Charlene Echeverria Burciaga
The End of Forced Arbitration for Sexual Assault and Harassment
Five years after the introduction of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act(EFASASH) by Senator Kristi Gillibrand and Senator Linsey Graham, President Biden signed it into law on March 3, 2022. Without this law, employers could prohibit their workers who have experienced sexual assault or harassment from seeking recourse in court. With EFASASH, sexual predators and their employers will no longer be able to evade public accountability. In a world where eighty-one percent of women have reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and or assault in their lifetime, forced arbitration of sexual assault and harassment claims have only worked as a silencing mechanism.
FDA’s Proposed Global Regulatory Harmonization for Medical Devices
On February 23, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a proposed regulation to amend current manufacturing practice requirements of the Quality System Regulation (QSR) (21 CFR Part 820). The FDA first announced such harmonization in 2018, however COVID-19 delayed the proposal. The FDA seeks to align Part 820 more closely with the international specific standard for medical device quality management systems set out by the International Organization for Standardizations (ISO) 13485. According to the FDA, such “harmonization should provide patients more efficient access to necessary devices, leading to improvements of life quality of the consumers.” Part 820 is part of the current mandatory regulations that ensure that all medical devices created and developed within the US market are safe. ISO 13485 is the international standard for a quality management system for medical devices required by certain countries. Therefore, any manufacturer that sells outside the US will likely need to be ISO 13485 certified. With the implementation of this new amendment, manufacturers would be able to assure their products are regulatorily compliant in both the US and international markets.
Failure To Regulate NFTs and Crypto Currencies Will Lead to Catastrophic Environmental Implications
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are emerging digital assets with numerous rights and obligations. However, regulations and laws in the United States are only barely beginning to catch up, and NFTs consume nearly as much energy as a small country. Without NFT regulation, climate change catastrophes are likely to be evident sooner than expected.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Its Failure to Protect Our Undocumented Communities
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed new regulations regarding DACA and is accepting comments on the proposed rule. USCIS claims that the new regulations will preserve and fortify the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy. As well as respond to President Biden’s memorandum from January 20, 2021, where Biden states in support of DACA, that “these immigrants (DACA recipients) should not be a priority for removal based on humanitarian concerns, and that work authorization will enable them to support themselves, and contribute to our economy, while they remain(in the U.S.)” USCIS further claims that DACA has been economically and socially beneficial to undocumented communities. It reiterates their “consistent judgment” that DACA recipients should not be a priority for removal citing Secretary Napolitano’s 2012 memorandum that DACA recipients lacked the intent to violate the law as children. Further, “removing productive young people (unless justified)” is not a prudent way to spend border resources. The agency continues to provide that the proposed regulation does not provide lawful status or path to citizenship. Despite the use of language that speciously centers on DACA recipients, the proposed provisions are at best superficial and continue to leave undocumented young people in a state of uncertainty.
The Ableist and Racist Public Charge Rule
The Public Charge Rule perpetuates anti-immigrant sentiment and keeps poor, disabled migrants who were often Black, Brown, and ethnically oppressed out of the United States. It makes pathways to citizenship contingent upon wealth and the absence of disability. As the Autistic Self Advocacy Network puts it, the Public Charge Rule is a “clear echo of the racist and ableist policies of the eugenics era.”
Texas Abortion Ban: The State-Sanctioned Killing of Poor Black and Brown Pregnant People
Texas Senate Bill 8 (“SB 8”), also known as “The Texas Heartbeat Act,” went into effect on September 1, 2021, banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy or after the fetus’s heartbeat has been detected. Additionally, it awards any civilian who successfully reports someone for aiding, abetting, or performing an abortion after the six-week mark with $10,000. The United States Supreme Court, as Justice Sotomayor described, “buried their heads in the sand” and decided not to comment on the abortion ban’s constitutionality under the guise of a technicality. Historically, abortion bans have been death penalties to many people seeking abortions and contribute up to thirteen percent of pregnancy-related deaths. Abortion bans do not reduce the number of abortions, but rather reduce the number of safe abortions while increasing avoidable deaths. Abortion bans work as a form of dangerous regulatory mechanisms that function as the state-sanctioned killing of poor people who are often Black, Brown, and indigenous who cannot travel outside the state to receive care.