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Legislative Bulletin – Friday, May 4, 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

H.R. 5653

Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act of 2018

This bill would make any immigrant who at any time after admission is convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors under federal or state law subject to deportation.

Sponsored by Representative Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) (28 cosponsors – 28 Republicans, 0 Democrats)

04/27/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Gosar

04/27/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 5663

Make Sanctuary Cities Pay for the Wall Act of 2018

This bill would prohibit localities that select to limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement from receiving federal funding under certain parts of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 and the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, and transfer those funds for the planning, design and construction of a barrier in the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sponsored by Representative Robert Pittenger (R-North Carolina) (0 Cosponsors)

04/27/2018 Introduced in the House by Representative Pittenger

04/27/2018 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR

The U.S. Senate will be in session the week of Monday, May 7, 2018.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Monday, May 7, 2018 to Thursday, May 10, 2018.

UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS

A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Funding Request for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. (Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security)

Location: 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Witness: Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Closing the Skills Gap: Private Sector Solutions for America’s Workforce

Date: Wednesday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m. (House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development)

Location: 2175 Rayburn House Office Building

Witnesses: TBA

Subcommittee Markup of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill

Date: Wednesday, May 9 at 5:00 p.m. (House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies)

Location: 2362-B Rayburn House Office Building

Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Members Day Hearing for State and Foreign Operations

The budget request for the Department of State includes funding for refugee services.

Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs)

Location: HT-2 The Capitol

THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK

Legal

Texas, Six Other States Sue Trump Administration to End DACA

A seven-state coalition led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Trump administration on May 1 to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Texas was joined in the suit by Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.

In the lawsuit, the seven-state coalition argues that DACA supersedes the president’s authority and leads to additional costs in health care, law enforcement and education among the states, as well as increased competition for jobs. However, research indicates that the DACA-eligible population contributes more than $1.6 billion annually to state and local taxes and that ending DACA would cost the economy $215 billion over a ten-year period. The lawsuit also contends that the court could immediately cancel all DACA permits, but says that the states are amenable to blocking the administration from renewing enrollment or issuing new permits in the future, effectively phasing out DACA over a two-year period. On May 2, the states requested that the court issue a preliminary injunction to immediately stop the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from renewing DACA enrollments while the case moves forward and called on the court to rule on DACA before the end of July.

The case, filed in federal court in Brownsville, Texas, was assigned to U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen. In 2015, Judge Hanen issued an injunction to block the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded DACA. DAPA and expanded DACA would have protected up to 5 million people from deportation and allow them to work legally in the U.S. During that case, Hanen expressed skepticism about DACA, stating it seemed to be beyond the bounds of then-President Obama’s power.

President Trump rescinded DACA on September 5, 2017, but a federal court in California blocked the Trump administration’s rescission of DACA and ordered that it allow those already enrolled in the program to renew their protections. Three federal judges have so far ruled against the administration’s efforts to end DACA. If Hanen rules in Texas’ favor, such an order would likely subject DHS to conflicting instructions regarding the same program,increasing the likelihood the Supreme Court would have to hear the case.

Federal

Trump Administration to End TPS for Honduras

The Trump administration will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras, a decision that will strip protection from deportation for about 57,000 people who have been allowed to live and work in the U.S. since 1999. The decision is required to be made by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen by May 6.

Former DHS acting Secretary Elaine Duke extended TPS designation for Honduras in November to have more time to evaluate the country’s conditions. Before that announcement, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly called Duke and urged her to end TPS designation for Honduras. Honduras was designated for TPS after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country and killed about 7,000 people in 1998. Poor conditions in Honduras persist and the country still has one of the highest murder rates on the world.

The termination of TPS designation for Honduras follows the Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua and, most recently last week, Nepal. These decisions have affected hundreds of thousands of TPS holders – many of them who have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade and who are parents of U.S. citizen children.

More Than 150 Caravan Migrants Allowed to Enter U.S., DOJ Announces Prosecutions

At least 158 migrants from the Central American caravan have been allowed into the U.S.this week at the San Ysidro legal port of entry in San Diego to plead their case for asylum. The migrants, mostly women and children looking for protection from persecution and violence in their home countries, are part of a caravan of Central American migrants that reportedly prompted President Trump to deploy National Guard troops to the southwest border. Most of the migrants waited on the Mexican border with San Diego for a number of days before being allowed into the U.S., camping overnight on blankets and backpacks. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said earlier in the week that the San Ysidro crossing had hit its maximum number of people – 300 – that it could process at any one point. The first migrants from the caravan allowed to enter the U.S. were a small group of eight women and children. The number of migrants allowed into the country picked up as the week progressed.

On May 1, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it filed criminal charges against eleven suspected members of the Central American caravan who were apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. The complaint alleges that the individuals tried to elude examination and inspection by immigration officers before coming to the U.S. In addition, while characterizing the situation as a “crisis,” the DOJ announced on May 2 that it would send 35 additional U.S. attorneys and 18 immigration judges to the southern border to prosecute improper entry, illegal reentry and smuggling cases and adjudicate immigration court cases. The DOJ statements follow an April 6 directive by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that directed federal prosecutors to make those entering the U.S. without authorization a priority for criminal prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated on May 3 that sending 2,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border will cost $182 million. The funding will come from the National Guard’s operation and maintenance and military personnel accounts, which are generally used for training. DOD maintained that using those funds for border security operations would not affect the National Guard’s force readiness.

Trump Threatens Government Shutdown in September over Border Wall Funding

At a rally in Michigan on April 28, President Trump threatened to shut down the federal government in September if Congress did not provide more funding to build a wall on the southern border. Trump told supporters at the rally, “We need the wall” and “[if] we come up again on September 28, and if we don’t get border security we will have no choice, we will close down the country because we need border security.” Trump cited the migrant “caravan” of asylum seekers as one the key reasons he believed that a wall was necessary.

