Legislative Bulletin – Friday, September 18, 2015

Assistant Director for Immigration Policy and Advocacy

September 18, 2015

Bills Introduced and Considered

H.R. 3543

Justice Is Not For Sale Act

This bill would end government contracts for privately run prisons and jails within the next three years. The bill also includes several provisions intended to dramatically reduce the number of immigrants who are held in detention facilities while awaiting court hearings on their legal status and would end family detention. S. 2054 is the companion bill in the Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) (19 cosponsors)

9/17/2015 Introduced in House by Rep. Grijalva

9/17/2015 Referred to House Judiciary, Financial Services, Energy and Commerce, and Homeland Security

H.R. 3370

EB-JOBS Act of 2015

This bill would permanently authorize the EB-5 Regional Center program, create a new green card category for entrepreneurs establishing new start-up businesses, reform TEA provisions to incentivize additional investment in rural areas and areas with high unemployment, and provide for additional reforms and oversight.

Sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) (1 cosponsor)

7/29/2015 Introduced in the House by Rep. Lofgren

9/8/2015 Referred to House Judiciary, House Education and Workforce, and House Rules.

H.R. 3201

The New Americans Success Act of 2015

This bill would support the integration of immigrants to the U.S. by offering grant funding to assist Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) with the naturalization process and to improve access to English-language and civics programs.

Sponsored by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) (1 cosponsor)

7/23/2015 Introduced in the House by Rep. Cárdenas

7/23/2015 Referred to House Judiciary and House Education and Workforce

9/8/2015 Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security

S. 2054

Justice Is Not For Sale Act

This bill would end government contracts for privately run prisons and jails within the next three years. The bill also includes several provisions intended to dramatically reduce the number of immigrants who are held in detention facilities while awaiting court hearings on their legal status and would end family detention. H.R. 3543 is the companion bill in the House.

Sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)

9/17/2015 Introduced in Senate by Sen. Sanders

S. 1814

Stop Sanctuary Cities Act

This bill would withhold certain federal funding from sanctuary cities.

Sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) (4 cosponsors)

7/21/2015 Introduced in Senate by Sen. Vitter

S. 1501

American Job Creation and Investment Promotion Reform Act of 2015

This bill would reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center program for five years and provide an overhaul of reforms to improve the program’s integrity.

Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) (1 cosponsor)

6/3/2015 Introduced in Senate by Sen. Leahy

6/3/2015 Referred to Senate Judiciary

Nominations and Confirmations

There were no significant developments on nominations or confirmations this week.

Legislative Floor Calendar

The U.S. House of Representatives is in recess the week of Monday, September 21.

The U.S. Senate is in session the week of Monday, September 21, with the exception of Wednesday, September 23 (Yom Kippur).

Upcoming Hearings and Markups

S. 1814, Stop Sanctuary Cities Act

Date: TBD (postponed from 9/17(Senate Judiciary Committee)

Location: TBD

Themes in Washington This Week

Immigration at Forefront in GOP Primary Debate

Republican presidential primary contenders debated on September 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. As in the first GOP primary debate, immigration policy was a flashpoint in the CNN-hosted debate.

Jeh Johnson Criticizes Non-Cooperation in Immigration Enforcement

Speaking in San Francisco on September 15, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson sharply criticized jurisdictions that decline to cooperate with federal immigration officials. Singling out San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests for notification of impending releases of undocumented people with criminal convictions, Johnson said, “It is counterproductive to public safety to have this level of resistance to working with our immigration enforcement personnel.” He added that he believed it was “not acceptable” for a jurisdiction “to have no policy of cooperation with immigration enforcement. We’re all interested in getting criminals off the streets.”

San Francisco’s policy has faced criticism since the July killing of Kate Steinle on Pier 14. An undocumented immigrant with multiple felony convictions was charged with killing Steinle after being released by municipal officials.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) called Johnson’s remarks “hypocritical,” accusing the Obama Administration of encouraging states and localities to adopt so-called sanctuary policies.

