Legislative Bulletin — Friday, March 11, 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

H.R. 2471

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022

The omnibus bill appropriates $1.5 trillion in federal spending for fiscal year 2022. Among other provisions, the bill appropriates $14.8 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $8.26 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and $409.5 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Sponsored by Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) (7 cosponsors— 3 Democrats, 4 Republicans)

04/13/2021 Introduced in the House by Representative Jeffries

04/13/2021 Referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs

03/09/2022 Passed the House of Representatives by a 248-180 vote

03/10/2022 Passed the Senate by a 68-31 vote

H.R. 6840

Northern Border Reopening Act

The bill would prohibit the suspension or limitation on entry to the United States to a national of Canada based on any travel restriction related to COVID-19.

Sponsored by Representative Chris Jacobs (R-New York) (10 cosponsors— 10 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

02/25/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Jacobs

02/25/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 6842

To provide for the imposition of sanctions on members of parliament of the Russian Federation who voted on February 15, 2022, in favor of the appeal to President Vladimir Putin to recognize the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in southeastern Ukraine as one or more independent states.

The bill, among various provisions, would revoke and prohibit the issuance of any type of visas to members of parliament of the Russian Federation who voted on February 15, 2022, in favor of recognizing the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in southeastern Ukraine as one or more independent states.

Sponsored by Representative William Keating (D-Massachusetts) (28 cosponsors— 9 Republicans, 19 Democrats)

02/25/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Keating

02/25/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary

H.R. 6853

Russian Travel Sanctions for a Democratic Ukraine Act

The bill would revoke and prohibit the issuance of any type of visas to Russian oligarchs, employees of Russia’s government, and employees of companies that are owned by or receive funding from Russia’s government.

Sponsored by Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minnesota) (49 cosponsors— 12 Republicans, 37 Democrats)

02/25/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Phillips

02/25/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 6907

Cuban Family Reunification Parole Act of 2022

The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate the processing of parole applications under the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program at the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Sponsored by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) (7 cosponsors— 7 Democrats, 0 Republicans)

03/02/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Wasserman Schultz

03/02/2022 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 6911

No Travel for Traffickers Act of 2022

The bill would prohibit the participation in the Visa Waiver Program of certain countries that have in effect programs permitting individuals who are not nationals of that country to be provided with citizenship, on condition that the individual makes an investment in that country.

Sponsored by Representative Burgess Owens (R-Utah) (3 cosponsors— 2 Democrats, 1 Republican)

03/03/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Owens

03/03/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary

H.R. 6930

Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act

The bill would allow the President of the United States to confiscate any property or accounts subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and valued over $5,000,000 of any foreign person whose wealth, according to credible information, is derived in part through corruption linked to or political support for the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The confiscated money would be used to support Ukrainian refugees and refugee resettlement in neighboring countries and in the United States.

Sponsored by Representative Tom Malinowsky (D-New Jersey) (9 cosponsors— 4 Democrats, 5 Republicans)

03/03/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Malinowsky

03/03/2022 Referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs

H.R. 7028

To provide that the 3-month State residency requirement for applicants for naturalized citizenship do not apply with respect to spouses of members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty at a location in the United States

Sponsored by Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington) (1 cosponsor— 1 Democrat, 0 Republicans)

03/09/2022 Introduced in the House by Representative Herrera Beutler

03/09/2022 Referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary

S. 3723

Special Russian Sanctions Authority Act of 2022

The bill, among various provisions, would revoke and prohibit the issuance of any type of visas to members of the United Russia Party in the State Duma, government officials of the Russian Federation at the level of director or higher, and officers of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with the rank of colonel or higher.

Sponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) (0 cosponsors)

03/02/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Cassidy

03/02/2022 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders

S. 3724

Ukraine Emergency Appropriations Act of 2022

The bill, among various provisions, would appropriate $500,000,000 to the Secretary of State for fiscal year 2022 to assist refugees from Ukraine.

Sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) (0 cosponsors)

03/02/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Rubio

03/02/2022 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders

S. 3735

Deterring Communist Chinese Aggression against Taiwan through Financial Sanctions Act of 2022

The bill, among various provisions, would revoke and prohibit the issuance of any type of visas to persons engaged in any attempt by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to subject Taiwan to the control of the People’s Republic of China.

Sponsored by Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) (2 cosponsors— 2 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

03/02/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Scott

03/02/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

S. 3739

Preventing Usurpation of Power and Privileges by Extralegal Territories’ Sedition (PUPPETS) Act of 2022

The bill, among various provisions, would designate as foreign terrorist organizations the entities claiming to be the Government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Luhansk People’s Republic, or any other region of Ukraine, that was not elected through the presidential or parliamentary elections in 2019 or local elections in 2020. Hence, it would revoke and prohibit the issuance of any type of visas to any person engaged in these organizations. This is a companion bill of H.R. 6897.

Sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) (1 cosponsor— 1 Republican, 0 Democrats)

03/02/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Rubio

03/02/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

S.  3774

Women and Climate Change Act of 2022

The bill, among various provisions, would establish in the Department of State a Federal Interagency Working Group on Women and Climate Change. The working group would develop policies to protect, among various groups, environmental refugees understood as people displaced due to environmental causes, notably land loss and degradation, and natural disasters, who have left their community or country of origin.

Sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) (6 cosponsors— 6 Democrats, 0 Republicans)

03/08/2022 Introduced in the Senate by Senator Hirono

03/08/2022 Referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, March 14, 2022.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Tuesday, March 15, through Friday, March 18, 2022.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

Hearing: Removing Barriers to Legal Migration to Strengthen our Communities and Economy

Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at 2:00 pm E.T. (Senate Committee on the Judiciary)

Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226

Witnesses: TBD

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Federal

Congress Passes 1.5 Trillion Dollar Spending Bill

On March 10, the U.S. Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus federal spending bill for fiscal year 2022 that will fund the federal government through September 30. Among the multiple provisions of the bill, it appropriates billions of dollars for immigration-related agencies, including $14.8 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $8.26 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and $409.5 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The bill — which received bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress — is expected to be signed into law by President Biden on March 11.

The budget contains several provisions concerning the U.S.-Mexico border, including $30 million for improvements in migrant processing, $256 million for new border security technology, $30 million for body-worn cameras for Border Patrol officers, $1 billion for CBP processing facilities, and $442.7 million for alternatives to detention. The bill also includes $275 million in funding for USCIS to address visa and naturalization backlogs and delays. migrant medical care, transportation

Additionally, the bill allocates 6.8 billion in humanitarian assistance to rebuild the Refugee Admissions program. It also appropriates $13.6. billion in humanitarian relief and military support specifically for Ukraine, including funding for Ukrainian refugees. The bill also renewed the Lautenberg amendment, which provides an opportunity for persecuted religious minority groups from the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, to reunite with their family members in the U.S.

Biden Administration Pledges Assistance to Ukraine, but Concerns Over Refugee and Visa Backlog Remain

On March 8, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that over 2 million refugees have now fled Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. The vast majority of these refugees have been welcomed by five neighboring countries: Poland, Slovenia, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, and Hungary. On March 10, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the U.S. would provide $53 million to support affected Ukrainians. The announcement came after the DHS announced on March 3 that the United States would be offering Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Ukrainian nationals temporarily present in the US which would permit them to remain in the US for 18 months and apply for work authorization.

Despite the announcement of TPS, the extent of the U.S. commitment to welcome Ukrainian refugees remains unclear. Backlogged refugee and immigration visa processing for Ukrainians has been further delayed by the closure of U.S. embassies and processing centers in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, which has added additional pressure to other consular posts in the region that are already managing a backlog of almost half a million cases.

In addition, on March 9, a Ukrainian woman with three of her children was reportedly turned away by border officials while attempting to join her family in California. The woman, who was sent back under an asylum restriction called Title 42, was later allowed into the country to pursue her asylum claim through an exemption for particularly vulnerable individuals.

February Resettlement Levels Remain Low Despite February Increase

On March 7, the State Department released refugee resettlement data for the month of February. The U.S. resettled 2,133 refugees in the fifth month of fiscal year (FY) 2022, almost a twofold increase from the 1,094 refugees resettled in January. Despite the progress, the current resettlement pace would lead to a total of only 15,586 refugees resettled in all of FY 2022. That number continues to lag far behind the refugee ceiling of 125,000 announced by President Biden in September.

The overall increase in resettlement came from all over the world, with refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (476), Syria (324), and the Northern Triangle (206), making up a notable proportion of the total resettled. The released data also reveals that the U.S. is resettling an increasing number of refugees from Ukraine, rising from 87 in January to 427 refugees in February.

The February resettlement data also reveals that just 205 Special Immigrant Visas were granted to Afghans in February, a marginal increase from 138 in January but still far below summer peaks prior to the Kabul evacuation when the administration granted over 3,000 SIVs a month.

Biden Administration Considers Ending Expulsions at the Border under Title 42

On March 9, a Reuters report revealed that the Biden administration is considering whether to end the use of Title 42, a pandemic-era public health order that both the Trump and Biden administrations have used to rapidly expel arriving migrants without providing them the opportunity to seek asylum.

The Reuters report came five days after two court rulings respectively ordered — on the same day — to limit and expand the use of Title 42. In the first order, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the use of Title 42 expulsions at the border for migrant families without first offering individuals the opportunity to request legal protection. In the second, the Northern District Court of Texas ordered the Biden administration to resume the expulsions of unaccompanied children, who are currently exempted from the protocol. Neither ruling has yet gone into effect.

On March 4, Democratic Senators Menendez, Booker, Schumer, and Padilla urged President Biden to “restore access to asylum and end the usage of Title 42 once and for all.” They also called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to review their current order — on which Title 42 is founded — given the progress the nation has made in its pandemic recovery. The CDC has said that it reviews the order every 60 days to determine whether it remains necessary to protect public health. The next renewal is slated for early April.

