BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
The bill would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take into custody certain immigrants who have been charged in the United States with a crime that resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of another person. This is a companion bill of H.R. 661.
Sponsored by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) (11 cosponsors— 11 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
01/31/2023 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Ernst
01/31/2023 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Pandemic is Over Act
The bill would terminate the public health emergency declared with respect to Covid–19. The end of the public health emergency is also likely to result in the end of the use of Title 42 expulsions at the border.
Sponsored by Representative Brett Guthrie (R-Kentucky) (44 cosponsors— 44 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
01/17/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Guthrie
01/17/2023 Referred to the House Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
01/31/2023 Passed the House of Representatives by a 220-210 vote.
Protect Communities from a Porous Border Act of 2023
The bill would provide for mandatory detention of undocumented immigrants who appear in domestic and international criminal databases. It would also require the federal government to notify governors before releasing undocumented immigrants into their states. The bill would also provide governors with the ultimate authority to reject undocumented immigrants from being released into their states.
Sponsored by Representative Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) (0 cosponsors)
01/20/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Arrington
01/20/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
To provide that the notice titled “Designating Aliens for Expedited Removal” shall be given the full force and effect of law
Sponsored by Representative Jefferson Van Drew (R-New Jersey) (0 cosponsors)
01/24/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Van Drew
01/24/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
No Tax Dollars for the United Nation’s Immigration Invasion Act
The bill would prohibit the U.S. government from funding the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Sponsored by Representative Lance Gooden (R-Texas) (13 cosponsors— 13 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
01/26/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Gooden
01/26/2023 Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Border Construction Materials Transfer Act of 2022
The bill would require the federal government to transfer to the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, without reimbursement, any unused material associated with the construction of barriers along the Southwest border.
Sponsored by Representative James Baird (R-Indiana) (4 cosponsors— 4 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
01/27/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Baird
01/27/2023 Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security
To amend the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 to authorize certain polygraph waiver authority
Sponsored by Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) (4 cosponsors— 4 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
01/27/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Crenshaw
01/27/2023 Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security
To amend the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2005 to provide for the inclusion of certain workers in the exemption from numerical limitations on H-2B workers
Sponsored by Representative Robert Wittman (R-Virginia) (o cosponsors)
01/27/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Wittman
01/27/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Access to Counsel Act
The bill would ensure that U.S. citizens, green card holders, and other individuals with legal status are able to consult with an attorney, relative, or other interested parties to seek assistance if they are detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for more than an hour at ports of entry, including airports.
Sponsored by Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) (42 cosponsors— 42 Democrats, 0 Republicans)
01/31/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Jayapal
01/31/2023 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Border Security Investment Act
The bill would place a 37% transaction fee on remittance transfers to the top five nations of origin for undocumented immigration in the United States.
Sponsored by Representative Nathaniel Moran (R-Texas) (12 cosponsors— 12 Republicans, 0 Democrats)
02/01/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Moran
02/01/2023 Referred to the House Committees on Financial Services and Homeland Security
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Visa Disclosure Act
The bill would require F, J, or M student visa-holders and their families to disclose to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whether they have received funds from the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), or any entity owned or controlled by either the PRC or the CCP.
Sponsored by Representative Gregory Steube (R-Florida) (1 cosponsor— 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)
01/31/2023 Introduced in the House by Representative Steube
01/31/2023 Referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate will be in session from Tuesday, February 7, through Friday, February 10, 2023.
The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, February 6, through Thursday, February 9, 2023.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
Date: Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at 10:00 am E.T. (House Committee on Oversight and Accountability)
Location: 2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
Gloria Chavez, Chief Patrol Agent, Rio Grande Valley Sector U.S. Customs and Border Protection
John Modlin, Chief Patrol Agent, Tucson Sector, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Date: Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at 9:00 pm E.T.
Location: House Chamber, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
Report: January Border Encounters Decline as Homeland Security Secretary Touts Parole Program
On February 1, CBS News reported that encounters of migrants along the Southwest border have fallen dramatically in January after the Biden administration implemented a series of border policy initiatives on January 5. The report noted that U.S. Border Patrol recorded approximately 130,000 encounters along the border in the month of January, an approximate 41% drop from the 221,181 USBP encounters in December.
On January 30, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas argued that the recently-announced parole program that allows up to 30,000 Haitians, Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans per month to come to the United States is in part responsible for the reduced border encounters. He noted that CBP encounters with individuals from the countries impacted by the program have declined by 97%. He also questioned the legal challenge from 20 Republican-led states against the program. “Why these states would oppose an enforcement program that is proving successful is beyond my comprehension,” Mayorkas said.
President Biden announced the parole program in early January as a safer, more orderly alternative for people fleeing instability and violence in the hemisphere to come to the United States. The parole initiative allows prospective migrants with financial sponsors in the U.S. to apply for and receive two-year grants of parole, which offer entry into the U.S. (via air travel), protection from deportation, and access to work authorization. . As of January 27, over 7,500 migrants had been approved to come to the U.S. under the newly expanded program.
