BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act
This bill would amend section 214(c)(8) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the data reporting requirements relating to nonimmigrant employees. It seeks to prevent human trafficking by bringing more openness to the foreign temporary worker visa process. This is a companion bill to H.R. 4777.
Sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (1 cosponsor – 1 R)
1/11/2018 Introduced in Senate by Senator Blumenthal
1/11/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
TPS Act of 2018
This bill would end Temporary Protection Status (TPS) program, while granting permanent legal residency to qualified TPS enrollees.
Sponsored by Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) (0 cosponsors)
1/10/2018 Introduced in House by Representative Coffman
1/10/2018 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary
Securing America’s Future Act
This bill would bolster enforcement of existing immigration law, make reforms to U.S. legal immigration programs, and provide a legislative solution for the current beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) (5 cosponsors – 5 R)
1/10/2018 Introduced in House by Representative Goodlatte
1/10/2018 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary, Education and the Workforce, Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Armed Services, Oversight and Government Reform, Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Natural Resources
Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act
This bill would amend section 214(c)(8) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the data reporting requirements relating to nonimmigrant employees. It seeks to prevent human trafficking by bringing more openness to the foreign temporary worker visa process. This is a companion bill to S. 2293.
Sponsored by Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL) (5 cosponsors – 3 R, 2 D)
1/11/2018 Introduced in House by Representative Frankel
1/11/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will be in session from Tuesday, January 16, 2018 to Friday, January 19, 2018.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 10 a.m. (Senate Judiciary)
Location: Hart Senate Office Building 216
Witnesses: The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary, Department Of Homeland Security
In this hearing, committee members will discuss reauthorization of Higher Education Act, which provides American students, including immigrants, with a number of federal student aid and other programs.
Date: Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 10 a.m. (Senate HELP)
Location: 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
DHS Terminates TPS for Nearly 200,000 Salvadorians
President Trump’s administration announced termination of temporary protected status (TPS) for El Salvador. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced the decision on January 8, which also provides TPS recipients with 18 months for an orderly transition before the official end of the program on September 9, 2019. Termination of the TPS designation will affect nearly 200,000 Salvadorians, who have lived in the U.S. since 2001 after a devastating earthquake that hit their country.
After Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, the decision on El Salvador is another one in a line of TPS terminations the administration has made over the course of the past year. Immigration advocates continue their efforts to persuade Congress to provide TPS holders with ability to stay legally in the country. In the past few months, lawmakers in both the House and Senate have introduced five bills, which would provide legislative solution for the current TPS holders. The next decision on TPS status for Syria is due on January 30.
Negotiations over Legislative Solution for DACA Recipients Continue
On January 9, President Trump met with over two dozen House and Senate Democrats and Republicans to discuss a legislative solution for the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. During the meeting, which was broadcast to the public and open to members of press, Trump endorsed the passage of a “clean” bill that addressed the expiring DACA program and border security, but also indicated that he would sign any bill Congress sends him. However, the President also stated that he still insists on building a border wall and that something needs to be done about “chain migration.” Ultimately, it remains unclear what exactly the President would like to see in a legislative solution for Dreamers, or what members of both parties would find acceptable as components of that legislation. The possibility of a two-part immigration package, including a standalone DACA solution followed by a larger comprehensive immigration reform was also discussed, although Republican leadership appeared to push back against such proposal when the President indicated support for the idea.
On January 10, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) introduced a restrictive immigration bill that would allow DACA recipients to apply for legal status that would need to be renewed every three years. The bill focuses heavily on immigration enforcement and cutting legal immigration, and includes funding for a border wall, major increases in immigration enforcement agent hiring, ends the diversity visa program, restricts the ability of naturalized citizens to sponsor family members to immigrate, withholds federal funding from localities that refuse to participate in federal enforcement of immigration laws, and increases the use of the E-Verify program. The bill is unlikely to receive support from Democrats or from a significant number of Republicans.
On January 11, a bipartisan group of Senators, including Senators Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), announced that they had reached a deal that includes protection for Dreamers, border security, and legal immigration cuts. However, President Trump later rejected the group’s proposal.
At the same time immigration advocates, faith, business and other groups continue to urge Congress to find solution for the DACA recipients and other Dreamers as soon as possible. On Wednesday, January 10, a group of more than 100 CEOs representing a variety of major companies and trade organizations sent a letter to congressional leadership, asking them to pass such legislation by January 19, the deadline for legislators to agree on budget and avoid a government shutdown. Organizations such as IBM, General Motors, Facebook, Dropbox and Blackstone signed on the letter.
ICE Targets 7-Eleven Stores in Nationwide Series of Raids
On Wednesday, January 10, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents opened employment audits and interviewed workers at around 100 7-Eleven convenience stores nationwide. The action was part of a broadening of an investigation into the hiring practices of nine New York and Virginia 7-Eleven franchisees that began in 2013. Eight franchisees charged in that investigation have pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay over $2.6 million in back wages, and a ninth franchisee was arrested in November. The stores investigated on Wednesday will be required to produce evidence showing they required valid work authorization documents from employees. ICE officials indicated that such operations would be “the first of many” and that cases of failed compliance may result in administrative or criminal penalties. ICE officials also said that enforcement activity would not be limited to large companies or any particular industry and that any suspected noncompliance would be targeted. Similar actions were taken in the latter years of the Bush administration, and employer audits doubled under the Obama administration. In a statement, the company said that it “takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws.”
Quinnipiac Poll: Voters Say Dreamers Should Stay, Oppose Wall
A new Quinnipiac University Poll released on Thursday found that 79 percent of American voters said Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, should be allowed to remain in the United States and apply for citizenship. Seven percent said dreamers should be allowed to stay but not apply for citizenship, and 11 percent said Dreamers should be required to leave the country. 64 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats supported allowing Dreamers to remain and apply for citizenship. Voters opposed building a wall along the southern border 63 – 34. Republicans support building a wall 78 – 19, while white voters with no college degree were split almost evenly. All other party, gender, education, age, and racial groups opposed building a wall. Quinnipiac University Poll assistant director Tim Malloy said “Looking at immigration, voters insist emphatically, ‘Don’t dash the dream.’ Voters say that immigrants who were brought here as kids should be allowed to live out their adult lives here as citizens.”
Federal Judge Issues Injunction against DACA Termination
On Wednesday, January 20, a federal judge issued an injunction blocking the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and requiring that the administration continue to accept DACA renewal applications. The administration announced the termination of DACA in September 2017, and gave Congress until March 5 to pass a permanent solution for DACA recipients, at which point thousands will lose their protected status daily. Hundreds of DACA holders are already losing their protected status and work authorization each week. Some have argued that the court order removes pressure for Congress to secure a legislative solution for Dreamers by January 19 as part of a government funding package. However, a government funding measure that does not include a solution for Dreamers could provoke Democrats into withholding votes for the measure, putting the government at risk of a shutdown. Some immigration organizations have urged DACA recipients not to submit a renewal in the wake of the injunction due to uncertainty about the future of the program. The Trump administration plans to request a stay of the order and appeal the ruling.
There were no immigration or workforce development related government reports published in the week of Monday, January 8, 2017.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
The National Immigration Forum published following summaries of the latest bills that were introduced in Congress to address the issue of TPS holders:
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*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 email@example.com. Thank you.