Legislative Bulletin — Friday, June 24, 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. 3157

Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act

The bill would require the Department of Labor to conduct a study of the factors affecting employment opportunities for immigrants and refugees with professional credentials obtained in foreign countries.

Sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) (5 cosponsors— 3 Republicans, 2 Democrats)

11/03/2021 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Klobuchar

11/03/2021 Referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

06/23/2022 Passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions via unanimous consent.

06/23/2022 Passed the Senate without amendment via unanimous consent

S. 4436

Advanced Border Coordination Act

The bill would require DHS to establish at least two additional joint operations centers along the southern border. Joint operations centers are DHS locations that allow federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to work together to address border security and transnational criminal activity. The bill would also require DHS to present an annual report to Congress on the centers’ operational activities and general recommendations for improving coordination across local, state, and federal law enforcement efforts at the border.

Sponsored by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) (0 cosponsors)

06/21/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cortez Masto

06/21/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

H.R. 7959

Noncitizens: Outlawed from Voting in Our Trusted Elections Act (NO VOTE for Noncitizens Act) of 2022

The bill would require states that allow noncitizens to vote in local elections to create a noncitizen voter list separate from the list of U.S. citizen voters. The bill would also expressly prohibit noncitizens from participating in federal elections.

Sponsored by Representative Davis Rodney (R-Illinois) (0 cosponsors)

06/07/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Rodney

06/07/2022 Referred to the House Committees on House Administration and the Judiciary

H.R. 8094

Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act

The bill would create an Office of the Special Inspector General for Ukrainian Military, Economic, and Humanitarian Aid. The office would conduct and supervise audits and investigations related to the programs and operations funded by recent Ukraine appropriations legislation. The office would also monitor and review the coordination between the United States and the Government of Ukraine to support Ukrainian refugees and partners in the region. This is a companion bill of S. 4190.

Sponsored by Representative Robert Wittman (R-Virginia) (2 cosponsors— 2 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

06/15/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Wittman

06/15/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform

H.R. 8106

Fighting Foreign Influence Act

The bill, among various other provisions, would forbid political committees from accepting credit card contributions by internet from noncitizens who are not legal permanent residents.

Sponsored by Representative Jared Golden (D-Maine) (3 cosponsors— 2 Republicans, 1 Democrat)

06/16/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Golden

06/16/2022 Referred to the House Committees on House Administration, Ways and Means, and the Judiciary

H.R. 8119

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to limit the ability to take into account the mental health of an applicant for asylum

Sponsored by Representative Troy Nehls (R-Texas) (10 cosponsors— 10 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

06/16/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Nehls

06/16/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will not be in session from Tuesday, June 27, through Friday, July 1, 2022.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session for committee work from Tuesday, June 28, through Thursday, June 30, 2022.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

There are no hearings scheduled for the week of Monday, June 27, 2022.

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Biden Administration Announces Multilateral “Sting Operation” to Disrupt Human Smuggling Networks Across the Americas

On June 9, the Biden Administration announced an operation that began in April to disrupt and dismantle migrant smuggling networks across the hemisphere. The effort, labeled “Sting Operation” by the administration, is an interagency project led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has committed over $50 million and deployed over 1,300 personnel across Latin America and along the Southwest Border to combat smuggling networks.

Recent data indicate that through the end of May, the Sting Operation produced approximately 20,000 “disruption actions,” including over 2,000 arrests and seizures of property used to hide and smuggle migrants. DHS further estimates the operation has led to 900 fewer migrants arriving at the Southwest border each day. In a June 10 statement, the Biden administration stated that the U.S. aims to continue to expand efforts with other governments in the Americas to improve information sharing, build capacity, and advance criminal investigations against human smugglers and drug traffickers.

71,000 Ukrainians Have Arrived in the United States Since the Start of the Russian Invasion

According to a June 24 report, at least 71,000 Ukrainians have entered the United States since the Russian invasion began in March. The Ukrainians have arrived via three main pathways. First, over 22,000 Ukrainians were granted humanitarian parole upon arriving at the border. An additional 15,000 have arrived — also under parole — after being approved under the recently-created Uniting for Ukraine private sponsorship program. The remainder have entered the U.S. via legal immigration channels such as tourist visas or employment- or family-based visas.