The parole program was implemented alongside an expansion of Title 42 expulsions of migrants from the countries listed and a series of additional border policy intiatives.
In the lawsuit, the 20 states led by Texas argue that the parole program was issued in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, alleging the administration “unlawfully failed to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking.” It also argued that the program “is not for urgent humanitarian reasons and advances no significant public benefit” as required by law. The U.S. has used humanitarian parole to welcome groups of vulnerable migrants for decades. No similar lawsuits were filed when the Biden administration utilized similar authorities to provide parole protections to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing About the Biden Administration’s Policies at the Border
On February 1, the 118th Congress held its first of what promise to be many committee hearings on security and migration at the US-Mexico border as the House’s Republican majority advances a doubtful narrative connecting the fentanyl crisis stateside to migrants and asylum seekers at the nation’s southwest boundary.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) used his first hearing as chairman of the influential House Judiciary Committee to decry what he and his Republican colleagues dubbed “The Biden Border Crisis — Part One.” Witnesses included Brandon Dunn, who recently lost his 15-year-old son Noah to fentanyl overdose; Mark Dannels, sheriff of Arizona’s Cochise County; and Ricardo Samaniego, county judge for El Paso, Texas.
A fourth witness, Terrell County Judge Dale Lynn Carruthers, was ultimately unable to appear, waylaid by a deadly ice storm in Texas.
Dunn gave powerful testimony about the devastating and too often lethal consequences of fentanyl for young Americans while emphasizing that “it’s a border issue, it’s not an immigration issue.” According to Cato Institute, that’s what the data indicate as well — overwhelmingly, fentanyl is being smuggled into the US by Americans for Americans at legal crossings instead of between ports of entry.
During the hearing, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pennsylvania) warned her colleagues on the dais against any attempts to “conflate the issues of migrants seeking legal asylum through our legal processes with the very real scourge of fentanyl trafficking.”
“By falsely suggesting that migrant families seeking asylum are the source of the fentanyl epidemic, we can’t even start to craft policy measures that could actually address either of these issues,” Scanlon said.
Meanwhile, some committee members — especially on the Democratic side — called for bipartisan cooperation to create more orderly legal processes for forcibly displaced people and immigrants. Rep. Deborah Ross (D-North Carolina) emphasized the need to support migrant farmworkers who bolster our agricultural industry, high-tech professionals struggling with visa issues, and documented Dreamers who came to the US legally with their parents yet still face deportation once they turn 21 years old.
“It really is incumbent on all of us to work together to solve this problem,” Ross said.
Biden Administration to Lift Covid-19 Health Emergency, Spelling Likely End of Title 42 Expulsions
On January 30, the White House announced that it would terminate the Covid-19 public health emergency on May 11, three years after it was first declared in 2020. Among the most notable effects of ending the state of emergency would be the termination of Title 42, a pandemic-era order that has been used to rapidly expel arriving migrants to Mexico or their countries of origin without providing them the opportunity to seek asylum.
The use of Title 42 at the border has and continues to be predicated on the public health emergency. In Statement of Administrative Policy, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wrote that “the end of the public health emergency will end the Title 42 policy at the border…immediately.” The administration has been preparing for the end of Title 42 since at least April 1, 2022, but the policy has thus far been kept in place by various court orders.
On January 31, one day after the White House announcement, the House of Representatives passed a Republican-led bill, the Pandemic is Over Act, to end the Covid-19 public health emergency immediately instead of waiting until May. The White House expressed opposition to the bill arguing that an abrupt end to the emergency orders would “create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system.” The bill is now under consideration in the Senate, where Democrats have a majority, and it is not expected to pass.
USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for Additional Returning Workers for First Half of FY 2023
On January 31, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it had received enough petitions to fill the 18,216 supplemental H-2B visas for returning workers that had been added to the existing ceiling for the first half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.
In the announcement, USCIS encouraged employers still in need of labor to file for workers from the Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as that supplemental allocation has not yet been reached. The agency said that out of the 20,000 visas set aside for nationals of these countries, USCIS has only received 4,260 petitions.
The H-2B visa program is used by a wide range of U.S. employers who have temporary work needs, including those in the landscaping, forestry, tourism, hospitality, food processing, and construction industries. In order to be approved by the Department of Labor, prospective H-2B employers must prove that no U.S. workers are available to take the job, and they must offer wages comparable to what U.S. workers might be paid.
H-1B Registration Period for FY 2024 Will Open on March 1
On January 27, USCIS announced that the initial H-1B registration period for Fiscal Year 2024 will open at 12:00 pm ET on March 1 and will run through 12:00 pm ET on March 17, 2023. During this period, prospective petitioners must submit their registrations using USCIS’s online H-1B registration system. The agency said that if it receives more than the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap as well as the additional 20,000 H-1B visas reserved for graduates with advanced degrees, the agency will select the registrations randomly. Applications generally exceed the number available H-1B visas within days. For FY 2022, USCIS received a record-high 308,613 applications.
