Legislative Bulletin – Friday, December 15, 2017
Policy and Advocacy Associate
December 15, 2017
BILLS INTRODUCED AND CONSIDERED
Notario Victim Relief Act
This bill would amend section 240(c)(7)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the time limit on the filing of a motion to reopen a removal proceeding if the basis of the motion is fraud, negligence, misrepresentation, or extortion by, or the attempted, promised, or actual practice of law without authorization on the part of, a representative.
Sponsored by Representative Marc Veasey (D-Texas) (10 cosponsors)
12/12/2017 Introduced in the House by Representative Veasey
12/12/2017 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
LEGISLATIVE FLOOR CALENDAR
The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will be in session the week of Monday, December 18, 2017.
UPCOMING HEARINGS AND MARKUPS
There are no immigration-related hearings or markups scheduled for the week of Monday, December 18, 2017.
THEMES IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK
Congress Mulls Solution on DACA; Could Delay Action Until January 2018
Discussions on finding a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers could extend into January as Congress continues to work on reaching an agreement to fund the remaining months of fiscal year (FY) 2018 and find a DACA fix.
In the Senate, bipartisan negotiations to reach a compromise on the issue continued this week. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) hosted a meeting of Senate negotiators on December 14 that included Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and staff from Thom Tillis’s (R-North Carolina) office. Although the negotiations progressed, there were reportedly no break-throughs. Tillis stated the group is working on consensus on how to solve the issue, reconciling different bill approaches on Dreamers. He said that the group will also need a discussion on “chain migration…border security, and other things,” as part of a package deal and stated that he could not “imagine [the deal] being done by year end.” Flake, on the other hand, stated that the group is “very close” to an agreement.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated on December 12 that a solution for Dreamers will not be part of year-end spending bill discussions. Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida) said on December 11 that leaders of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which includes about 40 Republican and Democratic members, have waited more than two weeks to present a compromise to the group. Curbelo warned that any potential compromise needs to be revealed soon if Congress will pass legislation before the end of the year. The leaders of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Representatives Tom Reed (R-New York) and Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey), said in a statement that they are working “around the clock” to find a Dreamer-border security solution.
Although Democrats threatened early in December not to help Republicans pass spending bills without protection for Dreamers, Republicans, at least in the House, appear to have enough votes to avoid a shutdown over the issue. Democrats now appear to be moving away from concrete demands on a deal before year’s end, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stating that “Democrats are not willing to shut government down.” However, Democrats in the Senate may still vote against the spending bill if it includes a full year of defense funding without increasing funding for other programs.
Advocates continue to press Congress to pass a solution for Dreamers before the end of the year, with some urging members of Congress to vote no on any spending bill that does not include the Dream Act. In addition, faith, law enforcement and business leaders from the South, the Midwest and the West have called on Congress to pass a solution for Dreamers before the end of the year.
Former DACA Recipient Held in ICE Custody After Delayed Application
Osman Enriquez, a former Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who lost his DACA status due to postal service delays, was apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on December 11 after a routine traffic stop. Advocates say Enriquez’s case underscores the urgency of passing a permanent, legislative solution for Dreamers.
After the Trump administration ended DACA on September 5, 2017, it gave certain DACA recipients whose DACA expired before March 5, 2018 about one month to renew their applications for a final two-year term. Enriquez, 27-years-old, mailed his renewal application on September 18, but the petition did not arrive at the USCIS service center until October 10 – three weeks after he mailed it. As a result, Enriquez lost his DACA protections and was waiting on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to send him instructions to reapply. On December 11, Enriquez was pulled over by a Pennsylvania State Police officer and issued a ticket for his expired driver’s license (which expired the same time as his DACA expired). The state police officer contacted ICE, which took Enriquez into custody and commenced his deportation proceedings. On December 14, ICE released Enriquez from immigration detention, but it was unclear whether the deportation case against him will move forward or not.
Enriquez is married to a lawful permanent resident and has an infant son who is a U.S. citizen. He is one of the estimated 12,000 DACA recipients who have lost their DACA protection since the Trump administration rescinded the program.
DHS Secretary Praises Texas S.B. 4, Border Wall in Texas Tour
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a December 12 speech in Austin, Texas that other states should follow Texas’ lead in passing a state law to ban so-called sanctuary cities. Nielsen praised Texas for taking “a firm stand against…sanctuary cities,” which limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement, and urged Congress to deny “certain grants and funding” to such cities.
Texas Senate Bill (S.B.) 4, which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) in May 2017, requires all Texas law enforcement agencies to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers and punishes local governments for not enforcing federal immigration laws. Local law enforcement entities argued in part that the law would make it more difficult to build relationships of trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement, and amounts to an unfunded mandate on local law enforcement by forcing them to direct limited resources away from their communities to enforce federal immigration laws.
On December 13, Nielsen visited the southwestern border near Hidalgo, Texas. She stated that the wall is a proven tool to “stem the tide of illegal border crossers” and called for expeditiously removing immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation. Nielsen also said that she had a message for undocumented immigrants entering the U.S: “[your] time is up, we will no longer stand for this.”
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General: Concerns About ICE Detainee Treatment and Care at Detention Facilities, December 14, 2017
This OIG report details concerns about the treatment and care of detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities. The report is based on recent unannounced OIG visits to five ICE facilities and identified a number of concerns, including the housing of criminal detainees with low-risk detainees, language barriers that led to confusion, reports of obstruction and delay in resolving detainee grievances, lack of professionalism and inappropriate treatment of detainees.
SPOTLIGHT ON NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM RESOURCES
The National Immigration Forum published the following summaries of the latest bills that were introduced in Congress to address DACA 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 email@example.com. Thank you.