Legislative Bulletin – Friday, January 11, 2019

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
GOVERNMENT REPORTS
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED

S. ___

This bill would preserve the two-year renewal interval for individuals currently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and provide $25 billion in border security spending. It does not provide Dreamers an opportunity to earn citizenship in the future.

Sponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R – Ohio) (1 cosponsor – 1 Republican)

1/11/2019 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Portman

H.R. 21

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019

This bill would fund all agencies affected by government shutdown through Sept. 30, with the exception of the Homeland Security Department (DHS), which would be funded through H.J.Res.1 through February 8, 2019.

Sponsored by Representative Nita Lowey (D – New York) (0 cosponsors)

1/3/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lowey

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations

1/3/2019 Passed the House in a 241-190 vote (Roll no. 11). (text: CR H32-155)

1/8/2019 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar

H.R. 32

Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act of 2019

This bill would allow the Secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the United States and Mexico.

Sponsored by Representative Warren Davidson (R – Ohio) (17 cosponsors – 17 Republicans)

1/3/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Davidson

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means

H.R. 98

Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act

This bill seeks to prohibit gang members from entering the U.S., allows for their deportation if they are already in the U.S, and disqualify them from receiving asylum or temporary protected status.

Sponsored by Representative Vern Buchanan (R – Florida) (0 cosponsors)

1/3/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Buchanan

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 140

To amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.

This bill seeks to statutorily end birthright citizenship eligibility, stating that only children of one or more citizen parents, lawful permanent residents, or U.S. military service members shall be considered “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States and eligible for birthright citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Sponsored by Representative Steve King (R – Iowa) (25 cosponsors – 25 Republicans)

1/3/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative King

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 147

Visa Overstay Enforcement Act

This bill seeks to introduce mechanisms tracking immigrants who overstayed their visas.

Sponsored by Representative Jeff Duncan (R – South Carolina) (9 cosponsors – 9 Republicans)

1/3/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Duncan

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 250

Legal Workforce Act

This bill would make it mandatory for U.S. employers to check the work eligibility of all their future hires through the E-Verify system.

Sponsored by Representative Ken Calvert (R – California) (18 cosponsors – 18 Republicans)

1/4/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Calvert

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary, Ways and Means and Education and Labor

H.R. 438

Help Ensure Legal Detainers (HELD) Act

This bill would deny federal funding to any state or political subdivision that has in effect any law, policy, or procedure that prevents or impedes a State or local law enforcement official from maintaining custody of an alien pursuant to an immigration detainer issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Sponsored by Representative Ken Calvert (R – California) (2 cosponsors – 2 Republicans)

1/10/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Calvert

1/10/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 440

Eminent Domain Just Compensation Act (EDJCA)

This bill seeks to ensure fair compensation of private property owners if the federal government takes their land for border security or enforcement activities.

Sponsored by Representative Justin Amash (R – Michigan) (0 cosponsors)

1/10/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Amash

1/10/2019 Referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Homeland Security

H.R. 479

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the diversity immigrant program.

This bill seeks to eliminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program , which makes up to 50,000 green cards available through a lottery administered by the Department of State.

Sponsored by Representative Bill Posey (R – Florida) (0 cosponsors)

1/10/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Posey

1/10/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 481

Asylum Protection Act of 2019

This bill would require that asylum seekers begin the process at the time of arrival at a port of entry, rather than requiring they apply within the one year after arrival as under current law.

Sponsored by Representative Francis Rooney  (R – Florida) (0 cosponsors)

1/10/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Rooney

1/10/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.Res. 18

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should redirect and target foreign assistance provided to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in a manner that addresses the driving causes of illegal immigration into the United States from such countries.

This resolution expresses the need for the U.S. to address push factors such as gang violence, poverty, and corruption that drive certain nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to leave their homes and cross the U.S. border without authorization.

Sponsored by Representative Michael C. Burgess (R – Texas) (0 cosponsors)

1/4/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Burgess

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

H.J. Res. 1

Making further continuing appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2019.

This bill would fund the Homeland Security Department (DHS) through February 8, 2019.

