This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending February 17

Week Ending February 17

This week in immigration: NCLR responds to immigration enforcement actions; shares information on Telemundo town hall on immigration; and responds to A Day Without Immigrants.

NCLR responds to enforcement actions: This week we continued to see chaos that erupted as a direct consequence of President Trump’s Executive Orders and his full-speed ahead order to immigration agents to arrest and detain any and all undocumented immigrants they encounter.

Millions of American families are feeling anxious as a result of the scorched-earth approach this administration is pursuing. This follows the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a long-time Arizona resident and mother of two U.S. citizens when she went for a check in with the local immigration office. Earlier this week, another mother of U.S. citizens with strong ties to her community took sanctuary in a church in Colorado.  NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguia took to twitter to state that deporting hard-working moms who pose no threat does not make anyone safer but does destroy families.

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Weekly Washington Outlook — May 9, 2016

U.S. Capitol 1793-1863 Washington, DC, USA

U.S. Capitol 1793-1863 Washington, DC, USA

 What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House returns from its recess on Tuesday and will consider the following legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • 2755– Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt / House Administration Committee)
  • R. 4063– Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
  • R. 4957– To designate the Federal building located at 99 New York Avenue, N.E., in the District of Columbia as the “Ariel Rios Federal Building” (Sponsored by Rep. Andre Carson / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  • R. 4985– Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016(Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • 32– Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 5048– Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Guinta / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 5052– OPEN Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Judiciary Committee)
  • 125– Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 2137– Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 3209– Recovering Missing Children Act (Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen / Ways and Means Committee)

On Wednesday, the House will also vote on legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 4843– Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Education and the Workforce Committee)
  • R. 4978– NAS Healthy Babies Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Evan Jenkins / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 3680– Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 3691– Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 1818– Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4969– John Thomas Decker Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Pat Meehan / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4586– Lali’s Law (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4599– Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Katherine Clark / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4976– Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4982– Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016(Sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4981– Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Larry Bucshon / Energy and Commerce Committee)

In addition, the House will vote Wednesday on H.R. 4641, legislation to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes (Subject to a Rule)(Sponsored by Rep. Susan Brooks / Energy and Commerce Committee)

On Thursday and Friday the House will vote on the following:

  • R. 5046– Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner / Judiciary Committee)
  • Consideration of House Amendment to S. 524 – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016
  • Motion to go to Conference on S. 524, and Possible Democrat Motion to Instruct Conferees

Senate:

The Senate returns from its recess on Monday and will resume consideration of the Energy and Water appropriations bill.  A vote on a substitute amendment to the legislation is scheduled for Monday evening.  Later in the week, Senator McConnell (R-KY) may schedule a procedural vote on a “minibus,” combining spending bills for Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs.
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This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending January 8

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Week Ending January 8

This week in immigration reform: NCLR opposes community raids; and administrative relief case could be granted certiorari by the Supreme Court later this month.

NCLR issues statement condemning ICE community raids: Following the December announcement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would begin conducting raids to remove certain Central American immigrants fleeing violence NCLR joined a chorus of civil rights and Congressional leaders voicing concern with the Administration’s actions. In a press release, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía said, “The government should not deport anyone with a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries, as required by U.S. law, international agreements, and frankly, basic humanity. We are especially concerned that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are engaging in community raids, a practice that NCLR has long opposed and that the administration wisely reduced several years ago.”

The Obama administration’s decision to conduct these deportations was also met with criticism by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other Democratic members of Congress. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) called the raids “a cruel reminder of a discredited policy,” while Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) argued that the raids target undocumented immigrants “whose only mistake was to escape a certain death in their native countries.” Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Linda T. Sanchez added in a press release, “Raiding people’s homes to forcibly break families apart is not what our country stands for. Our federal government should not be separating parents from their children. Invading homes is inhumane and adds to the trauma of these families fleeing violence and oppression. Many recent immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are escaping one of the most dangerous regions in the world.”

President’s immigration actions could see Supreme Court this term: Next Friday, January 15, the Supreme Court will consider the Administration’s petition for writ of certiorari regarding the DAPA and expanded DACA programs. If Justices decide to grant certiorari, oral arguments could be held in April, with a decision handed down in June. If the Supreme Court does not reach a decision on the case next Friday, an additional conference day is scheduled for the following Friday, January 22nd. The National Immigration Law Center created an interactive timeline to follow the case, available here.