Pope Francis to Visit U.S., Address Congress

Pope Francis’s U.S. visit begins on September 22 with a visit to Washington, D.C. There, on September 24, the pontiff will address a joint session of Congress, where is he widely expected to celebrate the contributions of Hispanics and highlight the need for U.S. government action on immigration and refugee issues.

Later in the week, the Pope will travel to New York City, where he will meet with the United Nations General Assembly, before moving on to Philadelphia.

U.S. Commemorates Citizenship Day, Announces Citizenship Grants

To commemorate Citizenship Day on September 17, the White House announced an initiative to encourage the nation’s 8.8 legal residents to apply for U.S. citizenship. The effort is geared toward making it easier for legal residents to complete the citizenship process, and includes citizenship workshops and civics exam preparation resources.

Also in celebration of Citizenship Day, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is welcoming 36,000 new citizens by conducting over 200 naturalization ceremonies across the United States between September 17 and September 23. USCIS also announced the award of nearly $10 million in grants to 40 organizations to help permanent residents prepare and apply for U.S. citizenship.

Public Comment Periods Under Way for Implementation of Key WIOA Provisions

The Departments of Labor and Education seek public comments on the WIOA Performance Information Collection Request (ICR); the comment period closes on September 21, 2015. A copy of the proposed ICR with applicable supporting documentation may be accessed here by selecting Docket ID number ETA-2015-0007. This is the opportunity to officially provide comment and input on the data that will be collected for the WIOA Performance Management, Information, and Reporting System, which will fulfill requirements in Section 116(d)(1) of WIOA.

The Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development seek comments concerning the collection of data that will be used for the WIOA Unified and Combined State Plans, which will articulate the state’s vision for an integrated workforce system that meets the needs of jobseekers and employers. The comment period ends on October 5, 2015.  A copy of the proposed ICR with applicable supporting documentation may be accessed here by selecting Docket ID number ETA-2015-0006. Technical assistance materials are available here. This ICR would implement sections 102 and 103 of WIOA.

Kauffman Foundation Makes Economic Case for Welcoming Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Released on September 8, 2015, the Kauffman Foundation released a policy brief that provided data on immigrant entrepreneurs and discussed the estimated economic impact of “startup visas.”  This visa strategy would enable qualifying immigrants to start businesses and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Government Reports

U.S. Civil Rights Commission: With Liberty and Justice for All: The State of Civil Rights at Immigration Detention Facilities (September 17, 2015)

This Statutory Enforcement Report by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission provides a comprehensive examination of the treatment of detained immigrants in immigration holding, processing, and detention centers throughout the U.S. Through the report, the Commission issued a series of recommendations on overhauling immigration detention policy, including calling for an end to family detention and increasing reliance on alternatives to detention (and moving away from immigration detention, generally). The report also examined the various constitutional issues arising from the U.S. immigration detention system, concluding that the federal government’s treatment of detained immigrants often interferes with the constitutional rights of detained immigrants.

Congressional Research Service: Syrian Refugee Admissions to the United States, CRS Insight, Andorra Bruno (September 10, 2015)

This brief report gives an overview of the United States’ current and proposed admissions plans for Syrian refugees. It also provides a brief summary of the refugee admissions process and refugee resettlement services in the United States.

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, William L. Painter et al. (September 8, 2015)

This Congressional Research Service report provides an overview of the FY2016 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its components. The Obama Administration requested $6,222 million for three key DHS components — the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or $267 million more than was provided in FY 2015. Senate-reported S. 1969 would provide $6,291 million in net discretionary budget authority to the components, while House-reported H.R. 3128 would provide only $6,122 million.

* * *

*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Larry Benenson, National Immigration Forum Policy and Advocacy Associate, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Larry can be reached at lbenenson@immigrationforum.org.  Thank you.