Sponsored by Representative Nita Lowey (D – New York) (0 cosponsors)

1/3/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lowey

1/3/2019 Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations

1/3/2019 Passed the House in a 239-192 vote (Roll no. 9). (text: CR H190)

1/8/2019 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate is in session the week of Monday, January 14, 2019.

The U.S. House of Representatives is in session from Monday, January 14, 2019 to Thursday, January 18, 2019.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Nomination of the Honorable William Pelham Barr to be Attorney General of the United States

Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. (Senate Judiciary)

Location: 216 Hart Senate Office Building

Witnesses:   

Former U.S. Attorney General William Pelham Barr

Others TBD

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Government Shutdown Approaches Record Length; Trump Considering Declaring Emergency to Build Wall without Congress

With Congress leaving for the weekend on January 11 without reaching an agreement with President Trump to fund the government, the ongoing partial government shutdown will be the longest in history. Since President Trump’s announced that he will not sign a spending bill that does not include $5 billion for border wall construction after the Senate’s unanimous passage of a spending bill without wall funding on December 19, the administration has repeatedly failed to strike a bargain with congressional Democrats to provide such funding.

Trump gave a nationwide Oval Office address to argue for the need for a wall on January 8, receiving extensive fact checking from a number of news sources, and visited the Southern border in McAllen, Texas on January 10, receiving a mixed response. Polls show that less than half of American voters believe there is a crisis at the border and over 50 percent blame the President for the partial government shutdown. At the same time, several representatives from border districts, including Republicans, have expressed opposition to a border wall, claiming that their regions won’t benefit from the border wall.

On January 10, 2019, President Donald Trump returned from his, Claiming there is a “crisis” at the border, Trump has signaled that he is strongly considering declare a national emergency in order to get funding for his border wall without the consent of Congress. While such a move to circumvent Congress would be unprecedented and would face a certain challenge in the courts from House Democrats and advocates, it would likely lead to an end of the shutdown.

In making an emergency declaration, the White House is reportedly looking to shift disaster aid from places like Puerto Rico, Texas and California, which were recently stricken by storms and fires, to build the wall, causing the impacted areas to express deep concern.

In the meantime, lawmakers are struggling to reach a deal that would satisfy President Trump, Congressional Democrats and Senate Republicans to reopen the government. On January 9, Trump walked out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders, after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) reiterated her opposition to funding a border wall. On the same day, Senator Graham and a group of Republicans offered Senate Democrats a proposal that would provide temporary protections for Dreamers in exchange for border wall funding . However, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said Democrats won’t accept a deal that only provides short-term protection for Dreamers and Republicans have declined to offer a permanent Dreamer solution as part of the deal, leading Graham to acknowledge that the talks are “stuck.”

House Democrats have passed a number of spending bills to reopen the federal government without wall money, proposals that have received a smattering of Republican support, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has declined to hold votes on any proposals that President Trump will not sign. Vice President Mike Pence reportedly said to Republican Senators earlier that the President will not end the government shutdown without a solution that would allow him to build the wall. A handful of Senate Republicans have called for an end to the shutdown, urging that the government reopen as negotiations over border security continue.

The shutdown has taken a toll on public safety, as more than 400,000 federal employees, including Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and others, are forced to work without pay during the closure. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may also soon run out of money to pay its contractors, who help with the agency’s immigration law enforcement activities. Federal employee unions have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration in response to its employees having to work without pay. A group of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents also stressed that the shutdown puts national security at risk with thousands of the agency’s officers growing anxious without pay and ongoing investigations slowing down due to furlough of support staff. On January 10, the Senate passed a bill to pay the federal employees affected by the shutdown that the President reportedly agreed to sign.

Report: Twenty-Two Immigrants Have Died in ICE Detention During the Trump Administration  

A new NBC News report revealed that 22 immigrants have died in the custody of ICE during the Trump administration.

This report follows two high-profile deaths of immigrant children under the age of 10 in CBP custody (who deaths outside of ICE custody are not counted among the 22), prompting tough questioning of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a recent congressional hearing. In response, Nielsen stated that U.S. immigration authorities have “some of the highest standards in the world.”

Since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed in 2003, there have been a total of 188 deaths of ICE detainees. The NBC News report follows  three recent  reports issued by the DHS Office of Inspector General detailing poor conditions and oversight in ICE detention facilities.

