Legislative Bulletin – Friday, January 27, 2017

Policy and Advocacy Associate

January 27, 2017

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

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

S. 179

This bill would expand the use of E-verify.

Sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley (R – Iowa) (9 cosponsors)

01/20/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Grassley

01/20/2017 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

S. 180

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reform and reduce fraud and abuse in certain visa programs for aliens working temporarily in the United States.

Sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley (R – Iowa) (3 cosponsors)

01/20/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Grassley

01/20/2017 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

S. 206

The Jumpstart our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act

This bill would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow the Secretary of Education to award job training Federal Pell Grants, which provide need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post baccalaureate students, including immigrants, to promote access to postsecondary education. It would authorize Pell Grants for job training programs at community colleges and other higher education institutions, ensure that qualifying programs align with the needs of local employers, and encourage eligible institutions to connect short-term credential programs to career pathways and provide basic skills instruction to support student success.

Sponsored by Senator Tim Kaine (D – Virginia) (1 cosponsor)

01/24/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Kaine

01/24/2017 Referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S. 211

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit the Governor of a State to reject the resettlement of a refugee in that State unless there is adequate assurance that the alien does not present a security risk. This is the companion bill for H.R. 604.

Sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz (R – Texas) (1 cosponsors)

01/24/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cruz

01/24/2017 Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee

H.R. 591

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to require deposits into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account to be subject to appropriations.

Sponsored by Representative Dave Brat (R – Virginia) (9 cosponsors)

01/20/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Brat

01/20/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 604

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit the Governor of a State to reject the resettlement of a refugee in that State unless there is adequate assurance that the alien does not present a security risk. This is the companion bill for S. 211.

Sponsored by Representative Ted Poe (R – Texas) (6 cosponsors)

01/23/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Poe

01/23/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 639

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for electronic notification of H-2A and H-2B Visa petitioners upon receipt or the petitions.

Sponsored by Representative Ralph Lee Abraham (R – Louisiana) (0 cosponsors)

01/24/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Abraham

01/24/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 642

This bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to enhance the partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Network of Fusion Centers.

Sponsored by Representative Lou Barletta (R – Pennsylvania) (2 cosponsors)

01/24/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Barletta

01/24/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security

H.R. 643

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to penalize aliens who overstay their visas.

Sponsored by Representative Lou Barletta (R – Pennsylvania) (0 cosponsors)

01/24/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Barletta

01/24/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 670

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reform the H-1B visa program.

Sponsored by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D – California) (0 cosponsors)

01/24/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Lofgren

01/24/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

 

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will be in session the week of Monday, January 30, 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 31, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. (Senate Judiciary)

Location: 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Business Meeting

This meeting will include consideration of Rep. Michael Mulvaney’s nomination to serve as the Director of U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 9:40 a.m. (Senate Homeland Security)

Location: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Fencing Along the Southwest Border

Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 10 a.m. (Senate Homeland Security)

Location: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Witnesses:

David Aguilar, Former Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ronald Colburn, Former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol at U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Seth Stodder, Former Assistant Secretary for Border, Immigration and Trade Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Trump’s Inaugural Address Calls for Protecting U.S. from the “Ravages of Other Countries”

On January 20, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. In his inaugural address, President Trump pledged to put “America first.” Although the speech did not provide many specificson immigration, Trump mentioned protecting the country’s borders from the “ravages of other countries” and “bringing back our borders,” both common themes of his presidential campaign.

Trump Signs Two Executive Orders on Immigration, More Expected

On Wednesday, January 25, President Trump signed two executive orders on immigration – one on border security and one on interior enforcement.  The first executive order focuses on border security, directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to start planning, designing and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and build and operate more detention facilities near the border to detain all unauthorized border crossers. In addition, the executive order also directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire 5,000 additional agents and expands use of expedited removals.

The second executive order increases interior enforcement, encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws, and defunds the so-called “Sanctuary Cities,” prohibiting states or localities from barring or restricting the sharing of information regarding individuals’ citizenship or information status. It also ends the prior administration’s Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) while reinstating the controversial Secure Communities program, and hires 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers.

President Trump is also expected to sign third executive order on immigration on Saturday, which would temporarily halt the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days, suspend admission of refugees from Syria and prohibit citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen from obtaining U.S. visas for at least 30 days. There are also four more drafts of executive orders on immigration, which leaked the White House. These reportedly cover the “Muslim ban,” DREAMer program, reducing legal immigration and limiting legal immigrants’ social services.

