The Week Ahead: Feb. 12-16

Communications Assistant

February 12, 2018


McConnell Bringing Immigration Debate to Senate Floor

The Senate is set to vote at 5:30 to begin debate on immigration legislation, including the fate of Dreamers and funding for a border wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) pledged to devote two weeks of Senate floor time solely to immigration negotiations.

This is the first time immigration legislation will be on the Senate floor in almost five years. Amendments are expected to begin being introduced by Wednesday. McConnell has reportedly agreed to unlimited amendments, with debate possibly continuing up to the March 5 final deadline the president set when he rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Sept. 5. There is no guarantee the Senate will reach and pass a bipartisan agreement.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) committed to a bipartisan immigration solution at a press conference last week, assuring that “we will bring a solution to the floor, one that the president will sign.”

White House Proposes New Immigration Framework

The White House has proposed a newly revised immigration framework, which includes a pledge to maintain current legal immigration levels for more than a decade. A group of Republican senators released a version of the proposal over the weekend, which will likely be one of several amendments considered during the upcoming debate.

Like the previous White House proposal, the framework includes protections for 1.8 million Dreamers and the opportunity for them to earn eventual citizenship, as well as funding for a border wall and an end to the diversity visa lottery. However, while the new proposal purports to maintain current levels of legal immigration, the Los Angeles Times reports that the “total number of people allowed to resettle in the U.S. each year likely would decline by hundreds of thousands” if Congress does not add or expand current visa categories.

Because of opposition to family-based immigration cuts, the Senate proposal introduced Sunday is unlikely to gain the 60 votes required to advance. In order to translate the framework into a bipartisan compromise during upcoming negotiations, senators will have to balance a permanent solution for Dreamers with the legal immigration and border wall demands that have created an impasse in recent negotiations.


Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


LYNCHBURG NEWS & DISPATCH (Yupanqui and Prior Op-Ed): Christians Must Not Fail America’s Dreamers
By Bruno Yupanqui and Karen Swallow Prior
Feb. 11, 2018

As a 25-year-old, I, Bruno, am exhausted.
I teach college-level English to high school students. Every Monday, I leave right after school to work on my second master’s degree. The rest of my weekdays, I return home very late to lesson plan or continue grading a never-ending amount of college-level papers.
And that’s fine. I can handle that.
But I don’t know how much longer I have to continue defending my humanity. I don’t know how much more I have to clarify that I’m more than just a statistic, whether that’s used positively or negatively. I don’t know how much more I have to continue telling others that I am American.
Because I am.

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HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Immigration agents arrest Houston father of five on his way to work
By Lomi Kriel
Feb. 9, 2018

The call came soon after Carlos Gudiel Andres kissed his wife and five children goodbye, walking out into the early-morning darkness to load his tools onto his truck.
“Immigration has me,” he told his wife, asking her to send their oldest son Erick to retrieve his wallet. “Don’t come yourself or they will get you too.”
The advocacy group FIEL Houston said Friday that it was the latest example of what it said appears to be an increasingly common federal practice to target predominantly Hispanic apartment complexes early in the morning on the pretext of looking for specific suspects, then questioning bystanders without any evidence that they are illegally here.
“They pretend like they are looking for someone and then they just start asking people at random,” said Cesar Espinosa, the group’s executive director. “What we are looking at is that very fine line between enforcement and racial profiling.”

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WASHINGTON POST: Trump takes ‘shackles’ off ICE, which is slapping them on immigrants who thought they were safe
By Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti
Feb. 11, 2018

A week after he won the election, President Trump promised that his administration would round up millions of immigrant gang members and drug dealers. And after he took office, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers surged 40 percent.
Officials at the agency commonly known as ICE praise Trump for putting teeth back into immigration enforcement, and they say their agency continues to prioritize national security threats and violent criminals, much as the Obama administration did.
But as ICE officers get wider latitude to determine whom they detain, the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions. The agency made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in the previous year. The category includes suspects facing possible charges as well as those without criminal records.

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NEW YORK TIMES: The Childhood Journeys That Made Them ‘Dreamers’
By Caitlin Dickerson
Feb. 10, 2018

A young memory often preserves fragments.
Stuffing a Transformer sweater into a suitcase. Getting lost in the desert. Saying goodbye to a first crush.
The roughly 700,000 unauthorized young immigrants who have come to be known as “Dreamers” took many paths to the United States, but they share one thing: a journey during childhood that defined the rest of their lives.
The group lived in the shadows until the Obama administration offered them temporary permission to stay under a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. President Trump eliminated DACA in September, and has called on Congress to create a permanent solution to their predicament in exchange for tough measures to curb immigration.
As the Senate prepares to negotiate the fate of the Dreamers this week, a group of them recalled the pivotal experience that took place before they could understand its significance. 

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