Overall, the data shows the Uniting for Ukraine program has received over 60,000 sponsorship applications in about two months of activity. Approximately 38,000 applications have been approved and 23,000 Ukrainians are expected to arrive under the program in the coming months to join the 15,000 recipients already in the U.S.

Administration, Congress Commemorate World Refugee Day 

On June 20, the Biden administration, Congress, and people around the world celebrated World Refugee Day. President Biden issued a statement “recognizing the strength, resilience, and humanity of millions of refugees forced to flee violence, persecution, and war” and commending the “generosity of host communities across the United States who work tirelessly to welcome refugees.”

On June 21, Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-California) introduced resolutions in their respective chambers in commemoration of World Refugee Day. The resolutions reaffirmed the “bipartisan commitment of the United States to promote the safety, health, and well-being of millions of refugees and asylum seekers.”

In its statement commemorating World Refugee Day, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees noted that a record 100 million people are currently forcibly displaced worldwide.

Legal

Texas Supreme Court Rules that Detained Asylum-Seeking Mothers Have Standing to Challenge State Rule

On June 17, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that asylum-seeking mothers have standing in an ongoing a detention facility lawsuit. In 2015, the Texas Department of Family Protective Services issued a rule that afforded immigration detention facilities an exemption to state childcare licensing standards that prohibit facilities from housing unrelated adults and children in the same bedroom. A group of asylum-seeking mothers and the non-profit Grassroots Leadership sued two detention facilities, challenging the room-sharing rule and alleging it results in safety risks and privacy violations of detainees and their children.

A lower court previously determined that the mothers and Grassroots Leadership lacked standing to sue because they could not prove that they were harmed by the rule. However, the Texas Supreme Court found that the standing requirement was satisfied by the concrete injuries, including the risk of harm and privacy violations.

State & Local

Texas Government Has Paid $1.6 Million to Bus Migrants to Washington, D.C.

A June 15 NBC 5 report revealed that the state of Texas has paid $1.6 million as part of Governor Greg Abbott’s (R-Texas) initiative to bus irregular migrants from the border to Washington, D.C. Documents obtained through an open records request to the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) show that 1,154 immigrants were transported to D.C. between April and May at a cost of $1,442 per person. Abbott pledged to raise private funds to pay for the program, but the Governor’s website shows only approximately $112,000 raised.

The busing program was announced on April 6 by Governor Abbott in response to the CDC’s April 1 announcement that it planned to end Title 42, a pandemic-era immigration policy that allows authorities to turn migrants away at the border. Abbott explained that the purpose of the busing program was to send “[undocumented immigrants] to the United States Capitol where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the immediate needs of people they are allowing to come across our border.”

The migrants have been welcomed by D.C.-based NGOs and put onto other buses and trains towards their actual destinations.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); “Enforcement Agencies Should Better Leverage Information to Target Efforts Involving U.S. Universities“; June 14, 2022.

This GAO report states that some international students pose a risk of illegally accessing and sharing sensitive information, such as data or technology, with their home countries. The report suggests that enforcement agencies involved in addressing this threat must raise awareness of security threats among university officials.

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); “Alternatives to Detention: ICE Needs to Better Assess Program Performance and Improve Contract Oversight“; June 22, 2022.

This GAO report finds that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses a $2.2 billion contract to administer the Alternatives to Detention program. The report notes that ICE has failed to fully and properly assess how the program is working and ensure that the contractors it uses are meeting appropriate standards.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Summary: Immigration and Refugee Assistance in the Ukraine Funding Bill

This summary examines the immigration and refugee assistance provisions in the Ukraine funding bill that was signed into law on May 21.

Bill Summary: Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act

This bill would direct the Secretary of Labor to conduct a study examining the barriers to employment opportunities for immigrants and refugees in the United States who have international degrees or credentials.

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.

Learn More

Read more about Advocacy Resources Landing Page

Article

Advocacy Resources Landing Page

Read more about Legislative Bulletin — Friday, June 17, 2022

Legislative Bulletin

Legislative Bulletin — Friday, June 17, 2022

Read more about Legislative Bulletin — Friday, June 10, 2022

Legislative Bulletin

Legislative Bulletin — Friday, June 10, 2022