Legislative Bulletin – Friday, November 10, 2017

Policy and Advocacy Associate

November 10, 2017

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
GOVERNMENT REPORTS
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

S. 2082

A Bill to Terminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

Sponsored by Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) (0 cosponsors)

11/06/2017 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Kennedy

11/06/2017 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 4253

American Promise Act of 2017

This bill would permit individuals who currently receive Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to adjust to lawful permanent resident status if they meet certain requirements.

Sponsored by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-New York) (27 cosponsors)

11/03/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Velazquez

11/03/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 4282

A Bill to Amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to Direct the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlements of the Department of Health and Human Services to Establish Procedures for Making the Placement Determinations for All Unaccompanied Alien Children who are in Federal Custody by Reason of their Immigration Status, and for Other Purposes.

Sponsored by Representative Peter King (R-New York) (4 cosponsors)

11/07/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative King

11/07/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 4295

A Bill to Provide for Enhanced Federal, State and Local Assistance in the Enforcement of the Immigration Laws, to Amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, to Authorize Appropriations to Carry Out the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, and for Other Purposes.

Sponsored by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) (9 cosponsors)

11/08/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Blackburn

11/08/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 4310

A Bill to Amend Section 412(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to Require Ratification of a Plan with Respect to a Refugee by the Legislature of a State Before the Refugee May be Initially Placed or Resettled in the State, and for Other Purposes.

Sponsored by Representative Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) (4 cosponsors)

11/08/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Perry

11/08/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, November 13, 2017.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, November 13, 2017 to Thursday, November 16, 2017.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Looking North: Assessing the Current Threat at the U.S.-Canada Border

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Room 210 House Capitol Visitor Center (HVC)

Witnesses: TBA

Oversight of the Department of Justice

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. (House Judiciary Committee)

Location: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Witness:

Jeff Session, Attorney General

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Former Secretary of Defense, Veterans Call on Congress to Pass Legislative Solution for Dreamers

Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense under the Bush and Obama administrations, urged Congress on November 8 to pass a legislative solution for Dreamers, particularly those who are serving or have served in the military. Gates noted that Dreamers could provide the U.S. a “large pool of willing young people” to recruit to the military. He noted that the importance of recruiting immigrants into the military, whether they are undocumented or not, has increased because fewer young Americans are eligible to serve. About seven in 10 of the more than 30 million Americans between 17 and 24 years old would fail to qualify for the military because of physical, behavioral or education problems. Gates also noted that more than 800 Dreamers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) have already enlisted in the military, but if Congress to provide a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers, many of these recruits’ DACA permits will expire and they will not be eligible to serve and will instead be at risk of deportation. Gates’ comments echo veterans and studies who argue Dreamers and immigrants help military force readiness.

House Members Call for a Dreamer Solution Before End of the Year As Republican Working Group is Close to Finalizing Immigration Package

More than a dozen House Republicans held a press conference on November 9 to urge Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers before the end of the year. Representative Dan Newhouse (R-Washington), who coordinated the press conference, said that “inaction is just unacceptable” and that every day Congress fails to act, “people are hurt.” The House Republicans who spoke at the press conference were Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida), Joe Barton (R-Texas), Fred Upton (R-Michigan), Don Bacon (R-Nebraska), Susan Brooks (R-Indiana),Darrell Issa (R-California), Peter King (R-New York), John Faso (R-New York), Ryan Costello (R-Pennsylvania), Brian Kirkpatrick (R-Pennsylvania), Erick Paulson (R-Minnesota) and Leonard Lance (R-New Jersey).

The Republican working group in the House is reportedly close to finalizing an immigration package that would couple enforcement measures with protections for Dreamers, according to Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas). Representative Dave Brat (R-Virginia) echoed comments that the working group is close to finalizing a package and said that the House Freedom Caucus could support protections for Dreamers in exchange for certain immigration enforcement measures. These measures would include a mandatory E-Verify system to deter the hiring of undocumented immigrants, efforts to discourage so-called “chain migration,” which is a term used to describe legal family-based immigration that allows U.S. citizens to sponsor close family members to come to the U.S., and the elimination of the diversity visa program.

Meanwhile, 25 House Democrats vowed not to vote for any government-spending bill unless Congress passes the Dream Act before December 8, when Congress must pass a spending bill to continue funding the government. In addition, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on November 9 that Democrats will insist on protecting Dreamers before the end of the year, saying that she has made it clear that Congress will not leave for the holidays without the Dream Act passing. Lack of action on a solution for Dreamers could lead to a government shutdown at the end of the year if enough Democrats withhold their votes, particularly in the Senate where spending bills need at least 60 votes to advance.

