Legislative Bulletin – Friday, July 26, 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. 2219

A bill to clarify the rights of all persons who are held or detained at a port of entry or at any detention facility overseen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sponsored by Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) (5 cosponsors – 5 Democrats)

07/23/2019 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Harris

07/23/2019 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 2221

A bill to prohibit the expansion of immigration detention facilities, to improve the oversight of such facilities, and for other purposes.

Sponsored by Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) (0 cosponsors)

07/23/2019 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Harris

07/23/2019 Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

S. 2224

A bill to amend section 214(c)(8) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the data reporting requirements relating to nonimmigrant employees, and for other purposes.

Sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) (1 cosponsor – 1 Republican)

07/23/2019 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Blumenthal

07/23/2019 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

S. 2256

A bill to protect children affected by immigration enforcement actions.

Sponsored by Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) (18 cosponsor – 18 Democrats)

07/24/2019 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Smith

07/24/2019 Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3239

Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act

This bill seeks to support the people of Central America and strengthen United States national security by addressing the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Sponsored by Representative Raul Ruiz (D-California) (153 cosponsors – 153 Democrats)

06/12/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Ruiz

06/12/2019 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary and on Homeland Security

04/17/2019 The Judiciary Committee advanced the bill in a 18-13 vote

07/25/2019 Motion to recommit with instructions agreed to: 239-192

07/25/2019 Passed the House in a 233-195 vote

H.R. 549

Venezuela TPS Act of 2019

This bill would allow Venezuelan nationals to become eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States.

Sponsored by Representative Darren Soto (D – Florida) (30 cosponsors – 3 Republican, 27 Democrats)

01/15/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Soto

01/15/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

05/22/2019 Passed the House Committee on the Judiciary in a 20-9 vote

07/23/2019 Failed of passage/not agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended: (2/3 required): 268-154

07/25/2019 Motion to recommit with instructions failed: 215-217

07/25/2019 Passed in House: 272-158

H.R. 3670

Short-Term Detention Standards Act

This bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to ensure access to appropriate temporary shelter, food, and water for individuals apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Sponsored by Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan) (12 cosponsors – 7 Democrats, 5 Republicans)

07/25/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Hartzler

07/25/2019 The House Committees on Homeland Security and the Judiciary

H.R. 3968

Eradicate Crossing of Illegal Tunnels Act

This bill would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive certain environmental requirements to permit U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to search for unlawful border crossing tunnels on private lands along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sponsored by Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) (0 cosponsors)

07/25/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Hartzler

07/25/2019 The House Committees on Homeland Security and the Judiciary

H.R. 3931

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2020

This bill would make appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020.

Sponsored by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) (0 cosponsors)

07/24/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Roybal-Allard

07/24/2019 The House Committee on Appropriations reported an original measure

H.R. 3855

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reform asylum procedures, and for other purposes.

This bill would increase the credible fear standard for asylum claims.

Sponsored by Representative Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

07/19/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lesko

07/19/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3856

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reform asylum procedures related to safe third countries, and for other purposes.

This bill would permit the Department of Homeland Security Secretary to designate a country to be a safe third country and remove asylum seekers this county without the need for bilateral agreements.

Sponsored by Representative Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

07/19/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lesko

07/19/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3857

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reform asylum procedures related to the filing of frivolous applications, and for other purposes.

This bill would make immigrants permanently ineligible for asylum if the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General determined that they have knowingly filed a frivolous asylum claim.

Sponsored by Representative Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

07/19/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lesko

07/19/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3858

To authorize appropriations for detention spaces for the purpose of enforcing the immigration laws, and for other purposes.

This bill would authorize funding for the amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bed space that the Secretary of Homeland Security determines necessary.

Sponsored by Representative Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

07/19/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lesko

07/19/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3859

To authorize the Attorney General to appoint 100 additional immigration judges, and for other purposes.

This bill would authorize funding for the amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bed space that the Secretary of Homeland Security determines necessary.

Sponsored by Representative Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

07/19/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lesko

07/19/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3860

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act with respect to the detention of dangerous aliens, and for other purposes.

This bill would require a DNA test to determine the familial relationship between immigrants and accompanying minors.

Sponsored by Representative Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

07/19/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lesko

07/19/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3864

End Child Trafficking Now Act

This bill would establish that a small segment of criminal immigrants may be detained for extended period, including dangerous criminals and individuals who are threats to our national security.

