Legislative Bulletin – Friday, May 12, 2017

Policy and Advocacy Associate

May 12, 2017

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

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

H.R. 2406

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act 

This bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the first time in law. The bill would also make targeted reforms to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and codify the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), which was created by the Trump Administration to provide access to information and resources to victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

Sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R – Virginia) (0 cosponsors)

5/11/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Goodlatte

5/11/2017 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Ways and Means

H.R. 2407

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Reauthorization Act

This bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to reauthorize U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is tasked with processing immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions, and establish the permanent authorization of E-Verify within the agency.

Sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R – Virginia) (0 cosponsors)

5/11/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Goodlatte

5/11/2017 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Education and the Workforce

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, May, 15, 2017.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Tuesday, May 16, 2017, through Friday, May 19, 2017.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Business Meeting

This meeting will include a markup of the S. 595, the Boots on the Border Act of 2017, which would allow the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to waive the polygraph examination requirement to certain federal, state,  or local law enforcement officers and members of the Armed Forces, the National Guard or U.S. veterans.

Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 10 a.m. (Senate Homeland Security)

Location: 342, Dirksen Senate Office Building

Challenges Facing Law Enforcement in the 21st Century

Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 10 a.m. (House Judiciary)

Location: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Witnesses:

Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Chief Alonzo Thompson, Spartanburg Police Department

Chuck Canterbury, National President at Fraternal Order of Police

Chief Art Acevedo, City of Houston

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Cornyn, McCaul Working on Border Security, Interior Enforcement Bill

Senator John Cornyn (R – Texas) and Representative Michael McCaul (R – Texas) are reportedly working with the White House and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) to develop an immigration enforcement and border security bill. The focus of the bill will likely be to provide for additional enforcement of immigration laws in the interior of the United States, while providing additional resources and staffing at the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill, which is still being drafted, reportedly will not address visa reform and legalization for the undocumented community in the U.S.

ICE Announces It Will Begin Deporting Some Immigrants with Private Bills Pending

On May 5, Thomas Homan, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced to members of Congress that ICE will reduce the amount of time it delays deporting individuals who are the subject of pending special legislation that would give them legal status in the U.S. Homan said that the agency will only wait to deport immigrants with “private bills” pending on their behalf for up to six months, with the possibility of one 90-day extension. Authorities previously held off deporting people for much longer, years in some cases. ICE said that the change sought to prevent ICE agents from being blocked from carrying out deportations. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) criticized the decision, saying that ICE is changing a longstanding practice and is doing so without consulting lawmakers.

Legal

TRAC Sues ICE Over Detainers

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) filed a lawsuit on May 9 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) claiming that ICE unlawfully withheld records related to immigration enforcement. In the lawsuit, TRAC, a data research organization  associated with the Syracuse University, said that it had requested information related to ICE’s interactions with other law enforcement agencies and ICE detainers, which are federal requests to state and local law enforcement agencies to hold individuals suspected of being in the country without authorization. In the past, pursuant to FOIA, ICE provided TRAC with “detailed case-by-case data on ICE’s use of Starting in January 2017, ICE began refusing to disclose much of the information produced in previous responses.

TRAC claims that ICE’s refusal to release details on the detainer usage has prevented it from providing the public with up-to-date information on ICE enforcement activities.

Trump’s Travel Ban Back in Court

On May 8, 2017, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal of a federal court’s injunction halting Trump administration’s March 2017 revised travel ban. During oral argument, the 13 judges appeared to differ over whether the court should consider Trump’s comments during the 2016 campaign trail or only consider the text of  of the executive order in determining whether the policy unlawfully targets Muslims. Jeffrey Wall, the acting solicitor general, argued Monday that Trump’s statements about Muslims prior to taking office should not be considered evidence of discrimination because the revised travel ban was written after the President listened to judges’ concerns that the original executive order discriminated against Muslims. Omar Jadwat, a senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, argued there isn’t a valid national security purpose behind the ban because, the countries selected by Trump are “not the list of countries you come up” with when defining those that pose the biggest threats to the U.S.

State & Local

Texas Governor Signs ‘Anti-Sanctuary’ SB 4

On May 7, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R – Texas) signed Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), which imposes civil and criminal penalties on cities, counties, law enforcement agencies and university police departments who have or implement new policies that build trust with immigrant communities. It also penalizes departments and agencies who elect not to perform federal immigration activities beyond what the federal law requires, including choosing not to honor federal immigration detainers that have been found to be legally questionable. The Texas Senate passed SB 4 on February 8, 2017 by a 20-10 vote, while the Texas House passed the bill on April 27, 2017 by a 94-53 vote. The Senate then re-passed the House version of SB 4 on May 3, 2017 by a 20-11 vote.

Just a day after Governor Abbott signed the law, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R – Texas) filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the state against the City of Austin, Travis County, local officials and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund to enforce the new policy.. The lawsuit, filed under the federal Declaratory Judgment Act, seeks a declaratory judgment from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas proclaiming that SB 4 is constitutional. Preemptively filing the suit in this manner allows the state to avoid facing multiple lawsuits, permitting a single court to resolve the issue of constitutionality.

Texas Senate Advances Bill to License Family Detention Facilities as Child Care Providers

On May 9, by a 20-11 vote, the Texas Senate passed legislation that would allow the state to license family immigrant detention centers as “family residential centers”. SB 1018 followed a  state court ruling that found family detention facilities to not meet the state’s minimum requirements for child care facilities. If adopted, the bill would allow detention facilities to hold families longer, which could adversely impact the physical and mental health of kids held in detention. The bill awaits action by the Texas House of Representatives, whose legislative session will end on May 29, 2017.

Florida ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Bill Fails in Senate

The Florida Senate did not act on S.B. 786 before the end of the 2017 legislative session. The bill, which targeted so-called sanctuary cities, would impose penalties on communities and elected officials attempting to limit involvement in federal immigration enforcement, including federal immigration detainer requests. On April 28, the Florida House or Representatives passed the House version of the bill, H.B. 697, in a 76-41 vote. With the end of the legislative session, it is unlikely the policies proposed will become law this year.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

There were no immigration or workforce related government reports published during the week of Monday, May 8, 2017.

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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.