Weekly Washington Outlook — April 13, 2015

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill - Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill – Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House returns Monday from a two-week recess to consider six bills under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 299 – Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1259 – Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act (Sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1265 – Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 601 – Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1367 – To amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands (Sponsored by Del. Amata Radewagen / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1480 – SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Financial Services Committee)

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following tax-related legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 1058 – Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1152 – IRS Email Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kenny Marchant / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1026 – Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1314 – Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1295 – IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act (Sponsored by Rep. George Holding / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 709 – Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Renacci / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1104 – Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1562 – Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 1563 – Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

The House has also scheduled votes on additional financial services and tax legislation, subject to a rule:

  • R. 650 – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 685 – Mortgage Choice Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 622 – State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1105 – Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)

Senate:

The Senate also returns Monday and will vote on a judicial nomination Monday evening. Later in the week, the Senate is expected to vote on House-passed legislation to reform the Medicare sustainable growth rate and extend CHIP authorization for two years.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Tuesday, President Obama will host Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House. The Prime Minister’s visit underscores the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq and the strong U.S. commitment to political and military cooperation with Iraq in the joint fight against ISIL. The president and prime minister will discuss a range of issues, including continued U.S. support to Iraq to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, the Government of Iraq’s actions to address the needs of the Iraqi people and to strengthen cooperation between all communities in Iraq, and advancing a broad U.S.-Iraqi partnership through expanded political, commercial, and cultural relations under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement. In the evening, the president and first lady will invite music legends and top contemporary artists to the White House as part of its “In Performance at the White House” series. The event will pay tribute to the fundamental role gospel music has played in the American musical tradition and the important artists and repertoire that have marked its vibrant history.

On Wednesday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Thursday, the president will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House in celebration of the eighth annual Soldier Ride. A cycling event to help Wounded Warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being, the Soldier Ride also raises awareness of our nation’s Wounded Warriors who battle the physical and psychological damages of war. Afterward, the President will deliver remarks at a Champions of Change event highlighting issues important to working families.

On Friday, President Obama will host Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House. During their meeting, the president and Prime Minister Renzi will discuss support for Ukraine and continued U.S.-EU unity on pressuring Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to adhere to the Minsk agreements; the situation in Libya; and the need for the international community to continue efforts to counter ISIL and other extremists throughout the Middle East. They will also exchange views on economic developments in Europe, support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, climate change and energy security, and other issues of mutual interest.

Coming Up Next Week:

Nominations – After a two week break, it is still not clear how the Senate will move forward with consideration of a stalled anti-trafficking bill that has become mired in abortion politics. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said repeatedly that the Senate must complete work on this legislation before he will move to confirm Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General.

Health – The Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation that would permanently alter Medicare’s sustainable growth rate. This legislation also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. It passed overwhelmingly in the House on March 26. Senate Democrats, however, are hoping to have an opportunity to amend the bill to extend CHIP for four years rather than two years. Some have commented that their support of final passage is contingent on an amendment process. Elsewhere, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday on IRS challenges implementing the ACA.

Education – The Senate HELP Committee will begin marking-up a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill on Tuesday.  Last week, Senator Murray (D-Wash.) and Senator Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced they had reached an agreement to rewrite the law.  The compromise maintains annual statewide assessments, requires states to set rigorous goals, and includes English Learner language and academic proficiency in state accountability systems. However, the draft allows states greater flexibility in designing their accountability systems without clear guidelines of when states must intervene to address schools failing to meet the needs of specific groups of students. Additional details. In the House, there was speculation that H.R. 5 may be on the floor again this work period. This legislation was not listed in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s memo outlining the schedule for the next few weeks, suggesting it is still short of votes for passage. Elsewhere, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will testify Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education Sucbommittee.

Immigration – Immigration Customs and Enforcemenet Director Sarah Saldana will appear on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee and Wednesday at the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.

Budget – As the April 15, statutory deadline looms for the House and Senate to agree on a concurrent budget resolution, negotiations between each chamber’s Budget Committees continue. The House and Senate are expected to formally name conferees this week. There is no penalty for failing to meet the deadline, whether by adopting a budget late or not adopting one at all. If no agreement is reached, each chamber can deem its resolution as binding on the spending and revenue bills that come later.

