citizenship.“The American life is the only life I’ve known and lived,” he told ABC News.But Barrientos said he felt blindsided during his citizenship interview last fall when the immigration officer suddenly started asking questions about his job at a marijuana dispensary, without first explaining the potential consequences of his answers.“From that second, I was trapped,” said Barrientos. “I was led down a path to confess in my interview that I broke the law, that I willingly had known that I had broken the law.”Barrientos’ immigration lawyer, Bryce Downer, said citizenship interviews typically have a comfortable vibe until, at some point, it “takes another turn.”“By the end, they’ve led you down this path to openly admitting you’ve engaged in felonious activities and you’ve essentially admitted to drug trafficking, drug distribution and drug manufacturing, which for immigration purposes, can be viewed as an aggravated felony or a controlled substance violation,” said Downer.Barrientos was not charged with any crimes. But a couple weeks after his interview, he says he received a denial letter in the mail. The reason, according to the letter, was that working in the marijuana field constitutes a lack of “good moral character.”The federal government’s recent scrutiny of legal permanent residents working at marijuana dispensaries came as a shock, says Kristi Kelly, executive director of the Colorado-based Marijuana Industry Group.“There was a significant change in federal enforcement priorities with the administration change between President [Barack] Obama and President [Donald] Trump,” Kelly said.USCIS says it’s simply enforcing the law.“Marijuana is illegal under federal law, and, as a federal agency, USCIS is required to adjudicate based upon federal law,” said spokeswoman Deborah Cannon in a statement. “Despite state laws that may allow medical marijuana use, the Supreme Court has held that Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause empowers it to prohibit drug distribution and possession, even if the prohibited activities are not also illegal under state law.”Cannon added that USCIS “evaluates each case on its unique circumstances, and examines each case based upon its unique circumstances to determine whether an individual merits a favorable exercise of discretion in order to grant adjustment.”In a letter sent Wednesday to U.S. Attorney General William Barr obtained by ABC News, Hancock asked the Department of Justice to provide guidance to its employees to correct what the mayor calls an “injustice.”“Denver believes hardworking and law-abiding immigrants should be allowed to participate in the legal cannabis industry without fear that such participation will disqualify them for lawful residency in the United States or prevent the opportunity to obtain permanent citizenship,” the letter reads. “We respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Justice uphold Colorado’s states’ rights by respecting our voters and providing guidance to all DOJ employees clearly indicating that legal immigrants shall not be penalized for working in the legitimate cannabis industry.”“Denver understands the need for federal laws and regulations regarding citizenship and immigration, but we are seeing the heartbreaking effects that those federal laws and regulations are having on our residents,” Hancock wrote.Kelly says her group has tried to spread the word to the immigrant community since first hearing about the federal crackdown in the summer of 2017. The group quickly produced a public service announcement in English and Spanish.“When you’re talking about breaking up families,” Kelly said, “education is the only way we can effect any kind of change.”National nonprofit groups, like the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, have also begun warning immigrants about tangling with weed.Statistics on how many people have been denied citizenship because of their ties to the marijuana industry were not immediately available, Cannon said.“I thought I was a shoe-in” for citizenship, admitted Barrientos, one of two legal residents who attended the Tuesday meeting with Denver city officials. “Twenty-nine years of me being here, not breaking the law in any way, at least on a state level. I’ve done everything by the book.”Barrientos got a job at a marijuana dispensary after learning his mother was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in 2014.“I didn’t get into it because I’m some kid in his mom’s basement, bored, and all he does is smoke pot,” he said. “I truly am interested in the benefits this industry can bring on a medicinal level.”Barrientos said after his denial letter, he became afraid to leave the country — something he said he never even considered until speaking with Downer and his team at NOVA Legal, an immigration law firm in Denver.“The first thing they told me was, ‘Do not travel internationally,’” Barrientos said. He had been planning a trip to the Cayman Islands with his girlfriend and her family.Downer said the risk is real.“If he were to travel outside of the United States and come back in, he will likely be detained because it’s now part of his official file,” said Downer.Samantha — a 29-year-old health care worker who asked to not use her real name because she fears government reprisal during her appeal process — faces a similar battle, even though she hasn’t worked in the marijuana industry for years.Samantha told ABC News she immigrated to the U.S. from Europe as a young girl. Now a legal permanent resident, she was also recently denied citizenship. She worries about traveling on her European passport to visit a sick 94-year-old relative because she may be detained if she tries to re-enter the United States, her home since age 7.“All she says she wants to do before she passes away is see me,” she said, referring to her family member. “[And I want to] tell her that I love her, that she’s always with me no matter what happens.”Samantha said she worked at a dispensary for less than a year.Oswaldo Barrientos stands outside the mayor’s office in Denver.“One of the things I remember learning in [one college class] was about the benefits of cannabis and the research that has come out and is being done right now. And I remember how helpful it’s been for PTSD, for our veterans and reducing anxiety and cancer,” she explained. “I thought this would be a really wonderful field to get into, and I would feel like I’m helping people. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”Samantha said she had a similar experience to Barrientos when she applied for her citizenship.“I went in and sat down with the officer. He was very nice, he was personable,” Samantha said. “He asked, ‘Were you actively involved in the exchange of money for marijuana goods?’ — which I was. I would work at the cash register.”She received her rejection letter a few months later in the mail, with the government also citing a “lack of moral character” for her work in the industry.Toward the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Hancock apologized to Barrientos and Samantha.“I’m sorry this is happening to you. This is horrible,” Hancock told them.Hancock promised to use his “bully pulpit” to draw attention to the issue and said he’d send a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr asking for further clarification.Both Barrientos and Samantha are appealing their decisions, but their lawyers said it will be a lengthy and expensive process that may end in the same result.“I’m American. Denver is my home. I feel as native as anybody else who had been born here,” said Samantha. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Columbia-class enters design phase with $5.1b contract

