Legislative Bulletin – Friday, January 26, 2018
Policy and Advocacy Associate
January 26, 2018
BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act of 2018
This bill seeks to reform U.S. immigration laws for high-skilled workers. It would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize additional visas for immigrants with at least college degree to live and work in the United States.
Sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (1 cosponsor – 1R)
1/25/2018 Introduced in House by Senator Hatch
1/25/2018 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Asylum Protection Act of 2018
This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to shorten the deadlines by which an application for asylum must be made from 1 year to 30 days.
Sponsored by Representative Francis Rooney (R-FL) (6 cosponsors – 6 R)
1/19/2018 Introduced in House by Representative Rooney
1/19/2018 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
DACA Compromise Act of 2018
This bill would authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the country as children.
Sponsored by Representative Darrell E. Issa (R-CA) (0 cosponsors)
1/20/2018 Introduced in House by Representative Issa
1/20/2018 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, January 29, 2018.
The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, January 29, 2018 through Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
In this hearing, committee members will discuss reauthorization of Higher Education Act, which provides American students, including immigrants, with a number of federal student aid and other programs.
Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 10 a.m. (Senate HELP)
Location: 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
White House Releases DACA Deal Framework
On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced release of its framework for a bill that would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants that were brought to the United States as children. The 1.8 million figure includes the nearly 700,000 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and those that would havve been eligible for DACA but did not apply for the program before it was terminated by the Trump administration. DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals would be placed on 10-12 year path to citizenship with work and education requirements.
The framework calls for a $25 billion trust fund to be established for the building of a wall system along the southern border, as well as for improvements at ports of entry and along the border with Canada. The request also includes increases in hiring for DHS personnel, ICE attorneys, immigration judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement professionals, as well as reforms aimed at improving personnel recruitment and retention. The bill would also expand the ability of law enforcement to detain and remove criminals and gang members, end the policy of releasing detainees from custody while they await trial, and make it harder for people to claim asylum. The framework would make significant cuts to legal immigration by restricting family sponsorship to spouses and minor children. The Diversity Visa lottery program would be eliminate, and those visas would be reallocated to other immigration categories to reduce backlogs.
The White House proposal has not been supported by Democrats and immigration advocates, who have criticized the administration for using DACA recipients as a “bargaining chip” in exchange for a border wall and cuts to legal immigration. Organizations in favor of immigration restriction have also come out against the proposal, largely over the volume of people that would be eligible for citizenship. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued a statement in support of the bill, but it seems clear that legislation exactly matching the framework is unlikely to generate enough support to pass. Others, including Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida) see the framework as a signal that the White House does want to provide a secure future for Dreamers. As negotiations continue, it remains to be seen what a final bill would look like. Republican leadership in the Senate has reportedly promised to bring a bill to the floor by February 8, and has said that the bill will not necessarily need White House approval to move forward.
DOJ Demands Documents from “Sanctuary” Jurisdictions
On Wednesday, January 24, the Department of Justice (DOJ) demanded 23 jurisdictions produce documents revealing potential unlawful restriction of information sharing with federal immigration authorities. Jurisdictions that fail to produce the documents in a timely manner will receive a subpoena from DOJ. The 23 jurisdictions in question are facing pressure over their “sanctuary” policies, which limit state and local law enforcement from honoring of federal immigration detention requests not accompanied by a warrant. DOJ alleges this may be a violation of 8 U.S.C. 1373, and that failure to comply with this law would mean that grants given to these departments for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 could be reclaimed. Several lawsuits over DOJ’s attempt to reclaim grant funds from “sanctuary” jurisdictions are currently pending in federal courts.
DHS Sued over Haiti TPS Termination, Considers Extending Syrian TPS
On Wednesday, January 24, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over the termination of temporary protected status (TPS) for approximately 59,000 Haitians. TPS designation allows for nationals of countries facing conflict or severe natural disasters to live and work in the U.S. Haiti was granted TPS in 2010 following an earthquake that devastated the country, killing several hundred thousand people. Former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke terminated TPS for Haiti in November 2017, based on a determination that conditions caused by the earthquake no longer existed. The NAACP alleges that the termination was racially motivated, citing recent incendiary comments by President Trump about Haitians, Salvadorans, and Africans, and aims to have TPS designation for Haiti restored. Members of Congress have introduced a number of bills granting TPS recipients permanent residency, but so far no proposal has moved.
The Trump Administration must announce by Wednesday, January 31 if it will extend TPS for Syrians, or terminate the designation. Syria was granted TPS in 2012 due to the ongoing civil war there that has killed several hundred thousand people. Around 6,000 Syrian TPS holders are currently living in the U.S., many of whom have citizen children, work or have businesses. It may be unsafe for Syrian TPS recipients to return to their country. The U.S. State Department has previously said that no part of Syria is completely safe. Syria is included in several of the legislative proposals granting permanent residency, but it remains to be seen if any such proposals will move or be included in a larger immigration package.
Number of Non-Latin American Deportees Surges in Trump’s First Year in Office
Number of deportees from nations other than Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, increased considerable during President Trump’s first year in the office. Data showed a 24-percent spike in deportations of undocumented immigrants from other 186 countries on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) list. Haiti saw the largest increase, with Haitians’ deportations rising from about 300 in 2016 to more than 5,500 last year, as many mistakenly believed they may receive humanitarian relief at U.S. border. At the same time, removals of Somalis nearly doubled, deportations to Ghana and West Africa were up more than two times, while Brazil and China saw substantial jumps as well.
At the beginning of his presidency, Trump reversed his predecessor Barack Obama’s deportation priority system, making most undocumented immigrants vulnerable to deportation. In Florida, the Border Patrol agents recently detained a Jamaican grandmother on her way to visit family in Orlando. Unauthorized Irish immigrants in Boston also fear deportations as removals to their country increased under the Trump administration. Many immigrants, who are in the U.S. with proper documents, now refuse to enroll in public health services and federally subsidized insurance plans, fearing that their personal information could be used to identify and deport their unauthorized relatives. At the same time, the hospitality chain Motel 6 has been sued over allegations that they provided ICE with guests’ personal information, increasing immigrants’ fears.
There were no immigration or skills and workforce development related government reports released in the week of Monday, January 22, 2018.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
This is a summary of the Uniting and Securing America Act (USA) Act, H.R. 4796, which was introduced by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D-California) on January 16, 2018, with 48 bipartisan original cosponsors. The bill would provide Dreamers who have lived in the U.S. for at least four years, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status if they pursue higher education, enlist in the military or are gainfully employed, and meet other requirements. It would also strengthen America’s border security through the use of technology, investments in ports of entry, and development of a comprehensive southern border strategy, among other effective border security measures.
This is an analysis of the Securing America’s Future Act, H.R. 4670, which was introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R- Virginia) and five original co-sponsors on January 10, 2018. The wide-ranging, over 400-page bill would dramatically transform our immigration system by reducing legal immigration by 25 percent, criminalizing illegal presence in the U.S., increasing border security and interior immigration enforcement, revising the agricultural guest worker program, and mandating E-verify for all employers among other provisions. It would provide some Dreamers a three-year renewable nonimmigrant status.
This is a summary of the TPS Act of 2018, H.R. 4750, introduced by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) on January 10, 2018. The bill terminates the temporary protected status (TPS) program and grants lawful permanent residency (LPR) to qualifying TPS holders.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.