Financial Services – The House this week is voting on a series of consumer-related bills. Notably, H.R. 299 would allow privately insured credit unions to join the Home Loan Bank System and H.R. 1265 would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to comply with federal transparency laws (the CFPB is currently exempt along with the Federal Reserve system). Finally, H.R. 601 would exempt financial institutions from providing annual privacy notices to customers if no changes have been made. Elsewhere, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday “Examining Regulatory Burdens of Non-Depository Financial Institutions.” The hearing is likely to focus on a range of industry complaints concerning the CFPB, including efforts to regulate indirect auto lending and payday lending.

Housing – The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing Thursday, “Regulatory Burdens to Obtaining Mortgage Credit.”  In the House, members will vote on a number of housing-related bills. H.R. 1480 will be considered under suspension of the rules and would allow federal and state financial services regulators to receive information through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. Later in the week, the House will vote on H.R. 650. This bill would modify the Truth in Lending Act to change the definitions of high-cost mortgage and mortgage originator for the purposes of manufactured housing. The stated purpose is to ensure affordable credit for these loans, but consumer groups have voiced considerable opposition. Similarly, the House will also vote on H.R. 685 which would allow more mortgages to be classified as qualified mortgages under the CFPB’s QM rule. As with H.R. 650, consumer advocates are skeptical of this legislation.

Tax – April 15 is Tax Day!  To celebrate, the House will vote on a number of IRS oversight bills. The House will also vote on legislation to repeal the estate tax (H.R. 1105) and reinstate and permanently extend the state and local sales tax deduction (H.R. 622).

Loving Couples Forced to Make Impossible Choices

Hanging in the balance-01

By Laura Vazquez, Senior Immigration Legislative Analyst, NCLR 

In this week’s edition of “Hanging in the Balance,” we meet a young couple whose dreams of living happily ever after were turned upside down because of the United States’ dysfunctional immigration laws.

As reported by Fusion, Rachel Custodio and her husband Paulo are just one of more than one million mixed-status couples where one is a citizen or permanent resident and one is an aspiring American. If one faces deportation, his or her significant other must face the impossible choice our current immigration system forces upon thousands of families: should the permanent resident leave the United States and follow his or her deported spouse, or stay behind and attempt to maintain a relationship from half a world away?

Advocacy Central Need Action1-1Four years ago, Rachel, a U.S. citizen, packed up her life in Boston and took a one-way flight to Brazil. She couldn’t speak Portuguese. She wasn’t traveling to a new job. As so many other husbands and wives have done, Rachel was leaving the United States for the first time to be with her deported husband.

Rachel and Paulo met in Boston back in 2005 and were married by 2009. She knew that Paulo lacked immigration status since he had entered the country by crossing from Mexico into Texas in 2002. So, shortly after marrying, the newlyweds hired a lawyer to get Paulo right with the law.

One day, as the couple was going through their I-130 interview at a federal office in Boston, their world began to crumble. There in the interview room, Rachael and Paulo learned that Paulo had an outstanding deportation order. He had no criminal record, but somewhere along the line—as he sought a driver’s license or another document that he needed for his everyday life—a judge had served Paolo deportation orders, orders that he never received. After giving the few possessions he was holding to his wife, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer took Paulo away to a detention center.

Though Rachel gathered friends, family, and Paulo’s coworkers to ask immigration officials to grant Paolo released supervision, the authorities deemed him ineligible for parole. After two difficult months in a detention center, Paolo was deported to Brazil.

Immigration FamiliesRachel worried about the effect separation would have on their marriage. She chose to move to Brazil and remains there today, despite her continued struggles with learning Portuguese, separation from her parents, and occasional feelings of isolation in her new home.

As a country, we have a commitment to strengthening families, and in the absence of action from Congress, the president has no choice but to act to keep families together. President Obama has the legitimate authority to fix elements of the outdated immigration system. He should provide relief from deportation to those who have strong ties to our country and are woven into our communities.

Too many American citizens are having their families torn apart without hope for a better future.