The president previously made similar threats regarding government shutdowns in the past—including in late-2017 and on March of this year—but was unable to secure more than $1.6 billion in additional border security funding the March 2018 spending bill. The administration previously estimated the border wall cost around $18 billion over ten years, while DHS has estimated the cost to be as high as $21.6 billion.

 Acting Director of ICE Announces Retirement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Thomas Homan, announced on April 30 that he will retire from federal service. Homan is expected to leave ICE in June.

President Trump nominated Homan on November 14 to serve as ICE Director, but the nomination stalled in the Senate with no confirmation hearing. On April 27, nearly 20 Democratic Senators sent a letter to DHS requesting additional information on Homan that would allow hearings on his nomination to go forward and questioned whether the Homan’s ongoing service in an acting capacity violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Homan announced his retirement three days after the letter was released.

Under Homan, ICE implemented the Trump administration’s enforcement policies, including its executive order on interior enforcement. ICE data released on February 23 showed that immigration arrests of those without criminal records in 2017 were up 171 percent from 2016. During his tenure, Homan said that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. “should be afraid” and that ICE would detain any undocumented immigrant it encountered in the country. Critics have argued that these instead of fail to prioritizing threats to community safety.

ICE Wrongfully Arrested over 1,000 U.S. Citizens in Recent Years

A Los Angeles Times investigation published on April 27 found that ICE repeatedly targeted U.S. citizens for apprehension and wrongfully arrested more than 1,480 Americans since 2012. The report, based on DOJ records, internal ICE documents, and interviews with immigration attorneys, discovered that hundreds of U.S. citizens were forced to prove their identities in immigration courts, sometimes spending months or years in detention — even though ICE policy requires that a legal review take place within 48 hours if a detained individual claims to be a U.S. citizen. According to the report, the wrongful arrests were largely due to incomplete government records, bad data, and lax investigations. The report noted that it is unclear whether the Trump administration’s aggressive push to increase deportations could result in more U.S. citizens being wrongfully arrested.

Number of Border Crossings in April Remain Steady

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data released on May 4 showed that the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border remained steady in April compared to the month before, following the Trump administration’s claim of a “crisis” on the southern border. CBP data showed 38,234 people crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in April, a slight increase over the 37,383 people who crossed in March. A DHS statement said that the numbers for April “underscore the continuing security crisis along our southwest border.” However, border crossings in fiscal year (FY) 2018 remain at a near-record low and close to the number of crossings in FY 2017.

In the same statement, DHS noted that the government will “no longer exempt classes or groups of individuals from prosecution,” such as parents crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with their children. The policy change could result in cases of family separation, since the parents would be referred for criminal prosecution while the children would likely be transferred to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody and eventually placed in foster care.

CBP to Test Body-Worn Cameras; Report Says CBP Paid $60 Million in Settlement Claims

CBP announced on May 1 that it will begin a six-month testing period of body-worn cameras and other video recording systems at nine locations, including at ports of entry and along the border between ports of entry. CBP noted that the potential benefits of the cameras include providing evidence in criminal cases, improved training and strengthening of job performance and accountability. Immigration advocates noted that the announcement is a positive first step toward public safety, agency accountability and commitment to the public trust.

The body camera announcement came as reports indicated that CBP paid more than $60 million in settlements between 2005 and 2017 to resolve cases in which CBP faced liability for death, injuries, assaults, and wrongful imprisonment. The settlements included allegations of reckless driving by Border Patrol agents, which resulted in at least six deadly incidents and 18 injuries that resulted in amputations and disability, and allegations of assault and racial profiling.

State & Local

Oregon Governor Signs Laws on Driver’s License, In-State Tuition for Certain Immigrants

Gov. Kate Brown (D-Oregon) signed two bills on May 1 that would allow certain undocumented immigrants in Oregon to obtain driver’s licenses and in-state tuition. House Bill 4111 would allow DACA recipients and TPS holders to renew and replace a limited-term driver’s license even if their status may have expired due to federal immigration policy changes. Senate Bill 1563 would allow undocumented students in Oregon, including DACA recipients, to continue to qualify for in-state tuition, scholarships and other state financial aid. Brown signed the two bills at the annual May Day rally.

GOVERNMENT REPORTS

Congressional Research Service (CRS): The Travel Ban Case and Nationwide Injunctions, May 2, 2018 (By Wilson C. Freeman)

This CRS legal sidebar examines when, if ever, a regional federal trial judge adjudicating a case involving the federal government can issue a nationwide injunction. The Trump administration argues in its cert petition in Trump v. Hawaii, the “travel ban” case, that nationwide injunctive relief is impermissibly overbroad. The legal sidebar concludes that there is an argument for a constitutional necessity for uniformity with respect to immigration law.

SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES

Case Status of Sanctuary Jurisdiction Litigation

This document provides an overview of litigation concerning “sanctuary jurisdictions” and related issues at both the state and federal levels. The document will be updated every few weeks.

Fact Sheet: Temporary Protected Status

This fact sheet provides an overview of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), including the process for designating a country for TPS, who is eligible, how many individuals are currently granted TPS, and updated information on when TPS designations expire.

H. Res. 774: “Queen of the Hill” Resolution on Dreamers

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.

Polling Update: Heated Immigration Debates, Public Opinion Still Supports Immigrants

This is a summary of public opinion polling from winter 2017/2018 on views about immigrants, diversity, immigration reform, the undocumented, and Dreamers.

* * *

*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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