Legislative Bulletin – Friday, June 28, 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

H.R. 3055

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020

This appropriations bill funds the Departments of Commerce, Justice (DOJ) and other related agencies for FY 2020, including their immigration-related responsibilities.

Sponsored by Representative Jose Serrano (D-New York) (0 cosponsors)

06/03/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Serrano

06/03/2019 House Appropriations Committee reported the bill to the House

06/19/2019 House debated and considered amendments to the bill

06/25/2019 House passed the bill by a 227 to 194 vote

H.R. 3401

Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act of 2019

This bill would make emergency supplemental appropriations for the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS) and other related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, providing $4.6 billion to address the humanitarian situation at the Southern border.

Sponsored by Representative Nita Lowey (D-New York) (0 cosponsors)

06/21/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lowey

06/25/2019 House passed the bill by a 230 to 195 vote

06/26/2019 Senate failed to pass the bill by a 37 to 55 vote

06/26/2019 Senate passed the bill with an amendment completely replacing the bill with the Senate version of the emergency supplemental request by an 84 to 8 vote

06/27/2019 House passed the amended bill by a 305 to 102 vote

H.R. 3451

Humane Enforcement and Legal Protection (HELP) for Separated Children Act of 2019

The bill would allow parents to communicate with their children before they are placed in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and while the parents are in detention. The bill would also require ICE to consider the best interest of the children in the detention, release or transfer of their parents.

Sponsored by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) (12 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 8 Democrats)

06/24/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Roybal-Allard

06/24/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3452

Help Separated Families Act of 2019

This bill would ensure that the immigration status of a parent, legal guardian or relative caregiver is not by itself a disqualification from being a sponsor for a migrant child, among other provisions.

Sponsored by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) (8 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 8 Democrats)

06/24/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Roybal-Allard

06/24/2019 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means

H.R. 3498

A Bill to Amend Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to Prohibit Immigration Officers or Agents of the Department of Homeland Security from Wearing Clothing or Other Items Bearing the Word “Police”

Sponsored by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-New York) (22 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 22 Democrats)

06/26/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Velazquez

06/26/2019 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3524

Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act

The bill would address the humanitarian situation at the Southern border by combating the root causes of migration from Central America. The bill would provide financial support and technical assistance to neighboring countries to increase their capacity to receive asylum seekers, establish Designated Processing Centers throughout Central America to register and process refugees for resettlement, and improve conditions for migrants held at the Southern border, among other provisions.

Sponsored by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-California) (27 cosponsors – 0 Republicans, 27 Democrats)

06/27/2019 Introduced in the House by Representative Lofgren

06/27/2019 Referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Education and Labor, Armed Services, Intelligence (Permanent Select), Financial Services, Homeland Security, Ways and Means, and Agriculture.

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will be in recess the week of Monday, July 1, 2019.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

There are no immigration-related hearings or markups scheduled for the week of Monday, July 1, 2019.

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Migrant Children Held in Overcrowded, Unsanitary Conditions in CBP Detention Facilities

A legal team that visited a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Clint, Texas for recently arrived migrant children said on June 21 that the children are facing serious neglect and mistreatment. The legal team described highly overcrowded, filthy conditions, with some children sick with the flu. The legal team also noted that most of the children have not been able to shower or wash their clothes since they first arrived at the facility, and have no access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap. Children as young as seven and eight were reportedly caring for infants. In addition, some of the children had been in the facility for nearly a month, despite government rules that prevent CBP from holding children in their facilities for no longer 72 hours. The legal team, which inspected facility as part of the Flores Settlement Agreement, interviewed 60 children who ranged from 5 months to 17 years old. About 350 children were detained in the Clint facility when the legal team arrived.

Similar conditions were reported in other CBP facilities, some of which hold both migrant children and adults. One board-certified physician who visited the Ursula processing center in McAllen, Texas said the conditions “could be compared torture facilities” due to “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water or adequate food.” The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General also reportedly found overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in at least five CBP facilities.

On June 18, a Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer argued before a three-judge panel from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the government should not be required to provide migrant children with toothbrushes, soap, and showers in Border Patrol facilities. The lawyer claimed the Flores Settlement Agreement, which governs the conditions of children held in immigration detention, does not directly require the government to provide those provisions to migrant children in CBP facilities. The lawyer faced skepticism from the panel of judges. Senior U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima noted that “it’s within everybody’s common understanding: If you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap…it’s not safe and sanitary.”

The first-hand accounts of the conditions facing migrant children held in CBP facilities prompted strong criticism from lawmakers, immigration advocates, faith leaders and many others. On June 24, CBP transferred hundreds of migrant children out of the Clint facility. Most of the children were placed into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but some were sent to a temporary tent facility in El Paso. On June 25, CBP returned 100 children to the Clint facility, saying HHS shelters meant to house migrant children are “at capacity.” The Border Patrol also disputed characterizations of the conditions at its facilities.

