Legislative Bulletin – Friday, October 6, 2017

Bills Introduced and Considered

S. 1937

Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act

This bill would authorize appropriations for border infrastructure construction, provide conditional resident status to certain immigrant, and would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to include grounds of inadmissibility and deportability for immigrant members of criminal gangs and cartels.

Sponsored by Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) (0 cosponsors)

10/5/2017       Introduced in Senate by Senator Flake

10/5/2017       Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

S. 1877

Startup Act

This bill seeks to jump-start economic recovery through the formation and growth of new businesses. It would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to under certain circumstances adjust status of not more than 50,000 immigrants who have earned a master’s degree or a doctorate degree in a STEM field to be conditionally admitted for permanent residence, and issue a conditional immigrant visa to up to 75,000 qualified immigrant entrepreneurs.

Sponsored by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) (3 cosponsors)

9/27/2017       Introduced in Senate by Senator Moran

9/27/2017       Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 3548

Border Security for America Act

This bill calls for building additional physical barriers, which includes wall, levee wall, fencing, technology, as well a surge in personnel at our ports of entry. It would provide $10 billion for border wall and $5 billion on enhancing security at U.S border, add 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 CBP Officers, authorize use of the National Guard along the southern border, fully deploy the Biometric Entry-Exit System, and support state and local law enforcement.

Sponsored by Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) (70 cosponsors)

07/28/2017    Introduced in the House by Representative McCaul

10/4/2017       Marked up by Homeland Security Committee in 18 – 12 vote

H.R. _____

Agricultural Guestworker Act

This bill would replace H-2A guestworker program with a new H-2C guestworker program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and designed to meet the needs of the diverse agriculture industry

Sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia)

10/2/2017       Introduced in the House by Representative Goodlatte

10/4/2017       Markup postponed


Immigration in the National Interest Act of 2017

Sponsored by Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) (19 cosponsors)

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish a skills-based immigration points system, to focus family-sponsored immigration on spouses and minor children, eliminate the Diversity Visa Program and set a limit on the number of refugees admitted annually to the United States. This is the companion bill of S.1720: Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act.

09/14/2017     Introduced in House by Representative Smith

09/14/2017     Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

09/28/2017    Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security

H.R. 3943

Protecting the Property Rights of Border Landowners Act

Sponsored by Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) (9 cosponsors)

This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General from using eminent domain to acquire land for the purpose of constructing a wall, or other physical barrier, along the international border between the U.S. and Mexico.

10/04/2017     Introduced in House by Representative O’Rourke

10/04/2017     Referred to the Committees on Homeland Security and the Judiciary

H.R. 3934

No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act of 2017

Sponsored by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) (7 cosponsors)

This bill would amend title II of the Social Security Act to exclude from creditable wages and self-employment income wages earned for services by undocumented immigrants in the United States and self-employment income derived from a trade or business illegally conducted in the United States.

10/03/2017     Introduced in House by Representative Rohrabacher

10/03/2017     Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

H.R. 3923

Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2017

Sponsored by Representative Adam Smith (D-Washington) (52 cosponsors)

This bill would provide standards for facilities at which aliens in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security are detained.

10/03/2017     Introduced in House by Representative Smith

10/03/2017     Referred to the Committees on the Judiciary and Homeland Security

Legislative Floor Calendar

The.  U.S. Senate will be in recess until Monday, October 16, 2017.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session from Tuesday, October 10, 2017 through Friday, October 13, 2017.

Upcoming Hearings and Markups

Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice

Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Senate Judiciary)

Location: Hart Senate Office Building 216

Witnesses: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Department of Justice

Themes in Washington This Week


Flake Introduces New DACA Fix as the Program Renewal Deadline Passes

On Thursday, October 5, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced the Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act, an effort to find a compromise that would provide relief for Dreamers while providing for additional border security and enforcement efforts. The bill would authorize appropriations for border infrastructure construction, provide certain immigrants with conditional resident status, and amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to include grounds of inadmissibility and deportability for those immigrants deemed to be associated criminal gangs and cartels. The bill was introduced  on the same day that the thousands of Dreamers could apply for the last renewal of their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) protections.

Dreamers whose benefits are set to expire between September 5 and March 5, 2018 were allowed to renew their legal status for two more years until Thursday, October 5. Estimates show that 154,000 Dreamers were eligible for this final renewal, a small fraction of the Dreamer population. To renew their status, the applicants were required to submit necessary paperwork, pay $495 renewal fee, go through a new background check, and provide information on their financial circumstances.

Right before the deadline passed, a national poll from Quinnipiac University revealed continued support for the Dreamer population. The survey showed that 82 percent of American voters, including 69 percent of Republicans, believe undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship.

White House Proposes DACA Fix in Exchange for Immigration Cuts

The Trump administration is supposedly finalizing a proposal to reduce level of immigration into the U.S. by half in exchange for support of solution to Dreamers. The cuts in immigration, reportedly championed by White House advisor Stephen Miller, would be patterned after the RAISE Act, a White House-endorsed bill introduced by Sens. David Perdue (R – Georgia) and Tom Cotton (R – Arkansas) earlier this year. Such proposed cuts to legal immigration faced criticism from lawmakers in both parties in the past and, on October 5, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R – Texas) urged the White House to separate the issue of reducing legal immigration from a DACA fix.

Reports of the Trump proposal came days after a White House dinner attended by President Trump several key Republican lawmakers, including Cornyn, Perdue, and Cotton, as well as  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) where they discussed DACA and immigration policy.