first_img September 22, 2017 View post tag: GDEB View post tag: US Navy The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $5.1 billion contract for detailed design work and technology development for the new generation of US ballistic missile submarines.Under the contract, GDEB will complete design and prototyping efforts for the Columbia-class submarines including work on common missile compartment for the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class SSBNs.The contract award follows a successful Milestone B (MS B) approval on January 4 this year. To pass Milestone B, a program must have validated requirements, independent cost estimates, full funding over the the next five years and an updated acquisition strategy. Passing the MS B, the Columbia Program entered into the engineering and manufacturing development phase.The 12-ship Columbia-class will replace the existing Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarine force. The navy expects to spend $128 billion to acquire the 12 boats.According to the navy, the first patrol of the lead ship, SSBN 826, is scheduled for fiscal year 2031.The contract announced on September 21 follows a five-year, $1.85 billion award Electric Boat received in December 2012 to perform research and development work for the new class of ballistic-missile submarines.“Awarding this contract is an important step in ensuring an on-time construction start in FY 2021,” said Rear Adm. David Goggins, Columbia Class Program manager. “The Navy and our industry partners are excited to begin this important phase of the Navy’s number one acquisition priority.” Authorities View post tag: Columbia-classcenter_img Back to overview,Home naval-today New Columbia-class SSBN submarines enter design phase with $5.1b contract award View post tag: SSBN New Columbia-class SSBN submarines enter design phase with $5.1b contract award Share this articlelast_img read more

Council strengthens focus on private housing

first_imgUnder the current plans, all landlords will have to apply for a license costing approximately £600 over five years, and will also be liable for further miscellaneous costs, costs that could be passed on to renters. Subject to government approval and a public consultation in the summer, the Council aims to expand its current licensing scheme to incorporate all 20,000 rented homes in Oxford in order to maintain a minimum standard. If all goes to plan, the Council hope that the scheme will be enacted by the end of the year or the start of 2021. Last week, the council received £71,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to fund the implementation of the plans. The money will go towards the development of an algorithm that will be used to identify unlicensed properties, as well as a solicitor who will work for 3 months on a guide for enforcement officers to successfully retrieve money from fine-dodging landlords. Deputy Council Leader Linda Smith said that the Council “have found countless examples across Oxford of homes where even the most basic of standards have not been met and vulnerable tenants have been left in illegal and dangerous conditions.” Of the 243 inspections undertaken in 2018/19, 32 per cent were given notices warning of unsafe condition. However, there are fears that the proposals could in fact have a negative impact on Oxford tenants living in the city’s most precarious situations. Gavin Dick, a local authority policy officer for the National Landlords Association, warned: “The reality is Oxford will become more expensive and push the most vulnerable out again as we’ve seen before.”center_img The proposal comes after inspections carried out by the Council uncovered rogue landlords renting out garden sheds as rooms and placing toilets in showers, among a broad range of clear infringements of safety standards. Oxford City Council is planning “the largest change to rules around private rented accommodation in Oxford for a decade,” as it seeks to improve safety standards across the sector. Landlords will have to provide proof that their properties have the legally-required gas, electrical and fire safety certificates. The license will also seek to establish that every landlord is a “fit and proper” person, namely that they have not committed any housing-related offences or crimes involving fraud, violence, drugs and certain sexual offences.last_img read more