Legislative Bulletin – Friday, October 14, 2016
Policy and Advocacy Associate
October 14, 2016
BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
There were no immigration or workforce related bills introduced or considered for the last two weeks leading up to Friday, October 14, 2016.
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will be in recess until the week of November 14, 2016.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
There are no hearings or markups scheduled for the two weeks that end on Friday, October 28, 2016.
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Steps Down
After 34 months in office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced he will step down from his position effective October 28, 2016. The current Under Secretary for Management, Russ Deyo, is expected to serve as Acting Deputy Secretary upon Mayorkas’s departure.
Number of Immigrant in Detention Reaches Record-High, DHS Faces Funding Crunch
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on October 12 that the number of individuals held in immigration detention facilities will exceed 42,000 by the end of October, a record-high for the agency. Back in March 2016, ICE expected to maintain an average daily population of about 31,000 people, which would have represented a decline from prior years. Immigration detention advocates expressed concern over the developments and called on the Obama administration to eliminate unnecessary detention and end the detention of asylum seekers.
This unexpected increase in the detained population has led DHS to suffer a $136 million budget shortfall, with funding for detaining and monitoring immigrants likely to run out by mid-November. DHS officials plan to ask the White House for funds to enable them to continue to detain and monitor individuals. Without funding, DHS says it will be forced to release newly-apprehended undocumented immigrants.
DHS Temporarily Suspends Deportations of Haitians
U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it will temporarily suspend deportations of Haitians with final removal orders to Haiti. This announcement comes after Hurricane Matthew ravaged the Caribbean nation earlier this month, killing at least a thousand people and leaving 1.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Previously, in September, DHS had announced it would end protections in place for Haitians following a devastating 2010 earthquake.
On October 12, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand sent a joint letter to DHS and the State Department asking that they grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians already in the United States. TPS would allow Haitians to remain and work legally in the United States on a temporary basis.
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition for Rehearing in U.S. v. Texas Case
On October 3, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Obama administration’s petition for rehearing in U.S. v. Texas, addressing the legality of Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+). At the end of June, the eight-member Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4, leaving in place the lower court’s injunction which halted DAPA and DACA+.
Rehearing of the case could have provided resolution to the legality of President Obama’s executive actions, which had the potential to grant protection from deportation and work authorization to about five million people.
Federal District Court Rules that Immigration Detainers Are Unlawful
On October 3, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers violate the federal government’s limited authority to make warrantless arrests under federal immigration law. The court left unanswered the question of whether detainers violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as the plaintiffs claimed. The decision invalidates thousands of detainers issued from ICE’s Chicago Field Office.
With the decision, ICE officers in Chicago will now need to seek warrants if ICE wishes to prolong the detention of an immigrant detainee in police custody for immigration purposes.
Federal Appellate Court Upholds Injunction against Gov. Pence’s Order to Bar Funding for Syrian Refugees from Indiana
On October 4, the 7th United States Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s order enjoining Indiana Gov. Mike Pence from preventing state agencies from aiding in the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana. The three-judge panel ruled that Pence violated a federal statute barring discrimination on the basis of nationality when allocating federal funds under the Refugee Act.
Pence sought to bar state agencies from providing federal funds to groups that help resettle Syrian refugees in Indiana. Pence was one of a number of governors nationwide who sought to prevent Syrian refugee resettlement in their states following last November’s terror attacks in Paris.
State & Local
Federal Prosecutors Pursue Charges against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
On October 11, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will move forward with criminal-contempt charges against Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The charges stem from a 2007 case in which Sheriff Arpaio was accused of discriminatory policing practices against Latinos. In 2011, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow had issued an order halting such practices, but Sheriff Arpaio and his deputies defied the order for more than a year. Sheriff Arpaio has admitted to civil contempt but argues that his actions were neither “willful nor intentional.”
Federal prosecutors are asking for no more than a six month sentence for Sheriff Arpaio due to his age and health concerns. Sheriff Arpaio is currently running for re-election in Maricopa County.
New Louisiana Law Prevents Some Immigrants from Obtaining Marriage Licenses
A recently-implemented Louisiana law requires immigrants to show a valid visa and birth certificate in order to obtain a marriage license. This new law, which took effect in January, prevents undocumented immigrants who do not have valid visas from legally marrying within the state. Some legal immigrants who lack the specific documents required under the law, including refugees who never received a birth certificate or are unable to retrieve one from their countries of origin, have also been affected. Critics have called the law “cruel” and “anti-immigrant.”
Workforce & Skills
Department of Education Introduces Its Newcomer Tool Kit
The U.S. Department of Education recently introduced its Newcomer Tool Kit designed to help educators welcome and support immigrants and refugees to their schools. The tool kit offers tools, strategies, and examples of classroom and schoolwide practices to help newcomers attain English language proficiency (if needed) and to meet college- and career-readiness standards. It includes chapter-specific professional learning activities for use in staff meetings or professional learning communities and additional resources, most of which are available online at no cost.
Congressional Research Service: U.S. Invokes Visa Sanctions under Section 243(d) of the INA for the First Time in 15 Years (Legal Sidebar), October 5, 2016
This CRS Legal Sidebar provides an overview of recent visa sanctions that U.S. recently invoked against Gambia for failing to accept the return of deported Gambian citizens and nationals. The report explains that the case represents the first time in 15 years that the U.S. government has invoked Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which provides the authority for the U.S. to discontinue granting visas to countries that refuse to accept the return of citizens or nationals ordered deported. Under the provision, the U.S. government has stopped granting visas to employees of the Gambian government and related entities.
* * *
*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.