Legislative Bulletin – Friday, January 20, 2017

Policy and Advocacy Associate

January 20, 2017

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
GOVERNMENT REPORTS

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

H.R. 514

The Help Ensure Legal Detainers (HELD) Act

This bill would deny federal funding to any state or political subdivision of a state that has in effect any law, policy, or procedure that prevents or impedes a state or local law enforcement official from maintaining custody of an alien pursuant to an immigration detainer issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Sponsored by Representative Ken Calvert (R – California) (4 cosponsors)

01/13/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Calvert

01/13/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 546

This bill would amend section 412(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to require the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to obtain the approval of the governor of a state before placing or resettling a refugee with the State.

Sponsored by Representative John Culberson (R – Texas) (4 cosponsors)

01/13/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Culberson

01/13/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 565

This bill would recognize that Christians and Yazidis in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, and Libya are targets of genocide, and to provide for the expedited processing of immigrant and refugee visas for such individuals.

Sponsored by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R – California) (5 cosponsors)

01/13/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Rohrabacher

01/13/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

01/13/2017 Referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, January 23, 2017 through Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of January 23, 2017.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Executive Business Meeting

This meeting will include consideration of Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination to serve as the U.S. Attorney General

Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. (Senate Judiciary)

Location: 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Business Meeting

Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. (Senate Homeland Security)

Location: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Trump Works on Immigration Plan Prior to Inauguration

President-elect Donald Trump promised a “very firm” immigration plan that will also “have a lot of heart” in an interview on Fox News. In his interview for the Fox News, Trump said that his immigration plan is been developing and is expected to be revealed over the next two or three months.

Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump may take four or five executive actions during the first day of his presidency on issues that are high on his priority list.

Trump will be sworn into the office as the 45th U.S. President on Friday, January 20, 2017 at noon.

New Rule to Permit Foreign Entrepreneurs to Grow Businesses in the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule on January 17 to permit foreign entrepreneurs to seek parole, or temporary permission to be in the United States, if they can demonstrate that their proposed business would provide a significant public benefit through the potential for rapid business growth and the creation of at least five qualified jobs. Under the final rule, DHS may use its parole authority on a case-by-case basis to grant eligible entrepreneurs a stay of up to 30 months. The rule allows the possibility to extend the period by up to 30 additional months if the applicants meet certain criteria. Entrepreneurs granted stays will be eligible to work only for their start-up business, but their spouses may apply for work authorization in the United States. Their children will not be eligible for work authorization.

The program would apply owners of start-up entities created within the past five years in the United States that have the potential for rapid growth and job creation. An applicant for the program would need to demonstrate 1) that he or she possesses a substantial ownership interest in the start-up and 2) that he or she has a central and active role in the start-up. An applicant must also prove that his or her stay will provide a significant public benefit to the United States by showing that the start-up entity has received a significant investment of capital totaling $250,000 or more from certain qualified U.S. investors with an established record of successful investments or received significant awards and grants for economic development from federal, state or local government entities. Individuals seeking parole under this rule must present themselves at a U.S. port of entry to be paroled into the United States. The rule will be take effect on July 17, 2017.

City Mayors Call for Immigration Reform, Protection of DREAMers

On Wednesday, January 18th, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) called on Congress to act quickly on immigration reform and to take steps to protect DREAMers, young people brought to the United States as children, from deportation. The bipartisan group passed a resolution highlighting the contributions of undocumented people. The mayors emphasized the importance of protecting DREAMers from deportation if the new administration revokes Deferred Action for Unaccompanied Children (DACA), as expected.

USCM issued its resolution as cities brace for likely conflicts with the Trump administration over so-called sanctuary cities and federal immigration raids. A number of cities and other institutions, like universities, have been declaring themselves “safe zones” for immigrants and some cities are setting up legal defense funds for non-violent undocumented residents, including DREAMers and relatives of veterans.

CATO Study: Repeal of DACA Would Harm U.S. Economy

A new study published by the CATO Institute found that ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would take a toll on the U.S. economy. The findings showed that a repeal followed by deportation of all DACA recipients, who number about 740,000, would cost the federal government more than $60 billion. In addition, the study determined that this approach would reduce economic growth by $280 billion over the next decade. The researchers noted that costs related to the DACA program are far outweighed by benefits brought by immigrants who are able to legally and openly work, pay taxes, create jobs, innovate, and otherwise enhance our society.

Americans’ Satisfaction with Immigration Levels Reaches New Record

A recent survey released by Gallup revealed that 41 percent of Americans are satisfied with the current level of immigration into the country, representing the highest percentage since 2001, when Gallup started to track this issue. The poll found that 53 percent of Americans characterized themselves as “dissatisfied” with immigration levels for a variety of reasons, broken down as follows: 36 percent would prefer less immigration, 5 percent would prefer more immigration and 12 percent would prefer the same amount of immigration (despite characterizing themselves as dissatisfied with the current levels). The 36 percent of those surveyed who would prefer less immigration represents a reduction from last year, when 43 percent of those surveyed favored a reduction. The survey showed a partisan divide on immigration, with Democrats tending to favor more immigration and Republicans favoring reductions.

Legal

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Deportation Case

On January 17, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a criminal law/immigration case that could have significant implications on deportations. In the case, Lynch v. Dimaya, a legal permanent resident (LPR), was convicted of burglary under California law and faced possible deportation. Under federal immigration law, “a crime of violence” with a term of imprisonment for over one year can trigger deportation for an offending non-citizen. A lower court ruled that the federal language defining “crime of violence” is too vague, basing its ruling on a 2015 Supreme Court decision.

The Obama administration argued in favor of upholding the “crime of violence” language, arguing that striking it down could make it harder to deport people convicted under sexual or domestic abuse. Counsel for the LPR argued that burglary is not an inherently violent crime and that precedent supported striking down the language. The Court is expected to issue its decision sometime in June.

State & Local

Iowa City Council Votes to Continue Not Devoting Local Resources to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

On Tuesday, January 17, the Iowa City Council unanimously voted to reaffirm the city’s commitment to not allocate local resources towards enforcing federal immigration law. The resolution is intended to encourage immigrant communities to cooperate with local law enforcement and report crimes, aiding public safety. The Council views the “power to regulate immigration” as solely that of the federal government and the resolution would in no way limit the ability of federal law enforcement officers and agents from continuing to enforce federal immigration laws.

Officials reassured citizens that the resolution doesn’t violate federal law and will not make the community less safe. The resolution specifies that Iowa City will not prohibit or restrict any city employee from sending or receiving information from Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding the immigration status of any person. Prohibitions against sending and receiving such information are forbidden under federal law. The resolution does not proclaim Iowa City a “sanctuary city,” as some residents have urged.

The resolution also contained exceptions including situations where close cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement is necessary to protect the public, where the police chief or his designee perceives such action necessary to protect against a public safety threat, or where the individual in question is a violent offender.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

There were no immigration-related government reports released this week.

 

 

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