Legislative Bulletin – Friday, November 3, 2017
Policy and Advocacy Associate
November 3, 2017
BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Border Enforcement Security Task Force Reauthorization Act of 2017
This bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to reauthorize the Border Enforcement Security Task Force program within the Department of Homeland Security.
Sponsored by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) (2 cosponsors)
05/22/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
07/26/2017 Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Ordered to be reported with amendments favorably
10/30/2017 Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Reported by Senator Johnson with amendments. With written report No. 115-179
10/30/2017 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 254
Extending Status Protection for Eligible Refugees (ESPERER) Act
This bill would allow qualified migrants that arrived to the United States and received TPS protection prior to January 13, 2011 to adjust their status to legal permanent resident status.
Sponsored by Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida) (3 cosponsors)
10/31/2017 Introduced in House
10/31/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reinstate the returning worker exemption for H-2B visas.
Sponsored by Representative Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) (1 cosponsor)
11/01/2017 Introduced in House
11/01/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, November 6, 2017 through Thursday, November 9, 2017.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
Date: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 10AM (Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs)
Location: SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building
This meeting will include nomination of Kirstjen M. Nielsen to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Date: Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 10:30AM (Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs)
Location: SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
President Trump, Senate Republicans Oppose Attaching Dreamer Bill to Spending Bill
President Trump reportedly told Senate Republicans in a meeting on November 2 not to attach a legislative measure to protect Dreamers from deportation to a must-pass government spending bill in December. At the invitation of President Trump, about half a dozen Senate Republicans met at the White House to discuss progress on a potential legislative solution for Dreamers. Senator Cornyn (R-Texas) said that President Trump stressed during the meeting that the government spending bill, which Congress must pass by December 8 to continue funding the government, should not address the status of Dreamers. Cornyn also said that Congress likely will not address the issue until January or February. Speaker Paul Ryan previously told some House Republicans on October 24 that he believed DACA provisions would be part of the spending deal, although he later denied it.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), who attended the White House meeting, maintained that there was also an agreement with President Trump that a solution for Dreamers must also include an end to so-called chain migration, a policy that allows mostly U.S. citizens to sponsor visas for family member, such as spouses, parents and unmarried minor children. Cotton also said the package should include enhanced border security, funding for more immigration judges and mandate employment verification of immigration status. However, he cautioned that the package should not be comprehensive because it might collapse.
Democrats responded to news reports of the White House meeting by emphasizing the need to find a legislative solution for Dreamers before the end of the year. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) wrote in a tweet that Senate Democrats will do everything possible to pass the Dream Act before the end of the year. Some Senate and House Democrats vowed not to support the must-pass spending bill in December unless Congress passes a measure to protect Dreamers, which could lead to a government shutdown at end of the year if enough Democrats vote against the spending bill, particularly in the Senate where it needs at least 60 votes to advance.
Trump Calls for End of Diversity Visa Lottery After NY Attack
After the terrorist attack by an Uzbek immigrant who came to the United States through the diversity visa lottery, President Trump announced his desire to terminate the program. The attacker, who killed eight and injured twelve people on Tuesday, October 31, came to the US in 2010 and was reportedly radicalized afterwards.
In reaction to the attack, President Trump criticized Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York), who as a Congressman, introduced the House bill in 1990 that eventually created the diversity visa program. Senator Flake quickly pointed out that Senator Schumer was also part of a 2013 bipartisan effort to overhaul immigration reform, which would have eliminated the program and increased merit-based visas. Although the bill passed the Senate, it was never considered in the House.
The President has called for quick action and has given his support to a Republican-led effort that would end the program, however the proposal has yet to gain momentum. In order to eliminate the almost three-decade old program, the President will need Congress’s support.
Immigration Advocates Pressure Trump Administration as TPS Decision Looms
On Wednesday, November 1, leaders of the faith community sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), urging DHS to extend temporary protected status (TPS) for Honduras, Haiti, and El Salvador. A report from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center estimates that ending TPS for the three countries would result in a $45.2 billion reduction in GDP over a decade and cause a $6.9 billion reduction in Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade. Immigrant rights advocates, businesses, unions and faith groups are working to raise awareness to this issue.
Last weekend, Haitian TPS holders in South Florida rallied in front of the local immigration office, asking the Trump administration to renew their legal status for 18 months. The DHS Secretary must make a determination on Haiti’s TPS renewal by November, 22. The Secretary’s decision on TPS for Honduras and Nicaragua is expected by next week. The three programs are set to expire in January, stripping over 300,000 immigrants of their ability to live and work in the U.S.
TPS provides legal status to immigrants who are unable to return to their country of origin due to natural disasters or war. Although the status was intended to be temporary, both the Bush and Obama Administrations renewed them out of concern that the countries of origin were unable to handle the return of so many people.
Local & State
Ohio Capital Creates Fund to Support Immigrants Facing Deportation
Ohio’s capital city decided to set aside money to assist immigrants facing deportation. Columbus City Council voted to create the Columbus Families Together Fund, which will provide $185,000, to prevent separation of families with one or more members living in the U.S. without proper immigration status. Over the next three years, the funding will be distributed to three local organizations providing legal services within the Ohio’s immigrant and refugee community. The money will come primarily from the Public Safety sub-fund that is meant to support public safety initiatives, and a contribution from a New York-based nonprofit.
NYC to Ban Police Cooperation with ICE
Committee on Immigration under the New York City Council agreed unanimously to pass a bill that would prohibit local law enforcement offices from cooperating with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. The legislation would limit federal agents’ ability to use city resources to detain unauthorized immigrants. The full council is expected to vote in favor of the bill.
Civil Liberties Group Sues over Detention of 10 -Year Old Girl with Cerebral Palsy
On Tuesday, October 31, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in San Antonio’s Federal court, asking for release of Rosa Maria Hernandez, a ten year old immigrant girl with cerebral palsy detained after surgery.
Federal immigration agents followed the ambulance Rosa Maria was riding in after passing through a Border Patrol checkpoint on the way to the hospital. Border patrol agents took the young child into custody last week shortly after her emergency gallbladder surgery because she was not accompanied by her parents, but rather an adult cousin.
The ACLU is seeking to reunite Rosa Maria with her family, arguing that keeping a child who is entirely depending her mother and needs constant support, is a violation of federal law and puts her health at risk.
There were no immigration or workforce related government reports published during the week of Monday, October 30, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.