Legislative Bulletin – Friday, July 24, 2015

Assistant Director for Immigration Policy and Advocacy

July 24, 2015

Bills Introduced and Considered

H.R. ___(bill number yet to be assigned)

The New Americans Success Act of 2015

This bill would support the integration of immigrants to the U.S. by offering grant funding to assist Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) with the naturalization process and to improve access to English-language and civics programs.

Sponsored by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) (1 cosponsor)

7/23/2015 Introduced in the House by Rep. Cárdenas

H.R. 3073

Sanctuary City All Funding Elimination (SAFE) Act of 2015

This bill would prohibit the receipt of Federal financial assistance by sanctuary cities until the State or local government has produced a comprehensive plan for returning to a non-sanctuary city. This bill is distinct from the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013, which was introduced in the 113th Congress.

Sponsored by Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tennessee)

7/15/2015 Introduced in House by Rep. DesJarlais

7/15/2015 Referred to House Judiciary and House Oversight and Governmental Reform

H.R. 3011

Kate’s Law

This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase penalties applicable to aliens who unlawfully reenter after being removed.

Sponsored by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) (33 cosponsors)

7/9/2015 Introduced in House

7/9/2015 Referred to House Judiciary

H.R. 3009

Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to deny certain federal assistance to sanctuary cities.

Sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) (36 cosponsors)

7/9/2015 Introduced in House by Rep. Hunter

7/9/2015 Referred to House Judiciary

7/22/2015 Rules Committee Meeting on H.R. 3009, including submission of amendments

7/23/2015 Passed House (Roll Call Vote No. 466: 241-179).

H.R. 3002

Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act

This bill would prohibit the receipt of Federal financial assistance by sanctuary cities.

Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pennsylvania) (21 cosponsors)

7/9/2015 Introduced in House by Rep. Barletta

7/9/2015 Referred to House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform

H.R. 2964

Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act of 2015 

States that state and local law enforcement personnel have the inherent authority to investigate, apprehend, or transfer aliens to federal custody and 2 years after the enactment of the Act will prohibit certain federal incarceration assistance to states that have any statute, policy, or practice prohibiting such law enforcement assistance. The bill also provides for a list of immigration violators in the National Crime Information Center database and directs grants to states that enforce immigration laws. It further authorizes state or local detention of an illegal alien after completion of their prison sentence and directs DHS to construct or acquire 20 additional detention facilities for aliens pending removal or a decision on a removal.

Sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee)

7/8/2015 Introduced in House by Rep. Blackburn

7/8/2015 Referred to House Judiciary

H.R. 2942

Stop Catch and Release Act of 2015 

This bill would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to detain any alien who is unlawfully present in the United States and is arrested for certain criminal offenses. This is the companion bill to S. 1752.

Sponsored by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) (38 cosponsors)

6/25/2015 Introduced in House by Rep. Salmon

6/25/2015 Referred to House Judiciary

7/9/2015 Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security

S. 1812

Improving Cooperation with States and Local Governments and Preventing the Catch and Release of Criminal Aliens Act of 2015

This bill would withhold federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate on criminal aliens and other high priority individuals. It would also increase the amount of time an undocumented immigrant must spend in jail for re-entry after deportation from 2 years to 5 years.

Sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) (2 cosponsors)

7/21/2015 Introduced in Senate by Sen. Grassley

7/21/2015 Referred to Senate Judiciary

S. 1764

Protecting American Citizens Together Act (PACT Act)

This bill would prohibit certain federal funds from being made available to sanctuary cities and would make detainers mandatory.

Sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)

7/14/2015 Introduced in Senate by Sen. Paul

7/14/2015 Referred to Senate Judiciary

S. 1762

Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015

A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase the penalties applicable to aliens who unlawfully reenter the United States after being removed.

Sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (1 cosponsor)

7/14/2015 Introduced in Senate by Sen. Cruz

7/14/2015 Referred to Senate Judiciary

S. 1752

Criminal Alien Deportation Act

This bill would require Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to detain undocumented immigrants arrested or convicted of serious crimes and deport them within 90 days. It also aims to enhance communication between federal, State, tribal, and local jurisdictions. This is the companion bill to H.R. 2942.

Sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) (1 cosponsor)

7/13/2015 Introduced in Senate by Sen. McCain

7/13/2015 Referred to Senate Judiciary

S. 1640

The Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (There is also a companion bill in the House)

This bill, formerly known as the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (“SAFE”) Act includes several interior enforcement measures, including provisions that authorize local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws and would prevent DHS from implementing new enforcement guidelines that prioritize serious threats to public safety and national security. A companion bill, H.R. 1148, was introduced in the House.

Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) (6 cosponsors)

6/22/2015 Introduced by Sen. Sessions

6/22/2015 Referred to Senate Judiciary

Nominations and Confirmations

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

Legislative Floor Calendar

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, July 27 to Thursday, July 30, 2015, before recessing for the entire month of August.

