As much as they would like it to be the case, Republicans have not (yet) repealed the Fourth Amendment, which means that “Generally, government-mandated drug testing not based on individualized suspicion is unconstitutional.” And federal court decisions have blocked states from requiring drug testing for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families applicants for exactly that reason: it’s unconstitutional.
Working people paid for this insurance policy, and jobless workers earned the right to access UI through their service to their employer. Proposals to drug test UI beneficiaries needlessly stigmatize and punish jobless workers and their families who are trying to get back on their feet. If legislators have genuine concerns about drug use, there are far better ways to respond than targeting and stigmatizing the unemployed.
But targeting and stigmatizing unemployed people is exactly the point. It’s part of the Republican divide-and-conquer strategy: seeking to convince people with jobs that people without jobs deserve what they get, seeking to keep people scared and compliant, and seeking to keep people from noticing that Republican policies make life worse for working people—whether they’re on the job or looking for one.
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