Legislative Bulletin – Friday, March 31, 2017

Policy and Advocacy Associate

March 31, 2017

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

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

S. 725

This bill would prohibit the intentional hindering of immigration, border, and customs controls.

Sponsored by Senator John McCain (R – Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

3/27/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator McCain

3/27/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

S. 727

This bill would increase the worldwide level of employment-based immigrants and to reauthorize the EB-5 regional center program.

Sponsored by Senator Rand Paul (R – Kentucky) (0 cosponsors)

3/27/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Paul

3/27/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

S. 790

This bill would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to encourage innovation. The Perkins Act is the main source of federal funding for secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs, which are important for building the skills of workers, including immigrants, to meet the needs of employers and growing our economy.

Sponsored by Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R – Utah) (1 cosponsors)

3/30/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Hatch

3/30/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP)

S. 792

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an H-2B temporary non-agricultural work visa program.

Sponsored by Senator Thom Tillis (R – North Carolina) (7 cosponsors)

3/30/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Tillis

3/30/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

S. 795

This bill would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 regarding dual or concurrent enrollment and early college high schools. The Perkins Act is the main source of federal funding for secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs, which are important for building the skills of workers, including immigrants, to meet the needs of employers and growing our economy.

Sponsored by Senator Michael F. Bennet (D – Colorado) (1 cosponsors)

3/30/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Bennet

3/30/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP)

H.R. 1705

Keeping American Jobs Act

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the provisions governing employment of nonimmigrants to prevent the transfer of knowledge from United States workers for the purpose of facilitating their jobs being moved abroad.

Sponsored by Representative Derek Kilmer (D – Washington) (1 cosponsors)

3/23/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Kilmer

3/23/2017 Referred to House Judiciary

H.R. 1741

Transnational Criminal Organization Illicit Spotter Prevention and Elimination Act

This bill would prohibit the intentional hindering of immigration, border, and customs controls.

Sponsored by Representative Martha McSally (R – Arizona) (5 cosponsors)

3/27/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative McSally

3/27/2017 Referred to House Judiciary

H.R. 1815

The Protecting Sensitive Locations Act

This bill would amend section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to limit immigration enforcement actions at sensitive locations, to clarify the powers of immigration officers at sensitive locations

Sponsored by Representative Adriano Espaillat (D – New York) (24 cosponsors)

3/30/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Espaillat

3/30/2017 Referred to House Judiciary

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of April 3, 2017.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, April 3, 2017, through Thursday, April 6, 2017.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Executive Business Meeting

This meeting will include consideration of Neil M. Gorsuch’s nomination to serve as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Date: Monday, April 3, 2017 at 10 a.m. (Senate Judiciary)

Location: 216 Hart Senate Office Building

Fencing Along the Southwest Border

Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)

Location: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Witnesses: TBA

Improving Border Security and Public Safety

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)

Location: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Witnesses: TBA

Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs

Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 10 a.m. (House Appropriations)

Location: 2358-C Rayburn House Office Building

Witnesses:

Douglas J. Besharov, Professor at University of Maryland School of Public Policy and Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council

Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale, Institute Fellow at Urban Institute

Defeating a Sophisticated And Dangerous Adversary: Are The New Border Security Task Forces The Right Approach?

Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 10 a.m. (House Homeland Security)

Location: House Capitol Visitor Center (HVC) Room 210

Witnesses:

Vice Admiral Karl Schultz, Director of Joint Task Force—East at U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Chief Paul A. Beeson, Commander of Joint Task Force—West at U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ms. Janice Ayala, Director of Joint Task Force—Investigations at Homeland Security Investigations

Ms. Rebecca Gambler, Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at U.S. Government Accountability Office

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Sessions Threatens to Pull Funds from Sanctuary Jurisdictions

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to withhold or even “claw-back” Justice Department grants devoted to state and local law enforcement from the so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. Sessions’ remarks, which he delivered during the White House press briefing on Monday, March 27, followed President Trump’s January 2017 executive order on interior immigration enforcement. The executive order provided the attorney general  “shall take appropriate enforcement action against” jurisdictions he deems to be in violation of federal law, specifically the information-sharing provisions of 8 U.S.C. §1373. The executive order also Sessions’ comments immediately faced  pushback  from a number of mayors of major U.S. cities that maintains community trust policies such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also published its second Weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Report this week that lists jurisdictions with the highest volume of declined detainers, federal requests to state and local law enforcement agencies to hold individuals suspected of being in the country without authorization, underlining the White House’s efforts to pressure states, cities and counties to honor these voluntary requests.

Secretary Kelly: DHS Won’t Separate Families at Border

In a March 29 meeting with Senate Democrats, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) John Kelly denied considering policies that would separate families claiming asylum along the U.S.-Mexico  border, absent rare and extenuating circumstances. Kelly’s reassurances represented an apparent reversal from earlier this month, when he appeared to suggest that family separation could “to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network” relating to unlawful crossing of the southern border.

