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Legislative Bulletin – Friday, July 27, 2018

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. 3263

A Bill to limit the separation of families at or near ports of entry, to provide access to counsel for unaccompanied alien children, and to improve immigration detention, and for other purposes.

Sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin (D – Illinois) (0 cosponsors)

07/25/2018 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Durbin

07/25/2018 Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. ___

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2019

This bill provides $51.4 billion in funds for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for fiscal year (FY) 2019, including $5 billion for physical barriers along the Southern border, $4.1 billion for detention and removal programs, including 44,000 detention beds, and $78 million to hire over 400 additional U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

Sponsored by Representative Kevin Yoder (R – Kansas) (o cosponsors)

07/19/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Yoder

07/19/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations

07/25/2018 Considered and passed in the House Committee on Appropriations by a 29 to 22 vote

H.R. 2353

Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

This bill would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act), which is the primary federal funding source for high school, college and university CTE programs that are critical for preparing youth and adults, including immigrants, for jobs in local and regional economies.

Sponsored by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pennsylvania) (40 cosponsors – 29 Republicans, 11 Democrats)

05/04/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Thompson

06/07/2017 Reported by the Committee on Education and the Workforce

06/22/2017 Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

07/23/2018 Discharged by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions by unanimous consent

07/23/2018 Passed the Senate with an amendment by a voice vote

07/25/2018 Agreed by the House of Representative to the Senate amendment by a voice vote

07/26/2018 Presented to President Trump

H.R. 6525

Higher Education Dream Act

This bill would prohibit discrimination in higher education against students receiving deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Sponsored by Representative John Lewis (D – Georgia) (3 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 3 Democrats)

07/25/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Lewis

07/25/2018 Referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce and on Judiciary

H.R. 6527

A Bill to provide access to counsel for children and other vulnerable populations.

Sponsored by Representative Donald McEachin (D – Virginia) (42 cosponsor – 0 Republican, 42 Democrats)

07/25/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative McEachin

07/25/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 6536

A Bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for an H-2C nonimmigrant classification, and for other purposes.

Sponsored by Representative Lloyd Smucker (R – Pennsylvania) (1 cosponsors – 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

07/25/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Smucker

07/25/2018 Referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Oversight and Government Reform

H.R. 6543

Aim Higher Act

The bill seeks to make higher education more accessible and affordable to all students, including immigrants, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented.

Sponsored by Representative Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) (16 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 16 Democrats)

07/26/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Scott

07/26/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

H.R. 6580

A Bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for expedited naturalization processes for the alien spouses of first responders who die as a result of their employment, and for other purposes.

Sponsored by Representative Don Bacon (R – Nebraska) (0 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

07/26/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Bacon

07/26/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 6594

Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn Infant Toddler and Other Children Expeditiously (REUNITE) Act

This bill would require the immediate reunification of families separated at or near ports of entry.

Sponsored by Representative Adriano Espaillat (D – New York) (33 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 33 Democrats

07/26/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Espaillat

07/26/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, July 30, 2018.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in recess until Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts

Date: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (Senate Committee on the Judiciary)

Location: 216 Hart Senate Office Building

Witnesses:

Carla L. Provost, Acting Chief, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Matthew Albence, Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Commander Jonathan D. White, Ph.D., LCSW-C, CPH, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Federal Health Coordinating Official for the 2018 UAC Reunification Effort

James R. McHenry, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), Department of Justice

Jennifer Higgins, Associate Director, Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Trump Administration Fails to Meet Court Deadline to Reunite All Separated Children

The Trump administration stated on July 26 that it has reunited more than 1,800 children five years and older with their parents or sponsors, failing to meet the court-ordered July 26 deadline to reunite all 2,551 children five years and older separated at the border. The administration has yet to reunite 711 children, including 431 children whose parents were already deported.

The administration said it reunited a total of 1,820 children five years and older, including 1,442 children with parents in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and 378 who were released under “other circumstances.” The administration said that 120 parents declined to be reunited with their children and another 67 had “red flags” for criminal history or other reasons during the review. Judge Dana Sabraw, who issued the June 26 preliminary injunction halting family separations and requiring the Trump administration to reunite families that had already been separated, may now have to decide how to address the hundreds of still separated children, including those whose parents have been deported. Efforts to reunite the 431 children whose parents were already deported poses significant legal and logistical complications.

The passage of the July 26 deadline follows a report that the government may have deported as many as 350 parents without giving them the option to take their children with them, a figure that represents more than three-quarters of the 463 parents separated at the border who have been deported. The Trump administration failed in most cases to document consent to leave the children behind, despite a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) practice to certify an “election form” indicating whether a parent consents to removal without a child. Other parents claim that they unknowingly signed away their reunification rights because they thought they were signing paperwork that would allow them to reunite with their children. Previously, on July 19, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that “all of these adults who left without their kids left based on a decision to leave their children” and “the parents always have a choice to take the children with them.”

Meanwhile, bipartisan conversations in the Senate to find a long-term solution to prevent family separations at the border reached an impasse. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said the bipartisan group of four Senators only had “three meetings in five weeks” and received no responses to requests for more information from the Trump administration.