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, July 27, 2015.

Upcoming Hearings and Markups

Business Meeting

Includes consideration of the Department of Homeland Security Border Security Metrics Act of 2015 (S. ___) and the Northern Border Security Review Act (S. 1808)

Date: Thursday, July 29, 2015, 10:00 a.m. (Senate Homeland Security Committee)

Location: SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building

Themes in Washington This Week

Spirited Congressional Hearings on Sanctuary Cities

Both the House and Senate held committee hearings this week on so-called sanctuary city policies, which limit state and local officials’ involvement in federal immigration enforcement initiatives. The hearings were held in direct response to Kate Steinle’s tragic death on July 1, when she was shot and killed on a San Francisco pier by an undocumented immigrant who was deported five times and had seven prior drug felonies.

The victim’s father, Jim Steinle, spoke at both House and Senate committee hearings calling for changes to current U.S. immigration laws. “Unfortunately, due to the disjointed laws and basic incompetence on many levels, the U.S. has suffered a self-inflicted wound in the murder of our daughter by the hand of a person that should have never been on the streets in this country,” he said.

With Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) presiding, the Senate hearing also included testimony from other family members of crime victims, Chief Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department, Sarah Saldana of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Leon Rodriguez of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In the House hearing, Dayton (Ohio) Police Chief Richard Biehl highlighted the importance of community policing in maintaining public safety. “I am concerned that a poorly conceived response of compelling states and localities to carry out certain policies will undermine trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities,” he said.

Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act Passes House

On July 23, Republican legislation intended to reign in so-called sanctuary cities passed the House 241-179, largely along party lines. The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009), sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California), would deny certain law enforcement funding to cities that choose to limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement initiatives. The bill was opposed by law enforcement officials, religious groups, and major cities, as well as the White House, which issued a veto threat, citing concerns that the bill would breed mistrust between federal, state and local law enforcement and would obstruct effective enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

According to a report in Politico on July 22, House Republican leadership is planning on holding votes on several immigration enforcement measures later this year.

Democrats Demand Answers on BOP’s Transfer of SF Suspect

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on July 22 calling for a review of federal immigration detainer policies. Noting that the suspect in the July 1 killing of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco was transferred from Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) custody to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department based on a decades old drug warrant, the congresswomen urged a reevaluation of federal detainer policies involving transfers between BOP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Noting that the current policy of transferring a federal detainee to a local jurisdiction for pending criminal charges “generally makes sense,” they warned that “rigid adherence” to the policy in extreme circumstances “may not actually serve the interests of justice.”

John Kasich Announces Presidential Campaign

In a rally at a public university in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) announced on July 21 that he would be entering the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Kasich, making his second run for the White House, joins a crowded GOP field as the 16th nationally-known Republican to enter the race.

Kasich, a fiscally-conservative pragmatist, supports comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship.

Donald Trump Ignites Firestorm of Controversy Over Attacks on Sens. McCain, Graham

Last week, real estate developer and reality television star Donald Trump (R-New York) ignited a firestorm of controversy after he ridiculed Sen. John McCain’s (R-Arizona) military service. Appearing at an Iowa Presidential Forum on July 18, Trump said that the 2008 GOP presidential nominee “was not a war hero” despite spending five-and-a-half years in a North Vietnamese POW camp, explaining, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump’s insults were the latest salvo in a week-long conflict between the Arizona Senator and the billionaire business mogul, beginning after McCain criticized Trump’s immigration-centered rally in Arizona. Prior to criticizing McCain’s military record, Trump lobbed insults via Twitter, calling McCain a “dummy” and urging McCain’s defeat in the 2016 Arizona GOP Senate primary.

Trump continued his string of outrageous comments on July 21 by giving out Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) private cellphone number in a public speech and urging supporters to “try it.” Trump’s actions were in response to Graham slamming Trump’s attacks on McCain, who is Graham’s close personal friend and political ally. Graham responded to Trump with a humorous video showing him destroying his phone after it was flooded with calls.

On July 23, Trump visited Laredo, Texas to tour the U.S.-Mexico border. National Border Patrol Council Local 2455, the local union of Border Patrol agents, had initially agreed to host Trump, but pulled out of the event on July 23 due to the various controversies.

Bipartisan Bill Would Support Immigrant Integration

On July 23, Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-California) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) introduced The New Americans Success Act of 2015, which aims to support the integration of immigrants to the U.S. and reduce barriers to naturalization. The bill would create an Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance Grant Program, which would allow public, private, and nonprofit organizations to compete for funding to provide legal assistance with the naturalization process. The bill would also include Integration Success Grants, under which state and local governments would compete for funding by presenting a comprehensive plan for linguistic, civic, and economic integration. An Integration Success Fund would allow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to solicit and accept private donations for grant funding.

Government Reports

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

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