Sponsored by Representative Lance Gooden (R-Texas) (0 cosponsors)

07/19/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Gooden

07/19/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3881

Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the data reporting requirements relating to nonimmigrant employees.

Sponsored by Representative Lois Frankel (D-Florida) (5 cosponsors – 3 Republicans, 2 Democrats)

07/23/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Frankel

07/23/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3899

TPS Reform Act

This bill would require U.S. Congress to vote on and approve designation of a country for Temporary Protected Status and set maximum lengths for duration of the status.

Sponsored by Representative Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) (1 cosponsors – 1 Republican)

07/23/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Brooks

07/23/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3918

Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act

This bill seeks to protect the health and safety of children in immigration detention.

Sponsored by Representative Grace Meng (D-New York) (20 cosponsors – 20 Democrats)

07/23/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Meng

07/23/2019 Referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Financial Services

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, July 29, 2019.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be on recess until the week of Monday, September 9, 2019.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Unprecedented Migration at the U.S. Southern Border: What Is Required to Improve Conditions?

Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 10 a.m. (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)

Location: SD-342 Senate Dirksen Building

Witnesses:

Mark Morgan, Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Jennifer L. Costello, Acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Executive Business Meeting

This meeting will include markup of Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R – South Carolina) Secure and Protect Act of 2019, or S. 1494.

Date: Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 10 a.m. (Senate Judiciary Committee)

Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building 226

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Trump Administration Expands Expedited Removal to Deport More Unauthorized Immigrants

On July 23, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Notice in the Federal Register announcing a significant expansion of expedited removal. Under the expanded policy, most undocumented persons who cannot prove they have resided in the United States for more than two years potentially will be subject to expedited removal. The previous regulations limited eligibility for  expedited removal to unauthorized immigrants apprehended within 100 miles of the U.S. border who had been in the country for less than two weeks. The new rule, which took effect immediately, applies to immigrants anywhere in the U.S. and allows for their deportation without any due-process protections, such as the right to a hearing before an immigration judge.

Immigration experts plan to challenge the expansion in court, arguing that absence of immigration court hearings and legal representation could lead to erroneous deportations. The new guidance potentially exposes more than 328,000 additional people to expedited removal.

Trump Administration Threatens Retaliation as Guatemala and Mexico Resist Safe Third Country Agreements

The Trump administration has threatened to enact a travel ban on Guatemalan nationals as well as punitive tariffs unless its government accepts a “safe third country” agreement to accept migrants from El Salvador and Honduras. The threat followed a Guatemala’s constitutional court ruling that prevented Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales from entering into such an agreement with the U.S. Morales, who canceled a planned July 14 trip to Washington, DC and is up for reelection on August 11, criticized the constitutional court ruling for endangering bilateral relations with the U.S.

Experts questioned the legality of a retaliatory travel ban against Guatemalan nationals, noting the absence of a national security threat from Guatemalans seeking to enter the U.S. legally to engage in trade and commerce. Others have warned that the proposed penalties by the U.S. could increasing poverty rates and prompt more Guatemalans to migrate to the U.S. Noting that conditions in Guatemala resemble those in Honduras and El Salvador, experts have disputed that Guatemala can appropriately be deemed a safe third country, even through a bilateral agreement. Some of the largest numbers of migrants at the U.S. Southern border are from Guatemala.

The Trump administration’s threats against Guatemala came days after the Mexican government declared that it will not agree to its own safe third country agreement with the U.S. On July 22, Mexico’s foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard stated that Mexico will not agree to further discussions around a safe third country agreement. Ebrard, who had been engaged in talks with the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend of July 20, argued that such an agreement was unnecessary because Mexico has taken measures aimed at lowering migration at the U.S.-Mexico border, which fell from over 144,000 in May to about 100,000 at the end of June. Previously, in May, President Trump threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs against Mexico if the country did not take action to “stop” the flow of Central American migrants travelling through Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. The two officials didn’t address the June 7 deal declaring that Mexico will sign the safe third country agreement unless the U.S. establishes by July 22 that the country’s government had put enough efforts to discouraging migrants from continuing their journey towards the U.S. Southern border.

UPDATE: On July 26, the White House announced that it reached a safe third country agreement with Guatemala.