In the meeting, Kelly also said that the DHS is not targeting law-abiding undocumented recipients of deferred action enrolled under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), unless those individuals violated the terms of DACA.

Democrats Delay Gorsuch’s Nomination Vote, Acosta’s Nomination Advances

With the possibility of a filibuster looming, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination vote to serve as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to April 3. Republicans hope to confirm Gorsuch by April 7 before a two-week congressional recess, which would allow him to join the court later in the month and participate on final cases of that the current Supreme Court term, which ends in June.

On March 30, by a party-line 12-11 vote, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the nomination of Alexander Acosta to be the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The nomination now moves to the full Senate for consideration. If confirmed by the full Senate, Acosta, a law school dean who was nominated following the withdrawal of Andrew Puzder, will become the only Hispanic member of President Trump’s cabinet.

Judge Approves Release of DREAMer Detained by ICE

On March 28, an immigration judge in Tacoma, WA ordered the release of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 24-year-old DACA recipient who spent six weeks in a detention center after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested him in February. ICE officials arrested Ramirez when they came to his Seattle apartment to arrest his father, a previously deported felon. The officials claim Ramirez admitted to associations with gangs and cited a tattoo on his arm as proof. The tattoo in question says “La Paz BCS”, which is a reference to Ramirez’s hometown in Mexico, and he denies involvement in any gangs. Despite having no criminal background, ICE agents revoked Ramirez’s DACA status and detained him. A federal judge denied Ramirez’s lawyers’ attempts to challenge his detention as a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against seizure without a proper warrant or probable cause, telling them instead to challenge the detention in immigration court.

ITEP Report: Undocumented Immigrants Contribute Significantly to State and Local Taxes

A recent report released by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. add collectively an estimated $11.74 billion a year to state and local taxes. Noting that a majority of undocumented immigrant households use Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) to file income tax returns, the report determined that. the unauthorized immigrant population actually pays taxes at a higher rate than the top bracket of U.S. taxpayers, account for property tax, sales tax, and Social Security/Medicare taxes, in addition to the income tax. The report estimated that providing this population of approximately 11 million people with work authorization and an eventual pathway to citizenship would increase their state and local tax contributions by as much as $2.1 billion or more per year.

Legal

Hawaii Federal Judge Extends Order Blocking President Trump’s Travel Ban

On March 29, a federal judge in Hawaii extended the court order blocking President Trump’s ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries and all refugees from entering the United States. Two weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson issued a temporary restraining order halting the travel ban shortly before taking effect on March 16. After hearing arguments on the case this week, Watson issued a longer-term preliminary injunction that indefinitely blocks the ban.

In seeking to halt the bans, Hawaii argued that the policy discriminates against Muslims and negatively impacts the state’s tourist-dependent economy. The Trump administration, however, stated that the ban falls within the president’s power to protect national security. Judge Watson rejected the administration’s argument and said that Hawaii had met its burden of establishing a likelihood of success based on the merits of its First Amendment Establishment Clause claim. The Justice Department filed a notice to appeal the decision on March 30.

On March 27, attorneys general from 12 states and the governor of Mississippi filed a friend of the court brief supporting the Trump administration’s position on the travel ban in parallel litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Fourth Circuit is hearing the appeal of a Maryland federal court decision  that also enjoined the travel ban.

State & Local

GA Senate Passes Bill to Withhold Funding from Sanctuary Colleges; VA Anti-Sanctuary Bill Vetoed

On March 28, the Georgia Senate voted to approve HB 37, which would withhold state funding from otherwise eligible private postsecondary institutions that declare themselves “sanctuary” campuses and adopt  policies “prohibit[ing[ or restrict[ing] officials or employees . . . from communicating or cooperating with federal officials or law enforcement officers with regard to reporting status information” relating to student’s immigration or citizenship status.   The bill now moves to Gov. Nathan Deal (R – Georgia), who  is expected to sign it into law. Currently, no schools in Georgia have adopted such policies.

The previous day, March 27, in Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D – Virginia) vetoed a bill that would have prohibited localities from adopting  “any ordinance, procedure, or policy that restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws.” McAuliffe argued that the bill would send a hostile message to immigrant communities and would spread fear.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

Congressional Research Service: State and Local “Sanctuary” Policies Limiting Participation in Immigration Enforcement, March 23, 2017 (by Sarah S. Herman)

This report discusses state and local “sanctuary” policies, which are efforts by localities to limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement. The report examined the different types of policies adopted by states and localities – characterizing them as “don’t enforce”, “don’t ask” and “don’t tell” policies – and looked at legal issues relevant to those policies.

 

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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.