Legislative Bulletin – Friday, September 11, 2015

Director of Policy and Advocacy

September 11, 2015

Bills Introduced and Considered

H.R. 3449

This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to extend honorary citizenship to otherwise qualified noncitizens who enlisted in the Philippines and died while serving on active duty with the United States Armed Forces during certain periods of hostilities, and for other purposes.

Sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones (R-North Carolina)

09/08/2015     Introduced in the House on September 8, 2015

09/08/2015     Referred to the House Judiciary Committee (Congressional Record p. H5847)

Nominations and Confirmations

There were no significant developments on nominations or confirmations this week.

Legislative Floor Calendar

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate were in session this week.

Upcoming Hearings and Markups

Executive Business Meeting, S. 1814, Stop Sanctuary Cities Act (Vitter, Flake)

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015, 10:00 a.m. (Senate Judiciary Committee)

Location: 226, Dirksen Senate Office Building


Making DHS More Efficient: Industry Recommendations to Improve Homeland Security

Date: Friday, September 18, 2015, 10:00 a.m. (House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency)

Location: 311, Cannon House Office Building

Witnesses: TBD

Themes in Washington This Week

2016 Republican Presidential Candidates Proposals on Immigration Criticized

A new CNN poll shows that Donald Trump has 32% of GOP support and that Ben Carson is second with 19%. Carson criticized Trump’s immigration plan as too costly and complicated and instead supports allowing undocumented workers the chance to become guest workers. In another showing of conservative pushback to anti-immigrant rhetoric, the LIBRE Initiative released a letter rejecting calls for mass deportation and an end to birthright citizenship, proposals recently suggested by some of the Republican presidential candidates. The letter is notable because the LIBRE Initiative is funded by the Koch brothers. In recent weeks other conservative and libertarian organizations have spoken out against harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric, including the Niskanen Center, CATO Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bipartisan Policy Center, American Action Forum, Southern Baptist Convention and National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The U.S. Role in the Syrian Refugee Crisis Debated 

As Europe continues to deal with an influx of refugees from Syria and Germany announced that it expects to take in 800,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year, pressure increased on other countries to accept additional Syrian refugees. The White House announced that the U.S. government would accept at least 10,000 refugees from Syria in the next fiscal year even though Secretary of State Kerry stated that he supported an increase of as many as 30,000 additional refugees. Currently, the admissions ceiling for refugees is 70,000, and since 2011 about 1,600 Syrian refugees have arrived in the U.S. Support for increasing Syrian refugees is mixed – with some faith leaders and others supporting a much greater U.S. role and some Members of Congress expressing concern that accepting Syrian refugees poses a national security threat.

EB-5 Visa Regional Center Program Expiring 

The future of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, which encourages foreign investments to stimulate the economy, will expire at the end of the month unless Congress renews it. The Regional Center Program allows multiple EB-5 investors to pool their investments into bigger projects. While the program has bi-partisan support, it continues to face criticisms. While it is supported as a program that creates jobs and stimulates investment, others have concerns that it is not targeting investment in the appropriate areas or is subject to fraud.

For more background about the EB-5 visa program, see the Forum’s EB-5 Visa series.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Career Pathways Toolkit

On September 3, the Department of Labor released an updated Career Pathways Toolkit that incorporates provisions from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and guides state and local workforce, education, and social service leaders in implementing effective career pathways. Career pathways are proven strategies that help workers, including immigrants, gain skills and industry recognized credentials through increased collaboration across workforce, adult education, post-secondary education, and other programs. The updated toolkit includes examples of career pathway programs that help immigrant workers and English language learners gain language and literacy skills while preparing for work.

Immigration Reform Advocates Anticipate Pope Francis’ Visit

The arrival of Pope Francis in the U.S. beginning September 22 is being widely anticipated by immigration reform advocates. Earlier this week, the Pope urged European religious communities to take in refugees, and he has made the plight of all immigrants a central focus of his papacy. In addition to hopefully creating a more compassionate conversation around immigrants and restarting a constructive debate on immigration reform, immigration advocates also are hoping that his visit to Washington will help end immigrant family detention. The discussion about immigrants is particularly relevant to the Catholic Church as its membership is increasingly comprised of immigrants.

Government Reports

Congressional Research Service: Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues, Lisa Seghetti et al. (September 2, 2015)

This CRS report provides an overview of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) process in the U.S. and includes updates on recent developments concerning the granting of TPS to nationals of Nepal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Syria, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. 

Congressional Research Service Legal Sidebar: Federal Appeals Court Finds That Probable Cause is Required to Hold Aliens Pursuant to Immigration Detainers (September 8, 2015)

In this report, CRS analyzes the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Morales v. Chadbourne which held that an ICE agent required probable cause to issue an immigration detainer. According to CRS, the decision is notable in that it establishes the legal authority for the issuance of immigration detainers. It is also the first appellate decision to address the Fourth Amendment issues raised by holds pursuant to immigration detainers.

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*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Jacinta Ma, National Immigration Forum Director of Policy and Advocacy, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Jacinta can be reached at jma@immigrationforum.org. Thank you.