Study: Increasing Cost of Immigration Bond Adversely Impacts Crowding at ICE Facilities

An analysis by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), showed that U.S. immigration judges have increased immigration bond and issued more bonds than in the previous years. The data showed that during fiscal year 2018, 40 percent of bail bonds were set at $10,000 or more. In 2005, no immigration bond issued by exceeded $2,000.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are largely responsible for the trend, as ICE officials make the initial determination on bond amounts and on who should qualify for bond. Analysts believe that the ICE’s gradual increase of the costs could have a negative impact on crowding at the agency’s detention facilities, as fewer immigrants are able to effort the higher bonds and remain in immigration detention for longer periods of time.

U.S. House Passes Bills to Designate Venezuela for TPS, Set Humanitarian Standards for Migrants in Detention

On July 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would designate Venezuela for temporary protected status (TPS), protecting thousands of the country’s nationals currently in the U.S. from deportation. The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019, or H.R.549, passed the House in a 272-158 vote, with 39 Republicans joining all Democrats in support of the measure. TPS typically is granted by the Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security to eligible foreign-born individuals, who are unable to return home safely due to conditions or circumstances preventing their country from adequately handling the return.

In a July 11 letter, the Trump administration declined to designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Lawmakers argued that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s repressive regime prevents safe return of Venezuelan nationals.

In a 233-195 party-line vote, on July 25, Democrats in the House also passed Representative Raul Ruiz’s (D-California) Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act (H.R. 3239), which would set humanitarian standards for migrants in U.S. detention facilities. However, House Democratic leaders postponed a vote on Representative Veronica Escobar’s (D-Texas) Homeland Security Improvement Act until after August recess as House Democratic progressives and moderates had yet to reach agreement on significant reforms to border and detention policies.

Legal

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump’s Rule Limiting Asylum

On July 24, a San Francisco-based federal Judge Jon Tigar issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration’s interim final rule that would require migrants traveling to the U.S. southern border by land to apply and get denied asylum in one of the countries they pass through before seeking protections in the U.S. In his decision, Tigar stated that the measure threatened to send migrants back to danger and deny their rights under the international law. The ruling followed an earlier decision on July 24 from D.C.-based federal Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who let the rule remain in effect, ruling that the plaintiff organizations in that separate lawsuit could not demonstrate standing and therefore could not prove they would be harmed by the rule.

The Trump administration is expected to appeal Judge Tigar’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, while immigration advocates may appeal the D.C. decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Tigar’s order prevents enforcement of the policy nationwide while the legal issues are pending in the courts.

The Trump administration’s interim final rule, which came into effect immediately after being published in the Federal Register on July 16, effectively ended asylum for Central Americans arriving at the U.S. Southern border.

Appeals Court Rules Asylum Seekers Have Right to Bond Hearings

On July 22, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling blocking a Trump administration policy preventing certain migrants from receiving bond hearings, leading them to be detained indefinitely while waiting for decisions in their asylum cases. U.S. attorney general William Barr issued the policy, which makes release on bond unavailable to some asylum seekers who establish a “credible fear of persecution or torture” in their home countries, in April. A lower court in Seattle blocked the measure on July 2, ruling that migrants must be granted a bond hearing within a week of submitting a request or be released if a hearing is not scheduled within that timeframe.

While upholding the key portion of the lower court’s ruling requiring the right to bond hearings as the cases continues, the Ninth Circuit did not uphold the order requiring the government to release asylum-seekers within seven days. The Ninth Circuit determined that the order compelling release after seven days would impose hardship on the government and the immigration system overall. Arguments in the case are expected to be scheduled for October, after which the Ninth Circuit will issue a final ruling on the merits of the case.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

There were no immigration-related government reports published during the week of July 22, 2019.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Push or Pull Factors: What Drives Central American Migrants to the U.S.?

This paper examines the debate about whether migrants from the Northern Triangle countries in Central America come primarily because of the “pull” factors to the U.S. or because of the “push” factors motivating them to leave their countries of origin. It finds that more research about migrants’ reasons for leaving their home countries is needed, and concludes that migrants from the Northern Triangle countries will continue to arrive at the U.S. border until socioeconomic and security issues in their home countries are adequately addressed.

Expanded Expedited Removal

This is a summary and short discussion of the Trump administration’s new expanded expedited removal guidance.

Bill Summary: Venezuela TPS Act

This is a summary of Reps. Darren Soto’s (D-Florida) and Mario Diaz-Balart’s (R-Florida) Venezuela TPS Act of 2019, or H.R.549, which would designate Venezuela for temporary protected status (TPS), allowing certain Venezuelan nationals to stay in the U.S., regardless of their current immigration status.

* * *

*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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