Legal

Trial over Census Citizenship Question Begins in California

On January 7, a U.S. district court in California heard arguments in a lawsuit over the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Lawyers from several California cities, including Los Angeles and San Jose, argue that adding the query will result in an undercount of the state’s population, leading to cuts in federal funding for schools, infrastructure, and other priorities, and diminish California’s representation in Congress.

The first day of the trial featured expert testimony from Professor Colm O’Muircheartaigh, of the University of Chicago, who explained that inclusion of the question is likely to discourage immigrants from participating in the survey. The Trump administration argues that addition of the question followed Justice Department’s recommendations on the government’s efforts against voting discrimination, although that explanation has been contradicted by documentation showing Ross was the first to suggest inclusion of the question.

In October 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the plaintiffs from deposing Ross. The Supreme Court will hear arguments over the narrow issue of Ross providing testimony in February.

California is one of many cities and states suing the administration over the census citizenship question. First ruling is expected from a judge in New York, following a trial that ended in November.

Trial Begins on Haiti TPS Termination

On January 7, the trial over the Trump administration’s decision to terminate temporary protected status (TPS) for Haiti began in a New York federal court. A group of Haitian New York residents filed the lawsuit in March 2018, arguing that the administration ended the program improperly. The plaintiffs presented evidence, including emails from DHS officials acknowledging the political nature of the termination decision, indicating that DHS knew that country conditions prevented affected TPS holders from returning safely. U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz is likely to rule on the case in March.

The New York lawsuit focuses exclusively on TPS for Haiti and is one of seven filed by immigrants and advocates in reaction to the administration’s TPS terminations impacting individuals from several countries with TPS designations. In October 2018, a federal court judge in California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration from terminating TPS for over 250,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan. In accordance with the ruling, DHS must maintain TPS and employment authorization for TPS beneficiaries from the impacted countries while the lawsuit moves forward.

Federal Court Issues Temporary Injunction to Protect Cambodians from Unannounced Raids and Deportations

On January 3, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney of Los Angeles issued a temporary injunction  prohibiting ICE from conducting unannounced raids on Cambodian nationals and requiring federal authorities to provide written notice 14 days in advance of before detaining those with a deportation order. Over 1,800 individuals are impacted by this ruling, many of whom fled Cambodia as refugee children to escape the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and have been living in the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. Deportations of Cambodians nearly tripled between 2017 and 2018, many of whom received deportation orders years ago after a criminal conviction, but continued to show up for immigration appointments. Until recently, Cambodia regular refused to issue travel documents and accept deportations in these instances.

Due to the government shutdown, the Justice Department has yet to respond to the order, missing Judge Carney’s January 10 deadline to response, as a result of the partial government shutdown. A hearing has been scheduled for January 28 in Los Angeles to determine whether the deadline will be extended.

State & Local

NYC Mayor De Blasio Pledges to Improve Access to Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants

On January 8, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio pledged to improve access to medical treatment for the 600,000 residents that lack health insurance, including undocumented immigrants, who make up half of the uninsured population. New York City will spend $100 million to improve customer service, hire additional practitioners, provide a dedicated membership card to municipal hospitals, and assign participants to a primary-care doctor.

Advocates note that while undocumented city residents can access New York City emergency rooms, this form of care is expensive and inefficient when compared to providing improved access to non-emergency room health care access. The rollout of the program — which does not require state approval — will begin this summer in the Bronx, where the need is the greatest, and will take two years to fully implement.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

There were no immigration-related government reports published during the week of Monday, January 7, 2019.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Fact Sheet: U.S. Asylum Process

This fact sheet provides background on asylum and the U.S. asylum process.

Border Security Along the Southwest Border: Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides an overview of border security resources and migration trends along America’s Southwest border.

Noorani Op-Ed: A deal to end shutdown is within reach

This op-ed by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, argues that a bipartisan deal to end the shutdown is within the reach of Congress. Such a deal would pair smart border security with solutions for the more than 1 million immigrants protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who could soon lose their legal status.

Forget about a border wall – Trump and Congress should agree on these immigration policies that work

This opinion piece by Jacinta Ma, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Immigration Forum, calls for a bipartisan deal on border security that would advance America’s security and economic interests.

 

* * *

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

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