DHS Terminates TPS for Nicaraguans, Hondurans Extended Six Months

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on November 6 that it will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua, giving over 2,500 status holders 14 months to leave the U.S. At the same time, DHS announced that it needs more time to gather more information on the situation in Honduras to make its final decision on the country’s TPS designation. As a result, DHS extended the status of the 57,000 Honduran TPS holders in the U.S. until May 2018. The White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly pressured Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke to end the TPS designation for Hondurans in the country. The next TPS decision DHS must make is Haiti’s designation, with an announcement deadline on November 23.

Nielsen, Nominee for Homeland Security Secretary, Testifies About Border Security and DACA

Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump’s nominee to serve as the next Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, testified during her Senate confirmation hearing on November 8 about how she would carry out President Trump’s immigration agenda. Nielsen, a cybersecurity expert, previously served as Chief of Staff to John Kelly at both DHS and the White House.

Nielsen stated during the hearing that “there is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea” and that border security would be a tailored approach that includes the use of technology along the border. Nielsen also said that she was involved in the decision-making process to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), but agreed that Congress must pass legislation to protect DACA recipients and said, “we owe it to [DACA recipients] to find a permanent solution.”

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to vote on Nielsen’s nomination next week.

Rosamaria Hernandez, 10-Year Old Girl, Released from Custody

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) on November 3 released Rosamaria Hernandez, a 10-year old undocumented girl with cerebral palsy held by U.S. authorities for nearly two weeks. Border Patrol agents took Rosamaria into custody after she passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint on her way to an emergency gallbladder surgery in a Corpus Christi, Texas hospital. The Border Patrol escorted the vehicle Rosamaria was riding in to the hospital, stayed outside her room and took her into custody shortly after the surgery. The Border Patrol designated Rosamaria an unaccompanied minor because she was traveling with her U.S. citizen cousin, not her parents, and referred her to ORR custody.  Rosamaria returned to her family after her release.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stated that Border Patrol agents prioritized her health by escorting her to the hospital and followed immigration law when they took her into custody after the surgery, but immigration experts noted that CBP is allowed to and should exercise prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis, especially when dealing with medical emergencies.

State & Local

Anti-Sanctuary Bills Move Forward in Florida, Wisconsin

The Florida House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill (H.B.) 9 on November 7, clearing the bill for a floor vote when the 2018 legislative session begins in January. H.B. 9 would penalize localities in Florida that limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement. The bill would fine local governments up to $5,000 a day for maintaining so-called sanctuary city policies that “impede a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency.” In addition, non-compliance could result in local elected officials being removed from office.

In Wisconsin, the state’s Senate Labor Committee voted 3 to 2 on November 2 in support of a bill that would prevent localities from passing, approving or taking any steps to implement “sanctuary city” policies.

Both measures are similar to Texas’ S.B. 4, which passed the state’s legislature in early 2017 and was partially blocked by a federal court.

Legal

Princeton University, Microsoft File a Lawsuit Against Trump Administration Over DACA

Princeton University, a student and Microsoft joined together to file a lawsuit on November 3 against President Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  The Princeton student bringing the challenge, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is a DACA recipient who argues that the termination of DACA harms her, other DACA recipients and the employers and educational institutions that rely on and benefit from the contributions of DACA recipients. The complaint states that Princeton will “suffer the loss of critical members of its community” and that DACA recipients “are among the most accomplished…at the university.” Microsoft notes that DACA-recipients play critical roles in its business and that the company has made significant investments in “recruiting, retaining and developing” employees who are Dreamers.” The plaintiffs allege that the government’s action to rescind DACA violated the Due Process Clause and the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint asks for a declaration that the DACA program is lawful and for an injunction that stops the administration from terminating DACA and using the information provided by Dreamers for enforcement purposes.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Border Patrol: Issues Related to Agent Deployment Strategy and Immigration Checkpoints, November 8, 2017

This report examines the Border Patrol’s defense in depth strategy, which deploys agents in Border Patrol checkpoints up to 100 miles from the border. The report found that, from fiscal years (FY) 2013 through 2016, 2 percent of apprehensions and 43 percent of seizures occurred at checkpoints. Forty percent of seizures at checkpoints were one ounce or less of marijuana from U.S. citizens.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

For Love of Country: New Americans Serving in Our Armed Forces

This report provides an overview of the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. Armed Forces, the unique challenges immigrant service members, veterans and their families face and the need to broaden the pool of eligible recruits through passing legislation that would enable Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants eligible to enlist.

Why Congress Needs to Fix DACA Before March 5

This infographic jointly released with the Niskanen Center highlights the amount of time it would take to implement new legislation to protect Dreamers and that likely over 200,000 would be subject to deportation before they could be covered by a law enacted on March 5.

Immigrants Are Indispensable to the Workforce: Agriculture Sector

This infographic highlights the importance of immigrants in the U.S. agriculture sector, including key facts about their demographics, income and contribution to the industry.

* * *

*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 cpenichetpaul@immigrationforum.org. Thank you.