The orders faced broad criticism from advocates, legal experts, and elected officials.

Kelly Confirmed as DHS Secretary, Sessions Awaits Committee Vote, Puzder Hearing Delayed

On January 20 2017, only hours after President Trump’s inauguration, the Senate confirmed retired Marine General John F. Kelly as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Now confirmed, Secretary Kelly will be in charge of securing the nation’s borders as well as implementing the president’s controversial border wall and aggressive deportation efforts targeting the undocumented population.

In contrast to the Trump administration’s controversial immigration priorities, Kelly was able to gain widespread bipartisan support in the Senate. During his hearing, he stated, “A physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job” of stopping the flow of immigrants and drugs. He also expressed empathy for refugees and called for a broader view of the root causes driving South American and Central American migration to the U.S.  Secretary Kelly managed to garner strong support from both parties with only a handful of Senate Democrats, led by Senator Kamala Harris (D – California), refusing to vote in favor for his “failure to provide reassurance” for DACA recipients.

Additionally, two other confirmations that have been closely watched by immigration advocates, are scheduled to move forward in the coming weeks. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination to serve as the U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday, January 31 following a one-week delay. Labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) was postponed to Tuesday, February 7.

Cornyn Calls for a Permanent Solution for DACA Recipients

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters on January 23 that a permanent solution to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients from deportation may be preferable to a temporary measure, such as the Bridge Act introduced by Senator Lindsay Graham (R – South Carolina). He stated his point by asking, “why don’t we just fix [the problem], rather than kick the can down the road?” Cornyn also noted that the Trump Administration should be careful about any decision to immediately rescind DACA. Cornyn said that he is not interested in punishing “young people” who came to the United States as children with their parents.

Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, said on January 25 that President Donald Trump will work with his team to develop a humane solution for DACA recipients. Later that day, President Trump pledged to present a DACA policy within the next four weeks.

Border Patrol Chief Morgan to Resign

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on January 26 that U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan is leaving the agency. Morgan was appointed by former CBP Commissioner Gil R. Kerlikowske in October 2016 and was asked to resign by Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan in an effort to show the agency will be headed in a new direction under President Trump.

Morgan had come under fire from the powerful National Border Patrol Council, the union of border patrol officers that endorsed Trump during the campaign. Morgan’s resignation comes one day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to continue the construction of a physical barrier in the U.S.-Mexico border and increase the size of the Border Patrol by 5,000 agents. Morgan’s last official day in office will be on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

Congressional Research Service: Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues, January 17, 2017 (by Carla N. Argueta)

This report examines provisions within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that offer temporary protected status (TPS) and other blanket forms of relief for migrants under specified circumstances. The report also provides a background on historical patterns of relief and leading concerns driving TPS. designations

Congressional Research Service: Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview, January 18, 2017 (by William A. Kandel)

This report provides an overview of current policy in regards to the processing and treatment of apprehended unaccompanied children along U.S. borders and examines the different federal agencies involved in the process. The report also outlines possible administrative and congressional actions for addressing the issue of unaccompanied children after an increase in apprehensions in 2014.

Congressional Research Service: Executive Authority to Exclude Aliens: In Brief, January 23, 2017 (by Kate M. Manuel)

This report gives a brief overview of specific provisions within the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) that allow the president to deny entry into the U.S. to “inadmissible” individuals. The report first examines statutory language and executive branch interpretations of Section 212(f) of the INA as well as any judicial constructions of this provision. Beyond Section 212(f), the report provides a background on two other provisions, Section 214 (a)(1) and Section 215 (a)(1), as possible authority for the president to bar entry of individuals into the U.S.

U.S. Government Accountability Office: CBP Aims to Prevent High-Risk Travelers from Boarding U.S.-Bound Flights, But Needs to Evaluate Program Performances, January 2017 (by Rebecca Gambler)

This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report identifies U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) measures to prevent high-risk travelers from boarding U.S.-bound flights. Specifically, the report examines how CBP identifies high risk travelers; the results of CBP’s predeparture programs and the extent to which CBP has measures to assess program performance; and how CBP plans to expand its predeparture programs.

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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.