Legislative Bulletin — Friday, July 1, 2022

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. 4428

Taiwan Policy Act of 2022

The bill, among other provisions, would forbid the issuance of visas to the highest-ranking members of the Chinese government if China were to escalate hostile actions against Taiwan.

Sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) (1 cosponsor— 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

06/16/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Menendez

06/16/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

H.R. 8021

Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act of 2022

The bill would allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to state, local, and tribal governments to assist immigrants authorized to work in the United States to become nurses or health professionals. Grants provided under the bill would be used to pay for immigrants to receive education or training and to obtain licenses or certifications.

Sponsored by Representative Adam Smith (D-Washington) (1 cosponsor— 1 Democrat, 0 Republicans)

06/09/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Smith

06/09/2022 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

H.R. 8022

International Medical Graduates Assistance Act of 2022

The bill would allow the HHS to award grants to States to assist international medical graduates while such graduates are completing steps 1 and 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

Sponsored by Representative Adam Smith (D-Washington) (1 cosponsor— 1 Democrat, 0 Republicans)

06/09/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Smith

06/09/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means

H.R. 8143

Lone Star Reimbursement Act

The bill would require the federal government to reimburse $1,434,094,366 to the State of Texas for the costs of Operation Lone Star incurred in fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

Sponsored by Representative Pat Fallon (R-Texas) (11 cosponsors— 11 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

06/17/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Fallon

06/17/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Armed Services and the Judiciary

H.R. 8230

Border’s Unused Idle and Lying Dormant Inventory Transfer Act (BUILD IT Act)

The bill would require the federal government to transfer to any state, upon request, any unused material associated with the construction of barriers along the Southwest border. This is a companion bill of S. 4294.

Sponsored by Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) (8 cosponsors— 8 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

06/24/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Miller-Meeks

06/24/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Homeland Security, and Armed Services

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will not be in session the week of Monday, July 4, 2022.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

There are no hearings scheduled for the week of Monday, July 4, 2022.

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Legal

Supreme Court Rules That Biden Administration Can End MPP

On June 30, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Biden administration can lawfully end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. The case, Biden v. Texas, revolved around whether the Biden administration may end MPP under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Texas and Missouri — the states challenging the administration’s efforts to end the policy — argued that the Biden administration is statutorily required to use MPP as long as it does not have the capacity to detain all arriving migrants.

The Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration, ruling that the government is not required to implement MPP and the policy can be lawfully ended. Additionally, the Supreme Court noted that the judiciary should not “impose a significant burden on the Executive’s ability to conduct diplomatic negotiations,” as would have been the case here if MPP — and bilateral negotiations with Mexico over its implementation — were required by the court.

The case was sent back to the lower courts, where the administration’s attempts to end MPP may face additional procedural challenges.

MPP, which the Trump administration implemented in 2019, forced more than 70,000 non-Mexican nationals arriving by land from Mexico to await for the results of their removal proceedings in Mexico. The Biden administration stopped enrollment in MPP in June 2021. However, on August 13, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the termination of MPP violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Hence, in compliance with court orders, the Biden administration resumed the implementation of MPP on December 6. On December 29, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to consider its arguments to end MPP after the Fifth Circuit rejected its appeal on December 14.

Fifth Circuit Court to Hear Oral Arguments in DACA Case on July 6

On July 6, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Texas v. USA, a case concerning the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protections for certain young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

The case stems from a July 16, 2021, ruling from District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in which he held that DACA was unlawful, granted a permanent injunction vacating the original 2012 DACA memorandum, and prevented USCIS from approving new DACA applications. Hanen made two arguments in his ruling, reasoning first that DACA failed to follow formal notice and comment rulemaking processes under the Administrative Procedures Act, and second that DACA is inconsistent with statutory immigration law set forth under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

However, noting the reliance interest of current DACA recipients, Hanen temporarily stayed the injunction for those who had DACA protections at the time of the ruling, allowing them to continue to receive and renew protections.