Congress Passes Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill to Address the Situation at the Southern Border

Congress this week passed the Senate version of a $4.6 billion emergency supplemental funding bill to address the humanitarian situation at the Southern border. The House passed the bill on June 27 by a 305 to 102 vote, with most Republicans voting in favor of the legislation and nearly 100 Democrats opposing the measure. Speaker Nancy Pelosi originally pledged to make certain changes to the bill, which passed the Senate on June 26 by an 84 to 8 vote. Pelosi ultimately brought up the bill without changes after moderate House Democrats pressured House leadership for a vote. Some House Democrats, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), opposed the Senate measure based on concerns that the funds could be transferred for a border barrier and ramping up immigration detention beyond current record levels. The House passed its own version of the $4.6 billion supplemental funding request on June 25 with more restrictions on transfer authorities and detention conditions than the Senate version, but that bill failed in the Senate by a 37 to 55 vote.

The bill passed by Congress includes in part almost $2.9 billion for HHS to expand its shelter capacity to hold migrant children, about $1 billion for CBP to establish short-term migrant processing facilities near the Southern border and for other expenses, and $210 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The bill also provides $145 million to the Department of Defense (DOD) to fund military expenses along the Southern border.

U.S. to Expand “Remain in Mexico” As Mexico Sends 15,000 Troops to Stem Migrants

The Trump administration will expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico,” to two additional cities along the Southern border by the end of the week that started on June 24. Mexican officials said the U.S. will soon implement the policy at the border in Laredo, Texas and Yuma, Arizona. Under MPP, asylum seekers must wait in Mexico while their cases for asylum proceed in the U.S. Since the policy was implemented in January, an estimated 14,000 asylum seekers have been returned to Mexico. The number of returned asylum seekers is increasing exponentially in some jurisdictions.

On June 26, a labor union representing U.S. asylum officers filed a friend-of-the-court brief to stop the Trump administration from continuing to implement MPP. The asylum officers argued in the brief that the policy contradicts the nation’s view of welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into the country and that it is compelling officers to violate international and federal law. They described the policy as an inadequate safeguard in protecting those who fear persecution, and placing asylum seekers in a country that is not safe. Moreover, asylum officers argued that the U.S. asylum system is not broken, but rather can handle more cases without sending people back to Mexico.

In addition, Mexico announced on June 24 it has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard troops to the north of the country to block the flow of migrants coming to the U.S. The deployment of Mexican troops and their efforts to block migrants, which has been captured in photographs, comes after the U.S. and Mexico agreed to stem the flow of migrants to fend off a threat of tariffs from President Trump on Mexican exports to the U.S. The efforts also come as a photograph of a drowned migrant father and his 23-month-old daughter captured significant attention. On June 27, Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), blamed the father for “decid[ing] to cross the river.” However, some lawmakers blamed the U.S. practice of “metering” at ports of entry.

President Trump Delays ICE Immigration Raids

President Trump announced on June 23 that he would delay plans to apprehend and deport nearly 2,000 migrant families in U.S. communities. President Trump said he delayed the apprehensions for two weeks “At the request of Democrats…to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern border.” Under the plan, ICE would apprehend and deport migrant families who had been served deportation orders or had missed a court date.

A former DHS official stated that some ICE officers pushed back on the planned raids after it was made public due to officer safety and child welfare concerns. In addition, Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan reportedly advised against a quick implementation of the proposal, warning that it risked separating children from their families and would divert resources to a less pressing issue. McAleenan instead urged ICE to conduct a narrower operation that would seek to detain only around 150 migrant families. The proposal also faced pushback from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who criticized the plan and called the proposed raids “appalling.”

Meanwhile, McAleenan has reportedly come under fire from administration officials who have argued that he is insufficiently committed to the Trump Administration’s immigration and border goals. Thomas Homan, former Acting Director of ICE, suggested the raids were delayed because McAleenan leaked information about them.

Trump Administration to End Deportation Protections for Military Family Members

The Trump administration will reportedly end a policy that protects undocumented family members of active-duty military from being deported and potentially adjust to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. A government lawyer reportedly urged attorneys working with military family members to act quickly if their clients are eligible and “submit it ASAP” before the policy is terminated next month. The policy, known as Parole in Place (PIP), allows certain military family members who came to the U.S. without documentation and cannot currently adjust to a legal immigration status to be paroled into the U.S. with temporary protection from deportation. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides PIP to military family members on a case-by-case basis and in one-year increments. After PIP is granted, immediate relatives of U.S. citizen military services, such as the spouse, unmarried child, or parents, might become eligible to adjust to legal status without leaving the country.

Immigration attorneys noted that ending parole in place for military families would be corrosive to military readiness. They argue that ending the policy would force active-duty military to worry that a family member, such as a spouse, might be deported while the soldier is deployed overseas. USCIS declined to discuss questions related to the ending of the policy.