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for specialty jobs that require a bachelor’s degree in a wide variety of fields.
Nine GOP-Led States File Motion to End DACA
On January 31, Texas, joined by eight other GOP-led states, filed a motion in federal court asking U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to strike down the Biden administration’s 2021 rule fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and to end DACA protections entirely over a two-year phase-out period. Specifically, the states requested that the federal government not approve any new DACA applications and not approve any DACA renewal applications beginning in two years.
DACA was created by the Obama administration in 2012 and allows undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children to apply for deferred action, protecting them from removal and affording them work authorization. DACA applicants are required to pass background checks and prove that they arrived in the U.S. as minors under sixteen years of age before June 2007. Over 600,000 individuals currently benefit from DACA. However, DACA does not provide recipients with a path to permanent legalization. Due to legal challenges and various administrative actions by the Trump administration, few new applicants have been able to have their DACA applications approved since 2017.
This litigation began in 2018, but was largely on hold as the Supreme Court considered a separate lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA in 2017. While the Supreme Court ultimately allowed DACA to survive in that case, this Texas-led litigation resumed, addressing a separate issue concerning whether DACA itself was unlawful.
On July 16, 2021, Judge Hanen ruled that DACA was unlawful, but stayed the impact of the decision on current recipients, including allowing DHS to continue processing renewal applications. The Biden administration subsequently appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Biden administration also engaged in notice-and-comment rulemaking and issued a final rule to address procedural concerns raised by Hanen and fortify DACA in October 2022.
Shortly after the final rule was issued, the Fifth Circuit upheld Judge Hanen’s ruling that the Obama-era 2012 DACA policy was unlawful, but remanded the issue of the legality of the new DACA rule to Judge Hanen. The Fifth Circuit also continued to stay the impact of the decision for current DACA recipients, allowing recipients to keep and renew their protections for the time being.
The Texas motion argues that the final rule is unlawful because it is essentially the same policy promulgated by the Obama administration in 2012, which has already been ruled to be unlawful. Texas and the plaintiff states have requested that Hanen issue a permanent injunction halting the new DACA rule and phasing it out over the next two years. A decision by Judge Hanen is expected in April, with subsequent appeals expected.
State & Local
Operation Lone Star in Texas Has Cost $4.4 Billion in Almost Two Years
A January 26 Houston Chronicle report highlighted that Texas’ controversial Operation Lone Star (OLS) has cost $4.4 billion over the first two years. OLS is an immigration and border enforcement strategy that Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) launched in March 2021 that utilizes state resources to attempt to deter and restrict arriving migrants. In addition, with the new legislative session underway in Texas, Republican lawmakers tentatively earmarked more than $4.6 billion for border security in the state over the next two years.
Since its inception, OLS has run into multiple legal challenges as border management and enforcement fall chiefly within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Federal government. According to the most recent data, as part of OLS, Governor Abbott has spearheaded the busing of over 16,000 migrants to Washington, D.C. (9,000 people), New York City (4,900 people), Chicago (1,500 people), and Philadelphia (600 people) since last April. In addition, several sources have reported the presence of over 500 Texas National Guard Troops along the banks of the Rio Grande using concertina wire to attempt to block the path of migrants attempting to reach El Paso, Texas.
Congressional Research Service (CRS); Immigration-Related Criminal Offenses; January 31, 2023
This CRS report provides an overview of immigration-related crimes, which comprise a significant portion of the federal criminal caseload, accounting for 29.6% of all cases in Fiscal Year 2021. Immigration-related crimes generally cover three categories of conduct: (1) improper entry and reentry; (2) smuggling, transporting, and harboring immigrants; and (3) immigration-related fraud.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center for Countering Human Trafficking; FY 2022 Annual Report; January 31, 2022
This DHS report provides an overview of the accomplishments and advancements made in 2022 towards countering human trafficking in the United States. The report highlights that in FY 2022 DHS assisted 765 human trafficking victims, granted immigration protections to more than 22,500 victims and their families, and made 3,655 trafficking-related arrests.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); FY 2023-2026 Strategic Plan; January 27, 2022
This USCIS report provides a roadmap of the agency’s strategies and priorities through 2026.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
This explainer describes the various elements of the border plan announced and implemented by the Biden administration on January 5. It also discusses concerns associated with the plan and some of the plan’s initial impacts over the last couple weeks.
This recently-updated explainer provides information about the Title 42 border policy and its impact on the border.
This explainer describes the elements and history of private sponsorship initiatives for refugees. It also describes the success cases of the Canadian and Australian private sponsorship models.
* * *
*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Arturo Castellanos-Canales, National Immigration Forum Senior Policy and Advocacy Associate, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Arturo can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.