Legislative Bulletin – Friday, May 26, 2017

Policy and Advocacy Associate

May 26, 2017

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

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

S. 1220

The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act

This bill would exempt children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas.

Sponsored by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D – Hawaii) (5 cosponsor)

5/24/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Hirono

5/24/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 2577

The Jobs in America Act

This bill would provide immigrant entrepreneurs and foreign graduates of U.S. universities with the opportunity to stay in the U.S. if they demonstrate the ability to create jobs and bolster our economy.

Sponsored by Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D – Arizona) (5 cosponsors)

5/19/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Sinema

5/19/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 2604

The Temporary Protected Status Reform Act of 2017

This bill would reform the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, shifting authority from the Executive and empowering Congress to designate a nation’s participation in the TPS program.  Further, it would set maximum lengths for TPS duration.

Sponsored by Representative Mo Brooks (R – Alabama) (3 cosponsors)

5/23/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Brooks

5/23/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 2626

The Strong Visa Integrity Secures America Act 

This bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Immigration and Nationality Act to improve visa security and visa applicant vetting.

Sponsored by Representative Will Hurd (R – Texas) (2 cosponsors)

5/24/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Hurd

5/24/2017 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary, and Homeland Security

H.R. 2635

The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act

This bill would exempt children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas.

Sponsored by Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D – Hawaii) (18 cosponsors)

5/24/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Hanabusa

5/24/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 2724

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to replace the diversity visa program with a new program under which an immigrant visa can be obtained by paying a fee of $1,000,000.

Sponsored by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R – California) (1 cosponsors)

5/25/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Rohrabacher

5/25/2017 Referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Homeland Security

H.R. 2717

Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy (STAPLE) Act

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize certain aliens who have earned a Ph.D. degree from a United States institution of higher education in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics to be admitted for permanent residence and to be exempted from the numerical limitations on H-1B nonimmigrant visas.

Sponsored by Representative Erik Paulsen (R – Minnesota) (1 cosponsors)

5/25/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Paulsen

5/25/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 2431

The Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (The Davis-Oliver Act)

This bill would dramatically reshape interior immigration enforcement in the United States, by requiring state and local law enforcement to divert their limited resources towards immigration enforcement, by permitting states and localities to pass their own immigration laws that would likely result in a confusing patchwork of state and local immigration laws, and by criminalizing unlawful presence of undocumented people in the United States among other provisions.

Sponsored by Representative Raul Labrador (R – Idaho) (6 cosponsors)

5/16/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Labrador

5/16/2017 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security

5/23/2017 Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held. Markup report

5/24/2017 Ordered to be Reported by the Yeas and Nays: 19 – 13.

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). This bill would significantly expand the agency’s capacity to engage in enforcement of immigration laws.

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

5/22/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security

5/23/2017 Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held. Markup report

5/24/2017 Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held. Markup report

5/24/2017 Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 15 – 8.

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

5/22/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security

5/23/2017 Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held. Markup report

5/24/2017 Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held. Markup report

5/24/2017 Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 14 – 10.

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will not be in session the week of May, 29, 2017.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

There are no relevant hearings or markups scheduled for the week of May 29, 2017.

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Trump Budget Seeks Additional Immigration Enforcement and Border Funding

On Tuesday, May 23, the White House released its $4.1 trillion budget blueprint for fiscal year (FY) 2018, making it clear that immigration enforcement continues to be one of the Trump Administration’s main priorities. The proposed budget would vastly expand deportation efforts with its focus on immigration detention, funding immigration agents, and border security. It includes $44.1 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a $2.8 billion increase from FY 2017.

Specifically, the request includes an additional $1.5 billion to detain, transport and remove immigrants who lack authorization. Another $300 million would pay for 500 new border patrol agents and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The administration also seeks $1.6 billion to replace or build new border barriers and $1 billion for border security technology. At the same time, the White House proposes substantial cuts to a number of key skills and workforce development programs under Departments of Labor and Education, while increasing the budget for immigration-related divisions of the Department of Justice.

Immigration Enforcement Bills Pass House Judiciary Committee

On Wednesday, May 23, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 2431 “The Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act” (Davis-Oliver Act). The committee approved the bill in a 19-13 vote along party lines. If enacted, the Davis-Oliver Act would dramatically reshape interior immigration enforcement in the United States, by requiring state and local law enforcement to divert their limited resources towards immigration enforcement, by permitting states and localities to pass their own immigration laws that would likely result in a confusing patchwork of state and local immigration laws, and by criminalizing unlawful presence of undocumented people in the United States among other provisions. Representative Raul Labrador (R – Idaho) introduced H.R. 2431 on May 11, 2017.