Trump Administration Shuffles DHS Leadership

On June 27, Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced leadership changes within ICE and CBP. Mark Morgan, Acting Director of ICE, will take over as performing the duties of the CBP Commissioner. Matthew Albence, who has been performing the duties of the agency’s Deputy Director since August 2018, will assume the role of Acting Director of ICE. The changes come after John Sanders, Acting CBP Commissioner, announced on June 25 he would step down in early July following concerns over the conditions of migrant children at CBP facilities. These changes occurred after several months of numerous leadership changes at the highest leadership roles of DHS.

Legal

Supreme Court Rejects Stated Reasons for Including Citizenship Question in Census

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Trump administration from adding a question on citizenship status to the 2020 census. Writing for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal justices and stated that the justification for the question offered by the government during trial was a pretext. The opinion affirmed the District Court’s decision to send the case back to the Department of Commerce to provide further explanation for the addition of the question. The Department of Commerce could still add the question to the census, or future censuses, provided that it produces a more reasonable explanation that satisfies the court. However, this effort could be complicated by the looming deadline for printing the census. President Trump indicated that he will attempt to delay the 2020 census until the Supreme Court “can make a final and decisive decision.”

The dispute began in 2018 when Secretary Wilbur Ross indicated that the 2020 census would include a question about citizenship in response to a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ). Secretary Ross stated that the reasoning behind the decision was to help the DOJ obtain data to better enforce federal voting-rights law. However, critics of the decision argued that the proposed citizenship question would suppress response rates by immigrants and households with undocumented family members. The resulting undercount of states with large immigrant populations, including traditionally-Republican states, could cause them to lose billions in federal funding and seats in the U.S. House of Representatives during reapportionment. A group of 18 states, 10 cities, four counties, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors filed suit against the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce to challenge the addition of the citizenship question. The issue was further complicated when evidence emerged from the files of a Republican strategist that explained that the addition of the question would be “be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”

Supreme Court to Consider Whether President Trump’s Decision to End DACA is Lawful

The Supreme Court announced on June 28 that it will consider in its next term whether the Trump administration’s ending of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects nearly 700,000 Dreamers from deportation, is lawful. President Trump attempted to end DACA by March 5, 2018, but his decision was blocked by a number of federal courts. The Trump administration subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court in late 2018 to review the lower courts’ rulings on whether the decision to end DACA was legal. The Supreme Court will now hear arguments in its next term and likely issue a decision sometime before next summer. Immigration advocates noted that the decision puts pressure on Congress to find a permanent, legislative solution for DACA recipients.

State and Local

North Carolina State Legislature Advances ICE Cooperation Measure

The North Carolina state Senate passed a bill on June 24 barring certain “sanctuary jurisdictions” in the state, requiring local county sheriffs to honor federal immigration detainers and to attempt to check the immigration status of all individuals in their jails charged with a crime. The bill, H.B. 370, is reportedly in response to recently elected sheriffs in the state’s most populated counties who announced they would not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. The sheriffs argued that accepting the detainers would likely undermine community safety. The bill’s supporters claimed it would “simply require[e] local law enforcement to work together with federal immigration authorities.” The state House approved a different version of the bill in April and would need to vote on the Senate version before it moves on to the governor. Gov. Roy Cooper (D-North Carolina) signaled he would likely veto the measure.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): CBP Identified Resource Challenges but Needs Measures to Assess Security Between Ports of Entry, June 26, 2019

This GAO report reviews U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) efforts to secure the U.S.-Canada border between ports of entry. The report examines CBP’s staffing and resource challenges along the northern border and the extent to which CBP has implemented measures to assess its effectiveness in securing the northern border.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Solutions to Manage and Process Central American Migrants

This document compares the National Immigration Forum’s policy recommendations to address the increase of Central American migrants at the Southern border to ideas proposed by the Trump administration, the Secure and Protect Act (S. 1494), the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act (H.R. 2615) and the Humanitarian Upgrades to Manage and Assist our Nation’s Enforcement (HUMANE) Act (S. 1303/H.R. 2522).

For Love of Country: New Americans Serving in Our Armed Forces

This report provides an overview of the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. Armed Forces, the unique challenges immigrant service members, veterans and their families face and the need to broaden the pool of eligible recruits by passing legislation that would enable Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants to enlist in the military.

Statement for the Record: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Budget Hearing on “Building A More Dynamic Economy: The Benefits of Immigration”

This statement for the record provides an overview of the crucial role immigrants play in our workforce and economy, including entrepreneurship, taxes, spending power, filling temporary and permanent positions across the entire skills spectrum, and revitalizing local economies.

* * *

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

Learn More

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

Report

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

Read more about Legislative Bulletin - Friday, July 19, 2019

Legislative Bulletin

Legislative Bulletin - Friday, July 19, 2019

Read more about Profiling Hardship in Honduras

Podcast

Profiling Hardship in Honduras