BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Keep Families Together Act
This bill seeks to limit separation of families at or near ports of entry.
Sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) (31 cosponsors – 31 Democrats)
06/08/2018 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Feinstein
Prioritizing Help to Businesses Act
This bill seeks to reprioritize the allocation of H–2B visas to States with low unemployment rates.
Sponsored by Senator John Thune (R – South Dakota) (0 cosponsors)
05/24/2018 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Thune
05/24/2018 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
This bill would require collection of data by officers enforcing United States laws and regulations, including at border security stops within the U.S. borders.
Sponsored by Representative Joseph Crowley (D – New York) (1 cosponsor – 1 Democrat)
06/01/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Crowley
06/01/2018 Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Homeland Security
Protecting Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act
This bill seeks to protect immigrant victims of crime or serious labor or employment violations from removal from the United States. This bill is a companion bill to S. 2915.
Sponsored by Representative Judy Chu (D – California) (11 cosponsors – 11 Democrats)
05/22/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Chu
05/22/2018 Read twice and referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Professional’s Access to Health Workforce Integration Act of 2018
This bill would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants for career support for skilled, internationally educated health professionals.
Sponsored by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D – California) (0 cosponsors)
05/22/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Roybal-Allard
05/22/2018 Read twice and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
This resolution seeks to condemn the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy in which all immigrants entering the U.S. without authorization are charged with a crime.
Sponsored by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D – Connecticut) (127 cosponsors – 127 Democrats)
06/07/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative DeLauro
06/07/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
Queen of the Hill
This resolution would bring four immigration reform bills to the U.S. House floor. It would offer alternatives to the Securing America’s Future Act, proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), which would dramatically transform our immigration system. Those alternatives comprise the bipartisan DREAM Act and USA Act, and an immigration bill of Speaker Paul Ryan’s choice.
Sponsored by Representative Jeff Denham (R – California) (244 cosponsors – 48 Republicans ; 196 Democrats)
03/13/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Denham
03/13/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Rules
05/09/2018 Motion to Discharge Committee filed by Mr. Curbelo (FL). Petition No: 115-10
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, June 11, 2018.
The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Tuesday, June 12, 2018 through Friday, June 15, 2018.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. (Senate Committee on Appropriations)
Location: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
Republicans Draft Immigration Legislation; Discharge Petition on Hold
House Republican leadership has reportedly drafted a framework for immigration legislation to address Dreamers after the party’s meeting on Thursday, June 7, 2018. While Republicans did not release details of the framework, it reportedly would include a way for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to earn citizenship and would cut legal immigration by ending the diversity visa program and the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their married adult children, brothers, and sisters for green cards.
In response to the negotiations, moderate Republicans halted their push to gather enough signatures on a discharge petition that would allow them to force a set of immigration votes on the House floor. One of the main advocates of the movement, Representative Carlos Curbelo (R- Florida), said that if the party fails to make decision by Tuesday, they will resume the effort and proceed with the discharge petition. As of Friday, June 6, 2018, the petition has been signed by 215 lawmakers – all but one Democrat and 23 Republicans – after Representatives Filemon Vela (D- Texas) and Vincente Gonzales (D- Texas) decided to join the petition. The petition is now short of just three signatures to reach the desired 2018, allowing the vote on the “Queen of the Hill”, or H. Res. 774, that would offer solution for the DACA beneficiaries and other Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children without proper immigration documents. Representatives Curbelo and Jeff Denham (R-California), two leaders in this effort, expressed belief that the petition has enough support to move forward if negotiations fail.
Criticism of Trump Administration Family Separation Policy Continues
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border continues to be criticized by Members of Congress, other officials, and the general public. This policy adds to family separation, creates more unaccompanied immigrant children and increases the backlog in immigration courts. Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and AG Jeff Sessions on Friday, June 1, urging them to schedule an immediate briefing on family separation at the border. In a separate letter dated Thursday, June 7, 108 lawmakers led by Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), Bennie G. Thompson (D-Mississippi), and Zoe Lofgren (D-California) called on the administration to limit DHS’s ability to use funds under the department’s appropriations bill to separate parents from their children unless there is a clear evidence that the parent poses an immediate threat to the child’s safety. A group of four Democratic mayors sent a letter to AG Sessions and Secretary Nielsen, urging the administration to immediately stop family separation. On Tuesday, June 5, the United Nations (UN) human rights office called on the United States to “immediately halt” separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border as a “serious violation” of the rights of children.
Numerous protests against family separation took place across the U.S. Activists argue the policy violates human rights of people at the border, who are fleeing violence in their home countries, and that children should be never separated from parents, regardless of their immigration status. Critics also stress that immigrants at the border have a right to ask for asylum and should not be treated as criminals charged with “illegal entry” and that the border operations are violating international and national laws protecting the human rights.