House Appropriations Committee Passes Homeland Security Spending Bill; Adopts Amendments on Family Separation, DACA

On July 25, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending bill by a party-line 29 to 22 vote. The bill provides $51.4 billion in funds for DHS, a $3.7 billion increase over 2018 levels. It includes $5 billion for physical barriers along the Southern border, $4.1 billion for detention and removal programs, including 44,000 immigration detention beds, and $78 million to hire over 400 additional U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) law enforcement officers.

Before the final vote, the House Appropriations Committee debated and passed several key bipartisan amendments to the bill.  The committee adopted, by voice vote, an amendment by Rep. David Price (D – North Carolina) that would effectively prevent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from funding the implementation of Matter of A-B-, an immigration opinion issued by attorney general Jeff Sessions which would essentially foreclose domestic violence and gang violence as being considered to be valid grounds for an asylum claim.

The committee also adopted bipartisan amendments by voice vote to prohibit the use of funds to remove noncitizens who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and to bar the deportation of DACA recipients who are veterans or active duty service members in the military. In addition, the committee adopted an amendment by voice vote that would reinstate the Family Case Management program, an effective alternative to detention ended by the Trump administration in 2017, and increase funding for health services for individuals in DHS custody. Finally, the committee added amendments restoring a two-year “look back” for the H-2B seasonal guest worker visa program, changing the H-2A visa program from seasonal to year-round and revoking the country cap on high-skilled workers under the H-1B visa program.

The bill now heads to the House Rules Committee, though the House is expected to be in recess until September.

Trump Administration Ended TPS Despite State Department’s Warning

According to recent reports, the Trump administration decided to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua despite warnings from the State Department in October that those decisions could undermine efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking and gang violence. The warnings came from experts at the State Department and were attached to an October 31, 2017 letter from then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke. In the letter, Tillerson warned that ending TPS could have negative repercussions, but nevertheless recommended ending TPS designations, but warned of grave consequences.

An in-depth analysis from State Department experts attached to the letter noted that ending TPS could compromise national security by driving up “illegal immigration” and compromising cooperation to combat gang-violence and MS-13, since the affected countries could retaliate in response to a loss of TPS status. The warnings in the attachment also note that “lack of legitimate employment opportunities is likely to push more repatriated TPS holders, or their children, into the gangs or other illicit employment.” The analysis noted that “many of the deportees would be accompanied by their U.S.-born children, many of whom would be vulnerable to recruitment from gangs.”

The Trump administration has ended TPS designation for almost 300,000 individuals from six countries, providing the TPS recipients an average of 18 months to leave the U.S.

DOJ Instructs U.S. Attorneys to Use the Term “Illegal Alien”

The  Department of Justice (DOJ) has instructed U.S. attorneys offices to uniformly use the term “illegal alien,” not “undocumented immigrant,” as the official terminology when referring to unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. DOJ stated in an agency-wide e-mail that the term “undocumented immigrant” is not in the U.S. Code and therefore should not be used. The department also argued that uniform terminology will “clear up” any confusion in referencing undocumented immigrants.

The term “illegal alien” is subject to ongoing debate and sometimes interpreted as dehumanizing immigrants.

Citizenship Question in Census Originally Sought by Commerce Secretary Ross, not DOJ

Documents released by the Department of Commerce on July 23 revealed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross initiated a discussion about the addition of a U.S. citizenship question to the 2020 census, seemingly in tension with Ross’s congressional testimony that DOJ initiated the request to add the question.

In March of 2018, Ross testified before Congress that DOJ had “initiated the request” to add the census question and that the census citizenship data would help enforce the Voting Rights Act. According to the chronology set out in the documents, Ross initiated the discussion of the citizenship question before DOJ made any requests. In a May 2017 email from Ross to a top aide, Ross stated that he was “mystified” that “nothing” had been done regarding his “months old” request to add the question regarding citizenship status to the 2020 census.

The emails also show a top Census Bureau official’s apprehension regarding the citizenship question, including concerns that adding the question would decrease the quality of the census and be very costly. Opponents have long been critical of the addition of the question and the motives behind it, expressing concern that the question is aimed at shifting political power and federal funding away from states with large immigrant populations.

Several lawsuits have been filed against the Commerce Department, including one led by Barbara Underwood, New York Attorney General, who is representing 18 states, the District of Columbia, nine cities, four counties, and the United States Conference of Mayors. The lawsuits challenge the addition of the citizenship question to the census because the question could take billions of dollars away from states and localities as well as alter representation in Congress significantly.

State and Local

Orlando Passes Resolution to Prevent Targeting of Immigrants

On July 23, the Orlando City Council unanimously approved a resolution that would prohibit city employees, including police officers, from asking questions about a “law-abiding” person’s immigration status. The resolution, formally called the Fair Treatment for All Trust Act Policy, garnered the backing of more than 30 immigration, civil rights, and other organizations and its passage was met with extensive support from community members.

This policy was proposed, and ultimately passed, in an attempt to promote community safety through encouraging immigrants to report crimes. By ensuring that immigrant communities feel safe in cooperating with law enforcement, it is expected to support community trust and encourage undocumented immigrants to report crime without fear of apprehension for an unrelated immigration violation. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer spoke in support of the resolution, noting “if you simply report crime or you have a traffic stop, you will not be led to deportation.”