In addition to appealing the decision to the Fifth Circuit, DHS has also proceeded with rulemaking to formalize DACA an effort to satisfy the APA-related procedural objections raised by Hanen. The proposed rule to preserve DACA was published in the Federal Register in September 2021. Public comments on the proposed rule closed in November 2021, with DHS receiving 15,931 comments and submissions during the period. Under the APA, the federal government is required to review every comment and submission before issuing a final rule. It is anticipated that a final rule may be published in the summer of 2022.

Federal

53 Migrants Found Dead in Trailer Truck in Texas

On June 27, dozens of migrants, including many children, were found inside an abandoned semi-truck near San Antonio, Texas. At least 53 of the migrants ost their lives due to heat-related conditions and lack of access to water. Sixteen other victims, including four children, survived the tragic incident. Homeland Security Investigation (HIS) officials said that “the death count was the highest ever from a smuggling incident in the United States.”

The tragedy comes amid an increase in migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) documented a record 728 deaths on the border. Hundreds more deaths have already been recorded in 2022. Advocates have argued that restrictive policies like Title 42 expulsions and the closure of ports of entry to asylum seekers have pushed migrants to use smugglers to cross in increasingly dangerous conditions.

On June 29, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated that he hoped the tragedy in San Antonio would spur ongoing bipartisan conversations on immigration reform in Washington. “I think what happened at the border….is what I would call a ‘Uvalde moment’,” he said.

Biden Administration Extends Humanitarian Parole Eligibility

According to a July 1 CBS News report, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has broadened the eligibility criteria for certain individuals applying for humanitarian parole. Parole will now be available to those who can prove to be members of a “targeted group” that has faced “widespread, systematic, or pervasive” attacks. Previously, applicants were required to submit evidence that demonstrated they had been specifically targeted for persecution or serious harm.

While the new guidance notes that the third-party evidence of individual targeting “still remains the preferred evidence,” evidence of belonging to a targeted group accompanied by country reports demonstrating the targeting of that group is now considered solid evidence to grant humanitarian parole.

According to the report, the new guidance could benefit thousands of Afghans who face Taliban persecution. Between July 2021 and June 2022, 93% of humanitarian parole applications by Afghans had been denied due to a failure to show they were at risk of “severe targeted or individualized harm” or “imminent return to a country where the beneficiary would be harmed.” However, the majority of thousands of humanitarian parole applications made by Afghans following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban remain unadjudicated.

6,600 People Become U.S. Citizens amid Independence Day Celebrations 

Amid Independence Day festivities between July 1 and 8, more than 6,600 people across the country are slated to become U.S. citizens in 140 ceremonies. Thirty of those naturalization ceremonies will be Independence Day-themed and will take place in various notable locations, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The United States welcomed 855,000 new U.S. citizens in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, and the country has already welcomed 661,500 new U.S. citizens in FY 2022.

Biden Administration Extends Grant of DED for Liberians

On June 27, President Biden extended the grant of Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) for Liberians. The two-year extension will allow nationals from Liberia residing in the United States under a grant of DED as of June 30, 2022, to stay and work temporarily in the country. Due to a 2019 law, Liberians who have been present in the U.S. since 2014 are eligible to receive permanent status. However, as the application process to adjust to permanent status has been difficult to file for some eligible Liberians, the administration has extended DED protections for the group while continuing to encourage adjustments.

DED is a temporary, discretionary, administrative stay of removal granted to immigrants from a few designated countries. Unlike TPS, a DED designation emanates from the President’s constitutional powers to conduct foreign relations and has no statutory basis.

Biden Administration Announces Expansion of Citizenship and Integration Grant Program

On June 27, the Biden Administration announced the open application period for the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, which provides funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country. The program will provide up to $20 million in grants. The grants are open to organizations that work to prepare immigrants for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics. During the announcement, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas highlighted that the grants will allow organizations “to reach more communities and ensure noncitizens have access to the tools and resources needed for citizenship education.”