Border Crossing Remains High Despite Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” Policy
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) number of arrests at U.S. Southwest border surged to 40,344 in May from 38,278 in April, increasing for the third straight month. That is also a 178 percent rise when compared to the same month in 2017. In April and March, the figure climbed 244 percent and 207 percent above the last year’s numbers. The surge comes despite roll-out of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which was intended to decrease the numbers to the historically low numbers of border arrests seen last year. However, a recent report finds that the 2017 apprehension figures are outliers and that the 2018 arrest data are comparable to arrests in the same months in 2016, 2014 and 2013.
ICE Sends 1,600 Detainees to Federal Prisons
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly decided to transfer about 1,600 detainees to federal prisons. It would be the first large-scale use of federal prisons since the beginning of Trump administration and its crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Union leaders at prisons in California, Texas and Washington stressed that they have just a a short amount of time to prepare for the influx of detainees. Observers are concerned about staffing and safety in the affected prisons. ICE said it is collaborating with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), private detention facility operators and local government agencies to secure additional immigration detention space.
USCIS to Conduct Lottery for Additional 15,000 H-2B Visas
On June 6, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would be conducting a lottery to allocate the additional 15,000 H-2B visas that it is issuing in FY 2018. USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 31 and, having received more petitions than available visas within five business days, it is conducting a lottery to randomly select the 15,000 visas recipients.
USCIS announced on May 25 that under the authority granted by the omnibus appropriations bill passed in March, it was temporarily increasing the number of H-2B visas for seasonal workers in response to reports of severe worker shortages in some sectors that would harm American businesses.
Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Philadelphia in “Sanctuary City” Case
On June 6, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Baylson ruled in favor of Philadelphia in litigation over the city’s policies limiting its involvement with federal immigration authorities. Last year, Philadelphia filed a suit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last year after the government withheld grant funding from the city over what the DOJ has characterized as its “sanctuary city” policies.
Judge Baylson ruled that the additional grant conditions were “arbitrary and capricious” and that the Philadelphia policies at issues were lawful and appropriate. He also wrote that it was a “misnomer” to characterize Philadelphia as a “sanctuary city.”
Full Seventh Circuit to Rehear Case on Injunction against Grant Conditions for Sanctuary Jurisdictions
On June 4, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed to the U.S. Justice Department’s request to consider whether it was appropriate to have a nationwide injunction in place barring the Trump administration from attaching new grant conditions to federal law enforcement grants. In April, two judges of a three-judge Seventh Circuit panel ruled in favor of upholding the nationwide injunction barring Attorney General Jeff Sessions from such new grant conditions. Judge Daniel Manion dissented from that part of the decision, stating that he would have limited the decision to apply only to Chicago.
The new conditions were aimed at punishing so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that had policies in place limiting their involvement in federal immigration enforcement. The full panel of the Seventh Circuit, which will consist of as many as 13 judges, will not revisit the three-judge panel’s ruling upholding a federal district court’s decision barring Sessions from creating new grant requirements. Instead, the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, will solely examine whether the injunction should be nationwide in scope.
Federal Judge Lets Family Separation Case Proceed
On Wednesday, June 6, a San Diego judge refused to dismiss the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) class-action lawsuit filed against the Trump administration. The court ruled in favor of the ACLU finding that family separation could potentially be a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of due process, undermining their right to family integrity.
State and Local
Immigrant Domestic Violence Victims Fear Coming Forward
According to a June 3 report in the New York Times, fewer immigrants are reporting domestic violence as fear grows in immigrant communities surrounding immigration enforcement and deportation. Citing sharp declines in domestic violence reports by Hispanics in Houston, Los Angeles, Denver and San Diego in 2017, the report highlighted the impact of the Trump administration’s rhetoric and policies on crime reporting by both documented and undocumented immigrant populations. The drop-off in reporting among Hispanics occurred as domestic violence reports have increased or remained constant in other communities, with Houston experiencing a 16 percent decline in domestic violence reports from Hispanics between 2016 and 2017.
Declines in reporting in Texas also may be due to the 2017 passage of Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), which required local law enforcement to take on additional duties relating to immigration enforcement.
ICE Worksite Enforcement in Ohio
An increased number of workplaces across the country have been reporting raids by immigration authorities since President Trump took office. ICE records show the number of investigations had doubled during the period of October 2017 and May 2018 compared to investigations in FY 2017. On June 5, ICE targeted two garden nurseries in Ohio, arresting 114 immigrants in the largest immigration workplace raid in a decade. As of May 26, the average daily population of detainees in ICE facilities was 41,134, up from the 2017 daily average of 38,106.
There were no immigration or workforce related government reports published during the week of Monday, June 4, 2018.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
This blog provides an overview of the Discharge Petition on Dreamers filed on May 9 to bring the Queen of the Hill resolution to the floor of the House for a vote.
This document provides a summary of the “Queen of the Hill” resolution on Dreamers that would require the U.S. House of Representatives to consider four immigration bills to address DACA recipients.
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*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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.