The Week Ahead: March 19-23

Communications Associate

March 19, 2018


“There’s no solution in the bill that recognizes the reality of families.”

— Craig Regelbrugge, national co-chairman of the Ag Coalition for Immigration Reform, referring to the Agricultural Guest Worker Act proposed in 2017 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), March 14


Omnibus Bill Up for a Vote This Week

Congress will vote on the fiscal year 2018 omnibus funding bill later this week, before the Friday deadline that would trigger a government shutdown.

While Democrats have indicated that they will not shut down the government over finding a legislative solution for Dreamers, the omnibus could provide an opportunity for bipartisan compromise. Members of both parties have raised the idea of a temporary extension of Dreamer protections in exchange for border wall funding.

President Trump initially expressed openness to a proposal that would have provided three years of border wall funding in exchange for a three-year extension of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), but subsequently backtracked on that proposal. Democrats rejected a subsequent White House proposal of a temporary DACA extension through fall 2020 in exchange for the entire $25 billion President Trump requested to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

While negotiations over a potential DACA patch and wall funding are ongoing, disagreements over the scope of those who would receive relief, the amount of money for border wall funding and the level of funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and detention beds remain subject to discussion.

CBP Official Expected To Be Confirmed

The Senate will vote later today on the nomination of Kevin McAleenan as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

McAleenan has served as acting commissioner since Jan. 20, 2017, and was nominated as commissioner by President Trump in April 2017. He previously served as deputy commissioner under President Obama starting in November 2014 and held leadership positions at CBP and one of its legacy agencies, the U.S. Customs Service.


Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


NPR: Immigration Advocates Warn ICE is Retaliating For Activism
By John Burnett
March 16, 2018

Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics.

The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say they have documented two dozen cases of immigrant activists and volunteers who say they have been arrested or face fines for their work.

They say many of the activists who are undocumented don’t have criminal records and only came to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of their activism.

“We’re always at the marches and giving interviews, without fear of what could happen,” says Zully Palacios Rodriguez, one of the activists caught by ICE. “So to go against us is a way to intimidate the community.”

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NBC News: What California’s Racist History Can Teach Us In The Battle To Save Immigrants From Trump
By Gustavo Arellano
March 13, 2018

Today, as in the past, California sees itself seen as a beacon of hope, as the last Promised Land in the United States. That’s how it’s been since 1849, when the world rushed in for gold. The state’s rulers welcomed the so-called Argonauts, as well as subsequent generations of other Americans: Midwesterners lured by our warm climatesuburbanites who bought up tract housing and joined the defense industry, sports franchises who wanted to leave the cold East, tech giants in Silicon Valley, and others.

But the group that California’s politicians now champion is unprecedented in our history: Immigrants.

The rest of the country would never believe that a state that has essentially declared itself a sanctuary for undocumented folks was, for nearly all of its existence, the most xenophobic in America. But not only is that true, it’s also why the legislature — now run by Gen X Latinos who came of age during the last gasp of white America in California — has become so stridently pro-immigrant. It’s not just because it’s the right thing to do, but to atone for the sins of their predecessors.

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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: As America Changes, Some Anxious Whites Feel Left Behind
By Michele Norris

Even after the coal mines closed and the factory jobs disappeared and the businesses began taking down their signs on Broad Street, even after the population started its steady decline and the hospital was on the brink of bankruptcy, the residents of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, flocked downtown for the annual Funfest.

For years Sally Yale participated in the fall parade in a souped-up teacup salvaged from a spinning ride at the shuttered amusement park. Tricked out with smoking dry ice, it was the perfect advertisement for her gourmet coffee shop.

Yale is 53, but her angular face lights up like a child’s when she talks about Funfest. The applause from the crowd. The Hazletonians who returned for the celebration. “And the food,” Yale says, lifting her brows and rolling her eyes to mimic pure bliss. The cannoli and pierogi, the sausages and funnel cakes—treats that represented the waves of European immigrants that had settled in Hazleton’s rolling hills.

Then it all changed. Funfest, in Sally Yale’s eyes, became too scary. Too uncomfortable. To be honest … too brown. “You just know if you go to a public event, you know you are going to be outnumbered,” Yale says. “You know you’re going to be the minority, and do you want to go?”

For Yale, the answer was no.

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