Reportedly, Trump distanced himself from a reported DACA fix for border security deal he discussed with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- New York) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – California) last month. Instead, Trump told Republican lawmakers that no deal with the Democrats had been reached and that the administration wanted a deal with more enforcement pieces and coverage of a smaller Dreamer population. According to one of the attendees, Trump mentioned that the bill should only address current DACA recipients, and thus excluding other young undocumented immigrant populations. Another discussed condition was that the legislation should end “chain migration” and place limits on covered Dreamers’ ability to sponsor family members seeking to later immigration to the U.S. Lastly, the President would like the bill to include border and interior enforcement measures.

ICE Arrests Nearly 500 after Raids in “Sanctuary” Jurisdictions

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested almost 500 undocumented immigrants during its four-day long “Operation Safe City.” The raids took place in cities and states across the U.S. that have maintained detainer and community trust policies that have faced criticism from the  Trump administration. Affected jurisdictions, which have been characterized by some as “sanctuary” jurisdictions, included New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver, Washington and Baltimore as well as Cook County, Illinois; Santa Clara County in California’s Bay Area; Portland, Oregon; and Massachusetts. The operation came on heels of a planned mass raid, which was reportedly intended to target about 8,400 people but were halted by the Department of Homeland Security due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.


SCOTUS New Term Begins with Two Immigration Cases

On October 2, the Supreme Court began a new term with rehearing of two immigration cases. The first case heard by the Supreme Court – Sessions v. Dimaya – focused on the removal provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that impacts lawful permanent residents who have been convicted of “crimes of violence.” The Supreme Court heard the case during its last term but it was scheduled for rehearing presumably so that Justice Gorsuch, for whom this will be the first full term, could be the deciding vote.

The second case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, concerned the issue of the prolonged detention of immigrants facing deportation. It was brought by immigrants seeking entrance into the U.S at the border, and others who are lawful permanent residents in prolonged detention while waiting for a bail hearing to prove they were not at flight risk or a danger to society. The Court has previously held that the brief detention of undocumented immigrants is allowed and that undocumented immigrants are entitled to some form of due process to contesting their detention.

First Legal Challenges against New Travel Ban

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  filed a legal challenge against the Trump administration’s new restrictions on travel to the U.S. from eight countries. The ACLU filed a letter with the U.S. District Court in Maryland, calling President Trump’s new proclamation a violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal immigration law.

The new travel ban indefinitely restricts travel to the U.S. for citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea, as well as certain government officials from Venezuela. While restrictions went into effect immediately for some individuals, for others they are set to begin on October 18. The ACLU, which represents numerous nonprofit organizations and many individuals who would be impacted by the policy, is seeking an injunction to prevent the ban from taking effect.


California Governor Signs “Sanctuary State” Law

Governor Jerry Brown (D-California) signed Senate Bill (S.B.) 54 on October 5, the so-called sanctuary state law that will permit state and local law enforcement authorities to continue to limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement. S.B. 54, which takes effect in January, would prohibit state and local law enforcement from using either personnel or funds to hold, question, or share information about people with federal immigration agents, with significant exceptions that allow cooperation with federal authorities in situations where individuals have been convicted of one or more crimes from a list of over 800 crimes.

The bill also permits federal immigration authorities to continue working with state corrections officials and to enter county jails to question individuals. However, the California attorney general’s office will be required to release training guidelines to limit federal immigration authorities’ access to individuals’ personal information. Brown said S.B. 54 represents a balanced approach to allow law enforcement to continue targeting dangerous criminals. When asked whether the Trump administration would attempt to block the state law in court, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that the administration is “spending every day . . . trying to find the best way forward.”

Thomas Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), issued a statement condemning the law and warning that ICE would step up its enforcement activity in California.

Brown also signed S.B. 156 on October 5. The bill would assist eligible immigrant veterans in California and immigrant members of the California National Guard to obtain U.S. citizenship

Government Reports

Congressional Research Service: Overview of the Federal Government’s Power to Exclude Aliens, September 27, 2017 (by Ben Harrington)

This report examines the powers that the legislative and executive branch have to exclude aliens from entering the United States. It discusses the two legal principles that allows the branches to have this power: 1) nonresident aliens outside the United States lack standing to challenge exclusion from the country, but 2) U.S. citizens possess legal rights that limit the power of the federal government to exclude nonresident aliens when the exclusion impacts those rights. The report applies these principles to the current litigation concerning the Trump administration’s travel ban and evaluates constitutional and statutory challenges to that ban.

Congressional Research Service: President Trump’s Proclamation on Enhanced Vetting of Foreign Nationals from Designated Countries, September 29, 2017 (by William A. Kandel)

This report discusses the exceptions to the administration’s latest travel ban and the three different types of information that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested from foreign governments in order to determine whether nationals from those countries pose a security risk to the U.S.


*This Bulletin is not intended to be comprehensive. Please contact Zuzana Jerabek, National Immigration Forum Policy and Advocacy Associate, with comments and suggestions of additional items to be included. Zuzana can be reached at zjerabek@immigrationforum.org. Thank you.

Learn More

Read more about America's Changing Identity


America's Changing Identity

Read more about Bibles, Badges and Business Principles


Bibles, Badges and Business Principles

Read more about Fact Sheet: E-Verify

Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet: E-Verify