On the same day, the House Judiciary Committee passed two additional bills along party lines, which were both introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R – Virginia) on May 11, 2017. H.R. 2406, the “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act”, which passed the committee in a 15-8 vote. This bill would significantly expand the agency’s capacity to engage in enforcement of immigration laws by providing for an additional 10,000 deportation officers and 2,500 detention officers, giving deportation officers assault rifles, and expanding the agency’s ability to engage in enforcement activities. The second bill is H.R. 2407, “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Reauthorization Act”, which was approved by the committee in a 14-10 vote. H.R. 2407 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.

Sessions Issues Memo on Sanctuary Cities

On Monday, May 22, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions clarified President Trump’s executive order on interior enforcement and defined sanctuary cities narrowly as those that “willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373.” That Executive order stated that sanctuary jurisdictions will not be eligible to receive federal grants. In his two-page memorandum, Sessions explains that jurisdictions may not obstruct or restrict the exchange of information about immigration status under the federal statute 8 U.S.C. 1373. Many jurisdictions argue that they are not in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1373 because they do not collect immigration status and that any information that they do have about immigration status is shared with DHS.

DHS Renews Haitian Temporary Protected Status for Six Months

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that it would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to 58,700 Haitians for six more months. TPS may be granted to another country’s nationals when certain conditions, such as environmental disasters or armed conflict, make their country unable to support their return or if returning will be too dangerous. DHS Secretary John Kelly noted that the six month extension was decided after carefully considering current conditions in Haiti.

This announcement marks a change from prior determinations, which have granted TPS status to Haitians in 18-month intervals since its 2010 earthquake. A number of legislators, business leaders, and Haitian representatives have argued that Haiti is not prepared for the return of thousands of people and that the TPS program should have been extended for the full 18 months. DHS will re-evaluate the designation for Haiti at least 60 days before Jan. 22, 2018, but that TPS holders should begin gathering the proper documents and have them in order before that date.

ICE To Resume Publishing of Declined Detainer Report

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will resume the weekly releases of its Declined Detainer Outcome Report (DDOR) next week. The agency’s spokesman Carl Rusnok confirmed the information in an interview on Tuesday, May 24, 2017. ICE decided to temporality halt issuing the report on April 11, 2017, after its first report contained misleading or inaccurate information that prompted confusion and criticism among several law enforcement officials. The report, which is required by President Trump’s executive order on interior immigration enforcement, highlights cities and counties that decide not to honor federal immigration detainers.

Federal immigration detainers, which are voluntarily requests to detain individuals suspected of being in the U.S. unlawfully beyond the time they would otherwise have been released, are not usually accompanied by a warrant, a judicial order or probable cause determination. Accordingly, multiple federal courts have questioned their legality, leaving state and local law enforcement agencies to face significant legal liability for honoring a detainer.

Number of OPT Approvals Rising

Optional Practical Training (OPT) approvals have increased from 28,497 in FY 2008 to 136,617 in FY 2014, and demand is expected to grow. This program is often used as a bridge between foreign students’ graduation and approval of an H-1B skilled guest worker visa application. The program allows recent graduates from U.S. institutions of higher education to work in America for up to 12 months after graduation within their field of study. For STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates, the OPT period is extended to up to 36 months.

Legal

Federal Appeals Court Rules against Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

In a 10-3 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the Maryland Federal District Court’s ruling enjoining President Trump’s ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries. The 4th Circuit Court found the national security justification for the ban facially legitimate, but that plaintiffs provided enough evidence that the justification was not the genuine reason for the ban and that the ban’s primary purpose was religious and would violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.  Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the majority opinion that the government’s concerns about national security interests were a “secondary justification for an executive action rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.”  The Trump Administration stated it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report, May 22, 2017

A recent DHS report showed that 739,478 out of 50,437,278 nonimmigrant visitors to the United States overstayed their visas in the FY 2016. This amounted to an overall visa overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Foreign students, temporary workers, and temporary visitors for business and pleasure are among those included in the category of nonimmigrant visitors. However, the DHS report provides an incomplete picture of the total number of visa overstays because it only includes the number of nonimmigrant visitors who left by air or sea, and not those who may have left by land. In addition, the report is only a “snapshot” of the numbers at a given moment. By January of 2017, the visa overstay rate had dropped to 1.07 percent due to ongoing departures and changes in immigration status.

As part of its efforts to better track the number of visa overstays in the United States, DHS plans to implement a biometric identification system at all land, air, and sea ports of entry. Last year, DHS tested a pilot program at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. DHS expects to expand this trial to seven additional airports in the near future.

 

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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.