Legislative Bulletin – Friday, June 23, 2017
Policy and Advocacy Associate
June 23, 2017
BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
This resolution would recognize June 20, 2017 as World Refugee Day and acknowledges the courage and strength of the millions of people who are forced to flee their home countries every year.
Sponsored by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) (17 cosponsors)
06/20/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cardin
06/20/2017 Referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
This resolution would reaffirm the leadership of the United States in promoting the safety, health and well-being of refugees and displaced persons. It reiterates the United States’ bipartisan commitment to this goal, acknowledges the work of organizations that try to improve refugees’ lives, and urges the United States government to continue to be a leader in this field.
Sponsored by Representative Ted Lieu (D-California) (66 cosponsors)
06/20/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Lieu
06/20/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Protection of Children Act of 2017
This bill would amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 by eliminating the special repatriation requirements for unaccompanied children who are nationals or residents of a country that is contiguous to the United States. It would also require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to examine the immigration status of individuals who house minors and initiate removal proceedings if the individual is unlawfully present in the United States.
Sponsored by Representative John R. Carter (R – Texas) (2 cosponsors)
01/12/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Carter
01/12/2017 Referred to House Judiciary Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee
06/22/2017 Marked up and passed 15-12 by the House Judiciary Committee
Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2017
This bill will amend aspects of the Immigration and Nationality Act that detail United States refugee policies. It establishes annual refugee numbers at 50,000, authorizes the President to submit an adjustment recommendation to Congress based on humanitarian concerns and requires that the President submit emergency refugee admission recommendations to Congress for approval.
Sponsored by Representative Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) (9 cosponsors)
06/08/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Labrador
06/08/2017 Referred to the House Judiciary Committee
06/21/2017 Markup by the House Judiciary Committee began; to continue at a date TBD
To Offer Refugees College Help (TORCH) Act
This bill would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by permitting in-State tuition to certain refugees and asylees who are lawfully in the United States and seek a college education.
Sponsored by Representative Jared Huffman (D-California) (57 cosponsors)
06/20/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Huffman
06/20/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and Workforce
No Sanctuary for Criminals Act
This bill would amend certain sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, including provisions about state enforcement of federal immigration laws, federal assistance to states and political subdivision of states.
Sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) (2 cosponsors)
06/22/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Goodlatte
06/22/2017 Referred to the House Judiciary Committee
This bill would amend section 276 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the provision that details reentry of removed immigrants.
Sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) (3 cosponsors)
06/22/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Goodlatte
06/22/2017 Referred to the House Judiciary Committee
This bill will provide provisions that improve training for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers. It will also create independent oversight of CBP and work to make it more transparent and accountable.
Sponsored by Representative Beto O’Rourke (D- Texas) (1 cosponsor)
06/22/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative O’Rourke
06/22/2017 Referred to the House Homeland Security Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will be in session the week of June 26th, 2017.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
Nominations of Claire M. Grady to be Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Henry Kerner to be Special Counsel, Office of Special Counsel
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 10 a.m. (Senate Homeland Security)
Location: SD-342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Includes consideration of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017 (S. 1312) and the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017 (S. 1311).
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 10 a.m. (Senate Judiciary)
Location: 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
DHS Rescinds Obama Memo Establishing DAPA
On June 15, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a memorandum rescinding the 2014 Obama administration’s memorandum that created the program Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which temporarily deferred deportation for parents with U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The memo declared that DACA would “remain in effect,” but the long-term fate of DACA remains uncertain. There are almost 800,000 DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, with government-granted work permits currently working and living in the United States.
Sheriff Clarke Rescinds Acceptance of DHS Position
Late on Friday, June 16, Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee rescinded his acceptance of an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security because he believed his skills could be better utilized in a different role for the president. Sheriff Clarke gained national attention for his speech at the Republican National Convention last summer and was first considered for this position in May. His decision to withdraw from consideration follows a number of controversies leveled against him, including accusations of plagiarism and concerns about the conditions of the Milwaukee County Jail, where one inmate died of dehydration in April 2016.