Anti-Sanctuary Initiative to Appear on Oregon Ballot

Oregon’s Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced on July 24 that Initiative Petition 22 has sufficient signatures to appear on the November ballot, thereby letting voters decide the future of the state’s so-called sanctuary status. The initiative will challenge the state’s 31-year-old statute prohibiting Oregon law enforcement agencies from arresting individuals whose only crime is violating federal immigration law.

The initiative to repeal these longstanding efforts to promote community trust has been met with significant opposition from the business community, law enforcement, and elected officials, who have expressed concerns that the initiative will chill the relationship between law enforcement and immigrant communities, undermining public safety as a whole.

Legal

More than One Hundred Businesses File Briefs Supporting DACA

A group of 114 business and business associations filed an amicus brief with the Southern District of Texas on July 22 requesting that the court reject the lawsuit filed by Texas and six other states seeking to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Businesses joining the brief included Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft, Uber, and Lyft. In another brief filed on July 21, a group of 13 businesses including Southwest Airlines and United Airlines warned that ending DACA will lead to “immediate, irreparable injury”, costing Texas’s economy up to $6 billion dollars a year. In addition, the brief noted that ending DACA would have a negative impact on the country’s economy as a whole. The brief states that DACA recipients have added jobs, including an estimated 5,800 manufacturing jobs, and contributed to the state economy as both taxpayers and consumers. It also highlighted how prevalent Dreamers are in Texas industries, including education (2,000 Dreamer teachers) and public safety (1,000 Dreamer first responders). A third brief filed on July 20 by eight major companies and organizations with significant operations in New Jersey, including Verizon, warned that enjoining DACA would significantly harm their companies and the New Jersey economy.

Pizza Delivery Man, Parents-in-Law of Army Sergeant Released from ICE Custody

On July 24, a U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty ordered the release of pizza delivery man Pablo Villavicencio. Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian immigrant placed in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after delivering pizza to Fort Hamilton, a Brooklyn Army installation, will be permitted to stay in the United States while he continues to exhaust his efforts to gain legal status. Crotty stated that Villavicencio was a “model citizen” despite his undocumented status and final order of removal, since he paid his taxes, had no criminal history and was raising two young U.S. citizen daughters.

Villavicencio was apprehended by ICE after guards at Fort Hamilton asked to see his identification and he presented his New York City identification card. The guards performed a background check, revealing a 2010 notice of removal for Villavicencio, and arrested him, turning him over to ICE.

In addition, an undocumented couple detained by ICE after trying to visit their son-in-law, an Army sergeant, at Fort Drum in upstate New York have been released on bond. Concepción Barrios and Margarito Silva were attempting to visit their son-in-law when they were told they needed to present another form of identification besides their New York City-issued identification cards. Immigration officials arrested the couple soon after and they spent nineteen days in ICE custody. They were released on a bond of $10,000 each.

Skills and Workforce Development

Congress Passes Perkins CTE Reauthorization; Democrats Introduce HEA Reauthorization Bill

On July 25, the House passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, just days after the bill passed the Senate. The bill is a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act), which is the primary federal funding source for high school, college and university career and technical education (CTE) programs that are critical for preparing youth and adults, including immigrants, for jobs in local and regional economies. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is expected to provide states with a better ability to set their own CTE goals, create a path to achieve those goals, and set their own standards for student performance, limiting the Department of Education’s authority over the CTE programs. President Trump expressed his support for the bill and is expected to sign it.

In addition, House Democrats introduced the Aim Higher Act on July 24, a bill that seeks to make higher education more accessible to all students, including immigrants, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented. The bill would reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which guides federal higher education policy and has not been renewed since 2008.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

There were no immigration-related government reports published on the week of Monday, July 23, 2018.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Fact Sheet: Family Separation at the U.S.-Mexico Border

This factsheet provides an updated overview of the issue of family separation at the Southern border, including information on whether family separation is required by law (it is not) and on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) “zero-tolerance policy” to prosecute all individuals crossing the U.S. border between ports of entry without authorization.

Infographic: Alternatives to Detention

This infographic shows that Alternatives to Detention (ATDs) represent a fraction of the cost of immigration detention, while continuing to ensure that more than 95 percent of individuals on ATDs attend required immigration court hearings and/or appointments.

Summary of Legal Workforce Act in the Securing America’s Future (SAF) Act Bill Section by Section Analysis

This is a summary of the Legal Workforce Act as included in Division B, Title I of Rep. Goodlatte’s (R-VA) Securing America’s Future (SAF) Act. The legislation would create a new Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) to replace the existing E-Verify pilot program and require all employers to check the work eligibility of all new candidates for employment and some previously hired employees.

Fact Sheet: What is the Perkins CTE, and How Does it Serve Immigrants?

This fact sheet provides an analysis of the Perkins Act, the main federal funding source for career and technical education (CTE) programs, and examines how immigrants gain from programs funded by the Perkins CTE.

* * *

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

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