Recent estimates suggest that over one million migrants have been deported under Title 42 during the Biden administration. Advocacy groups and international organizations have widely criticized the policy. They argue that deportations under Title 42 are inconsistent with international norms and fail to uphold the fundamental human rights of migrants. Moreover, public health experts, including the President’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have stated that policies like Title 42 are “not the solution to an outbreak.”

Biden Administration Announces Policies to Protect Immigrant Children Who Have Been Abused, Neglected, or Abandoned

On March 7, U.S. Citizenship, Immigration, and Customs Services (USCIS) announced new policies to protect Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJs). SIJ is a classification available to immigrant children subject to state juvenile court proceedings related to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

The new policies would consider granting — on a case-by-case basis — deferred action and employment authorization for SIJ youth. Additionally, the new policies include updating an age-out provision to protect SIJ petitioners who turn 21 while their petition is pending. Furthermore, USCIS updated its regulations for evidentiary requirements for eligible victims of parental abuse, neglect, or abandonment to receive SIJ classification and a pathway to apply for lawful permanent residence (LPR) status.

In announcing the new policies, USCIS Director Ur Jaddou stated that “these policies will provide humanitarian protection to vulnerable young people for whom a juvenile court has determined that it is in their best interest to remain in the United States.”

2020 U.S. Census Undercounted Hispanic, Black, and Native American Residents

On March 10, the U.S. Census Bureau released results from an analysis about the quality of the 2020 Census count. The result shows that the latest Census undercounted the Black and African-American population by 3.3%, the Hispanic population by 4.99%, and the Native American population by 5.64%. On the other hand, it overcounted the White population by 1.64% and the Asian population by 2.62%.

While the U.S. Census Bureau has historically undercounted Hispanic, Black, and Native American residents, the 2020 results showed a more significant undercount compared to previous Censuses. While the undercount is partially explained by the fact that these groups tend to be harder to reach through surveys, phone calls, and door-to-door canvassing, immigration advocacy groups have noted that the Trump Administration’s (ultimately unsuccessful) proposal to add a citizenship question to the Census may have discouraged responses from undocumented immigrants.

Biden Administration has Reunited 2,762 Children Separated Under Trump Presidency; At Least 1,000 Remain Separated

On March 2, the Biden administration reported in a court filing that the Family Reunification Task Force has so far reunited 2,762 children with their parents after being separated from them under former President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” border policy.

The zero-tolerance policy — which was met with widespread criticism from members of Congress, faith groups, and the general public — resulted in the deliberate separation of more than 3,900 migrant children from their parents in 2018. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class-action lawsuit against the government, “seeking damages on behalf of thousands of traumatized children and parents who were forcibly torn from each other.”

State & Local

Florida Legislature Approves Anti-Sanctuary-City Bill

On March 9, Florida’s House of Representatives voted 77 t0 42 to advance a bill, SB 1808, which would ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in the state. The bill, which has yet to be signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, would require counties to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce immigration laws. The bill would also ban state and local governments from contracting transportation companies that bring undocumented immigrants into the state.

Sanctuary jurisdictions are those which limit state and local officials’ involvement in federal immigration enforcement functions. Some immigration advocates and law enforcement officials have argued that requiring local law enforcement to conduct federal immigration enforcement functions can undermine public trust in local law enforcement and make communities less safe.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Count of Active DACA Recipients, March 9, 2022

This report provides information on the number of people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by the month and year that their current DACA status expires. The report also contains the number of active DACA recipients by country of birth, state and city of residence, current age, gender, and marital status.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Quarterly Report (Fiscal Year 2022, Q1), March 9, 2022

This report contains information on the requests by intake and case status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), All USCIS Application and Petition Form Types (Fiscal Year 2022, 1st Quarter, October 1 – December 31, 2021), March 9, 2022

This report contains performance data on all application and petition form types submitted to USCIS for adjudication. It displays the number of applications and petitions received, approved, denied, and pending by fiscal year and updated by quarter.

Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Violent Extremism Internal Review Working Group, Report to the Secretary of Homeland Security: Domestic Violent Extremism Internal Review: Observations, Findings, and Recommendations, March 11, 2022

This report by DHS’s Domestic Violent Extremism Internal Review Working Group highlights strategies to prevent, detect, and respond to potential threats related to domestic violent extremism within the Department.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Explainer: Florida Immigration Enforcement Legislation (SB 1808/HB 1355)

This resource explains two Florida legislature’s bills that would mandate 287(g) agreements, expand the sanctuary jurisdiction ban, and restrict the transportation of undocumented immigrants in the state.

Why Businesses Should Support Immigration Reform

This paper argues that reforming the U.S. immigration system is an economic imperative. Businesses benefit from needed immigration reforms to provide permanent solutions for Dreamers, the agricultural workforce, and other essential workers. These reforms can help address ongoing labor shortages, fill job openings in key sectors dependent on immigrant labor, strengthen the U.S. economy, and address long-term demographic shortfalls.

America’s Labor Shortage: How Low Immigration Levels Accentuated the Problem and How Immigration Can Fix It

This policy paper focuses on the importance of attracting and retaining immigrants to the United States to tackle America’s labor shortage.

* * *

*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.

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