Nominations & Personnel

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez Withdraws His Nomination to Lead ICE

On June 26, Ed Gonzalez — Sheriff of Harris County, Texas — withdrew his nomination to serve as the next director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sheriff Gonzalez expressed through Twitter that he decided to withdraw his nomination after “prayerfully considering what’s best for our nation, my family, and the people of Harris County who elected me to serve a second term as Sheriff.” Sheriff Gonzalez was first nominated in April 2021, but his nomination never made it to the Senate floor. There has not been a Senate-confirmed director of ICE since the Obama administration. Gonzalez will return to his role as Sheriff of Harris County.

State & Local

New York’s Supreme Court Judge Strikes Down NYC Noncitizen Voting Bill

On June 27, a New York State Supreme Court judge struck down a law that would have allowed noncitizens to vote in municipal elections in New York City.  The measure would have allowed more than 800,000 immigrants with work authorization to vote in the city’s municipal elections and for local ballot initiatives. Judge Ralph Porzio ruled that the measure violated the State Constitution, arguing “there is no statutory ability for the City of New York to issue inconsistent laws permitting non-citizens to vote and exceed the authority granted to it by the New York State Constitution.” Judge Porzio wrote in his ruling that a referendum would be required to give noncitizens voting rights. Proponents of the law plan to appeal the ruling and highlighted that although the State Constitution stipulates that citizens can vote, it does not explicitly exclude noncitizens from voting. The New York “Supreme Court” is actually a statewide trial court, and the ruling could face numerous appeals before reaching the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court.

When the measure was passed by the City Council in December 2021, New York City became the largest city in the country to grant noncitizens the right to vote.  After the legislation passed, the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit in the Staten Island Supreme Court in January, challenging the constitutionality of the law.

North Carolina’s House of Representatives Passes Bill that Requires Local Authorities to Cooperate with ICE

On June 30, North Carolina’s House of Representatives passed along party lines a bill that would require jails to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if local authorities charge people with a felony and cannot determine their immigration status. The bill — S.B. 101, also known as “Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0.” — originated in the State Senate and passed the chamber in 2021. However, due to changes in the House of Representatives, the bill needs to go back to the Senate for approval. A similar bill passed in 2019, but Governor Roy Cooper (D-North Carolina) vetoed it.

The bill was motivated after some sheriffs in North Carolina counties ended cooperation agreements with ICE and became ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions. Sanctuary jurisdictions are those that limit state and local officials’ involvement in federal immigration enforcement functions. Some immigration advocates and law enforcement officials have argued that requiring local law enforcement to conduct federal immigration enforcement functions can undermine public trust in local law enforcement and make communities less safe.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

Congressional Research Service (CRS); “U.S. Employment-Based Immigration Services“; June 22, 2022.

This CRS report provides an overview of the employment-based immigration system in the United States. It highlights that each year, the U.S. grants lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, or green cards, to about 140,000 foreign workers and their family members. The report points out that these employment-based (EB) immigrants are part of a broader permanent immigration system established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that grants LPR status to roughly 1 million foreign nationals annually. Employment-based immigrants acquire LPR status through one of five preference categories: EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4, and EB5.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Explainer: The Migrant Protection Protocols

This explainer describes the history and elements of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly known as the Remain-in-Mexico program. Under MPP, certain migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border were returned to Mexico after making an asylum claim in the U.S. and expected to wait near the border for the duration of their immigration proceedings.

42 Border Solutions That Aren’t Title 42

This resource provides 42 sustainable, effective border solutions that are not Tile 42. The 42 solutions are broken up into three categories — border processes, root causes, and border security.

The Current State of DACA: Challenges Await in Litigation and Rulemaking

This explainer describes the current state of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, discussing the ongoing attempts to scale back or end the program in the courts and the current administration’s attempts to preserve the program.

* * *

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

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