Trump Comments on Border Wall
During a rally in Cedar Rapids (IA) on Wednesday, President Trump suggested installing solar panels on the Mexico border wall in order to save money on the multibillion dollar project. Though a border wall was one of Trump’s main campaign promises, Congress has not yet allocated funds for its construction, and the project is still facing opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. While in Cedar Rapids, Trump also asserted his support for legislation preventing immigrants from obtaining federal welfare benefits for at least their first five years in the US.
9/11 Worker Facing Deportation Pardoned for Drug Crime
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) has pardoned a 9/11 worker for a decades-old drug crime in a bid to save him from deportation. Carlos Cordena, 48, lives in Queens with his wife, a U.S. citizen. In 1990, Cordena was convicted of selling cocaine to an undercover police officer, a crime for which he served 45 days in jail. Cordena worked to clear rubble at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11 and now is co-owner of a construction business. However, Liliana Cruz Mendez an undocumented mother of U.S. citizen children who was pardoned by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe for a minor traffic offense was deported this week. Cordena is currently being held in detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Public Religion Research Institute Poll: Most Americans Support Naturalization over Deportation
A survey released by the PRRI on Wednesday shows support across states for “identifying and deporting” illegal immigrants at a mere 16 percent. Rather, most Americans (64 percent) favor a path towards naturalization where the immigrant meets certain requirements.
Detroit Judge Stays Deportation of Iraqi Christians
A judge in Detroit has temporarily halted the deportation of more than 100 religious minorities back to Iraq. The ACLU had filed a lawsuit to stop the deportation on the grounds that the immigrants, most of them Chaldean Christians, would face persecution and torture. Iraq recently agreed to accept Iraqi nationals in exchange for being removed from the list of countries on President Trump’s travel ban. That agreement allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to focus its operations on the Chaldean community in Detroit. Most of those detained by ICE had criminal records. The stay will be in place for two weeks while judge decides whether he has jurisdiction to hear the case.
SCOTUS Hands Down Two Immigration Decisions
On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Maslenjak v. United States. With this decision the Court effectively raised the bar for what conduct can cause a naturalized American to be stripped of his or her U.S. citizenship. Divna Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb who came to the U.S. as a refugee fleeing persecution in Bosnia, lied to an immigration official about her husband’s military service, and when this came to light, she was charged with having obtained her citizenship illegally. At trial, Maslenjak argued that the lie was immaterial to her citizenship application, but the District Court judge instructed the jury to consider any lie, however small. Maslenjak’s citizenship was revoked and she was deported to Bosnia. The Supreme Court reversed, stating that the government must show that the false statements would have mattered to the immigration official’s decision to grant citizenship. It was remanded to the District Court to retry Maslenjak under the new standard.
On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an immigrant who received ineffective legal counsel in Lee v. United States. Jae Lee pleaded guilty to a drug charge after his lawyer advised Lee that it would not affect the possibility of him being deported. The Court held that Lee had sufficiently demonstrated that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s bad advice because there was a reasonable probability that Lee would have rejected the plea deal and risked trial in order to maintain a chance of avoiding deportation. Lee may now elect to seek a jury trial or a different plea.
Cities across Texas Join Lawsuit Challenging Senate Bill 4
On Wednesday, Houston joined the lawsuit over the Texas immigration law SB4, siding with San Antonio, Austin, and other cities and local governments across the state. The new law, which takes effect in September, will allow local law enforcement officials to question the immigration status of those they arrest and provides for punishing officials who fail to cooperate with federal agents.
Today, the Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest siding with Texas and arguing that the bill would not be preempted by Federal law, that it is not inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment, and that it does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
State & Local
CBP Raids Arizona Humanitarian Camp Base
Last week, Border Patrol raided a humanitarian camp in Southern Arizona providing aid to immigrants crossing from Mexico to the United States. CBP arrested four people who crossed the border illegally, one of whom had been convicted for drug possession and previously deported. Thursday’s raid was not the first time CBP stormed the aid camp, and the Tucson-based volunteer group alleges that Border Patrol has vandalized the water and food supply they make available to immigrants on multiple occasions.
There were no immigration or workforce related government reports published during the week of Monday, June 19, 2017.
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*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Christian Penichet-Paul, National Immigration Forum Policy and Advocacy Associate, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.