Immigrant Rights At Stake If Judge Kavanaugh Confirmed To Supreme Court

September 5, 2018

The confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court poses a grave threat to the Latino and immigrant communities. In the next year alone, the Supreme Court may hear cases on immigrant detention, and it may decide the future of DACA, the Trump administration’s family separation policy, and also the future of our health care system. With Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the rights of immigrants hang in the balance.

 Kavanaugh on Immigrants Unionizing

 In Agri Processor Co. Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, Judge Kavanaugh argued that undocumented immigrants did not have the right to unionize, despite legal precedents that established otherwise.

 In 2005, a group of workers in a meatpacking plant in Brooklyn formed a union and their employer, Agri Processor refused to bargain, citing the fact that undocumented immigrants were not allowed to receive collective bargaining rights due to their lack of status. Neither the National Labor Relations Board, which administers American labor law, nor the majority of judges on the D.C. Circuit sided with Agri Processor. Kavanaugh dissented from the majority decision that ordered AGRI Processor to bargain with a union, reasoning that the undocumented immigrants were ineligible to vote as employees.

Brett Kavanaugh ruled against workers when no one else did. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh could make undocumented workers vulnerable to workplace exploitation.

Kavanaugh on an Immigrant Woman’s Right to Choose

In Rochelle Garza v. Eric D. Hargan, Judge Kavanaugh opposed permitting a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant the right to seek an abortion while in federal custody.

The plaintiff in the case, a 17-year-old girl referred to as Jane Doe, was eight weeks pregnant when she entered the United States. Because of her age and immigration status, Doe was placed in the custody of an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter. While in ORR custody, Jane decided to terminate her pregnancy. A federal trial judge ruled in Jane Doe’s favor, finding that the government’s refusal to release a minor from custody constituted an “undue burden” on Doe’s constitutional right to an abortion. The Trump administration appealed to the D.C. Circuit, and Judge Kavanaugh authored the majority opinion reversing the lower court’s decision. Sitting en banc, the D.C. Circuit reversed. In his dissent, Judge Kavanaugh characterized the ruling as creating a new right for undocumented immigrant minors in U.S. custody to receive "immediate abortion on demand.”

A Supreme Court Justice must protect and uphold the constitutional rights of all people, not just a privileged few. Kavanaugh’s tenure on our nation’s highest Court could have detrimental effects on the lives of millions of immigrant women for generations to come.

Given what’s at stake, Judge Kavanaugh’s record demonstrates that he would lend strong support to President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, which would carry enormous consequences for Latino and immigrant families.