The Week Ahead: Nov. 6-10
November 6, 2017
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I have seen how strong Houston can be in the midst of devastation. Dreamers and other immigrants living in Houston only make us stronger. For the sake of the city, let’s welcome them so that their, and our, future is brighter.”
—Chief Art Acevedo, Houston Police Department, Nov. 4
Bipartisan Concerns Grow over Potential Delay to Dreamer Legislation
Following calls from some Senate Republicans to postpone immigration legislation until early 2018, a growing number of congressional Republicans and Democrats are pushing back, arguing that delaying a solution leaves Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in unnecessary limbo.
Emphasizing the urgency of a solution for DACA recipients, a group of Republicans including Reps. Jeff Denham (R-California) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) have called for a permanent solution for Dreamers before the end of the year. Meanwhile, Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (D-California), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) have pledged to reject an omnibus spending bill if legislation addressing Dreamers has not passed.
While other issues compete for Congress’s attention, the clock is ticking ahead of the March 5 deadline for a solution for DACA recipients. Estimates indicate that about 1,000 young people’s deferred action would expire each day thereafter.
Temporary Protected Status Decisions for Honduras, Nicaragua Expected Today
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to decide whether to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to immigrants from Honduras and Nicaragua today. A final decision on TPS for Haitians also may be announced.
Last Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke recommending the termination of the program for Central American and Haitian recipients, claiming that the conditions in these countries no longer necessitate protection from deportation. However, persistent problems raise concerns about the ability of those affected to return to their home countries.
In addition, many TPS recipients have become important parts of their American communities. The loss of employment authorization would seriously affect several key industries in Texas and Florida, where recipients’ vital role in local economies includes the recovery efforts following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Law Enforcement, Military Leaders to Highlight Value of Dreamers
This week local law enforcement and military leaders and immigrant advocates will highlight the public safety and national security benefits of Dreamers in communities nationwide.
On Tuesday, Veterans for New Americans and the National Immigration Forum will release a paper titled “For Love of Country: New Americans Serving in Our Armed Forces.” A related press call will include veterans, a deferred action recipient who joined the military, and an immigration policy expert. On Wednesday, speakers including Rep. Jeff Denham (R-California) will convene for a Capitol Hill briefing event that is open to press.
At each event, speakers will talk about the opportunities for the military to improve its force readiness; the challenges immigrant military members, veterans and their families face; and possible policy solutions.
Confirmation Hearing for Homeland Security Nominee Scheduled for Wednesday
The Senate Homeland Security Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Kirstjen Nielsen, the president’s nominee for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary, Wednesday.
Nielsen, who served as current White House chief of staff John Kelly’s chief of staff during his time as DHS secretary, will face questions on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the role of DHS more broadly in immigration enforcement, her views on the TPS program, and the growing backlog in processing visa and naturalization applications.
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
HOUSTON CHRONICLE (Acevedo Op-Ed): Police chief supports legal path to U.S. for Dreamers
By Art Acevedo
Nov. 4, 2017
In the days after Hurricane Harvey, “Houston Strong” became a slogan capturing our city’s grit and solidarity. Amid the loss of lives and homes, Houstonians stepped up to shelter neighbors, businesses donated millions of dollars for rebuilding efforts, and police officers saved hundreds of lives, risking their own in the process. We are still recovering, but we remain strong.
As the police chief of Houston, I couldn’t be prouder of the people I serve as we recover from one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. I also know how much work remains. That’s why I strongly support immigration solutions that allow Dreamers – the hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the U.S. as children-to remain in the country. These immigrants have played and will continue to play a crucial role in rebuilding our city.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (Noorani Op-Ed): The smart way to counter terrorism vs. Trump’s way: Lessons in the wake of the ISIS-inspired attack in Manhattan
By Ali Noorani
Nov. 1, 2017
New York is the heart of the American experiment, the symbol of our country’s boundless energy, rich diversity, and limitless potential. When an act of terror such as the heinous attack we witnessed Tuesday is carried out here, the world watches closely to see how we’ll respond.
We can either set a positive example through an approach that keeps us secure without undermining our values; or we can respond with misguided rhetoric and ill-conceived policies that diminish our standing on the global stage.
It starts with security — smart security.
First of all, we should increase resources to counter violent extremism and treat terrorist and hate groups as the predators they are. Building trust with communities at risk of seeing their young people become radicalized, including but not limited to Muslim communities, allows law enforcement and security officials to stop the spread of this evil.
THE DAILY BEAST: The Diversity Visa Winner Who Saved New York From a Terror Attack
By Christopher Dickey
Nov. 2, 2017
An Egyptian Muslim just-arrived in the United States on a Diversity Visa—precisely the type that Donald Trump is trying to blame for the bike-path murders on Halloween in Lower Manhattan—in fact stopped a terrorist atrocity that would have been much, much worse in 1997 on the New York City subway.
In counterterror circles, it’s a well-known case. Sam Katz wrote a superbly reported book about it in 2005, Jihad in Brooklyn: The NYPD Raid That Stopped America’s First Suicide Bombers, and I dealt with it extensively in my 2009 book, Securing the City: Inside America’s Best Counter-Terror Force, the NYPD. Indeed, I even appeared on Hannity in May 2009 to talk about the case. But if Donald Trump was watching back then, it seems he’s forgotten.
AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN (Hammond Op-Ed): Commentary: Why Dreamers deserve swift action
By Bill Hammond
Oct. 31, 2017
The numbers aren’t in our favor when it comes to workforce needs — here in Texas and nationally. And the tack the administration is taking on immigration policy in Washington is certain to make a bad situation worse.
Workforce needs and immigration are closely tied together — and if we aren’t smart about the policies we enact in D.C. and Texas, we’re going to find ourselves struggling to keep pace with demands for a wide-range of skilled labor.
For more than 40 years, I’ve focused on workforce, education and competitiveness issues here in Texas — as a state lawmaker, as chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission under Gov. George W. Bush and more recently as CEO of the Texas Association of Business. Everywhere I went, I heard a common plea among employers: “We need trained workers — and we need trainable workers.”