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Special Note on MicEvHill.Com During the Spring Recess


By Micheal E. Hill
Saturday, April 16, 2011  -- 6:30 am EDT
--Last Updated on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 7:15 am EDT--

Congress is in the midst of a two week-long recess.

The House and Senate are scheduled to return to Washington on Monday, May 2, 2011. When it returns, Congress will remain in session through Friday, May 27, 2011, at which time it is scheduled to begin a week-long Memorial Day recess.

Budget, spending, and debt issues will dominate the four week-long work period that Congress will commence upon its return to Washington on May 2nd.  The House is expected to begin to consider its fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills during this work period. Some of these bills are likely to be the target of controversial immigration-related legislative riders both in the Committee and on the House floor. Additionally, the House Committee on the Judiciary could move into a new phase during the upcoming work period, reporting immigration-related bills to the full House of Representatives.

MicEvHill.Com will provide only sporadic legislative updates, as developments warrant, until Congress returns to Washington in May.

Have a fun recess!



The Subject of Immigration is Again Unlikely to Come Up on This
Weekend's Sunday's Public Affairs Programs


By Micheal E. Hill

Saturday, April 16, 2011  -- 6:30 am EST

 

It has been many weeks since the subject of immigration made an appearance on one of the Sunday public affairs programs.  This week is not expected to differ much from the last several, as the continuing fiscal and budget crisis and the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign will likely dominate this weekend's programs.

The following is a preliminary guide to what can be expected on this weekend's programs:
  • ABC - This Week.  Among the guests on the April 17, 2011, edition of ABC's "This Week" program will be  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL), Representative Steve Southerland (R-FL), Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC), and Representative Allen West (R-FL)Appearing on the roundtable segment of the program will be Alice Rivlin of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, political strategist Matthew Dowd,  Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA), ABC's George Will.
  • CBS - Face the Nation.  Among the guests on the April 17, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation" program will be House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-MI) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration is unlikely to be discusssed on the program.
  • CNN - State of the Union.  Among the guests on the April 17, 2011, edition of  CNN's "State of the Union" will be Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY); Senator Rand Paul (R-KY); Former CIA Director, General Mihael Hayden (Retired); John Hofmeister, Former Chairman of Shell Oil; and Real Estate Magnate and prospective 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration is unlikely to be discussed on the program.
  • FOX - FOX News Sunday.  Among the guests appearing on the April 17, 2011, edition of FOX's "FOX News Sunday" will be Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), and House Budget Committee Ranking Republican Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be Mara Liasson, National Public Radio & Fox News; Kevin Madden, Former Press Secretary for Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA);  Juan Williams, Fox News Political Analyst; and Nina Easton of Fortune Magazine.  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration is unlikely to be discussed on the program.
  • NBC - Meet the Press.  Appearing on the April 17, 2011, edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" will be Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be Former. Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan; Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Former. Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-MI); Author Jon Meacham; and Author of the New Book "Fail Up," PBS’s Tavis Smiley.  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration is unlikely to be discussed on the program.

MicEvHill.Com will post any immigration-related video excerpts from the programs beginning late afternoon on Sunday, April 17.



House Agrees to FY ‘12 Budget Resolution that Could Pave the Way for a Fight Over Deep Cuts in Refugee Funding and Reopen the Question of Immigrant Eligibility for Medicaid and Food Stamps


By Micheal E. Hill
Friday, April 15, 2011  -- 3:45 pm EST


The full House of Representatives has approved a controversial fiscal year 2012 budget resolution that could pave the way for deep cuts in both the domestic and international discretionary spending functions that fund refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs, as well as open the door for rolling back immigrant and refugee eligibility for the Medicaid and Food Stamp programs.  House action occurred on Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15, in connection with H. Con. Res. 34, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2012.  The House agreed to the measure on April 15, by a vote of 235-193, after rejecting four different substitute amendments that were offered to it.


Background
Each year, the budget resolution sets a ceiling on spending and a floor on revenue for the coming fiscal year.  The budget resolution also includes caps on the amount of spending for each function of government for the coming fiscal year.  And
it sometimes includes reconciliation instructions ordering authorizing committees of the House to report legislation reducing entitlement spending for programs under their jurisdiction by specific amounts.  Budget resolutions do not carry the force of law, but they do set the parameters for considering tax and spending bills later in the year. One of a budget resolution's most important functions is to set a ceiling on discretionary spending for the House Appropriations Committee to follow.

The House Budget Committee approved its version of H. Con. Res. 34 on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. The Committee approved the measure on a party-line vote of 22-16.



Overview of Discretionary Spending in the Resolution
As adopted by the House, H. Con. Res. 34 would allocate $360 BILLION in fiscal year 2012 for "non-security" spending, which includes all discretionary spending outside of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. According to staff members of the Committee, that recommended spending level would equal "non-security" spending in fiscal year 2006.

The measure would make significant cuts in the ceiling for discretionary spending in the general functions from which refugee-related spending is derived. For example, the measure would reduce spending for the international affairs function of government (the function from which refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance funding is derived) from $58.6 BILLION that was appropriated in fiscal year 2010 to just $37 BILLION in fiscal year 2012. This would represent a reduction of $21.6 BILLION or 36.9 percent.


Overview of Entitlement Spending in the Resolution
In addition to reductions in the ceilings for discretionary spending, H. Con. Res. 34 also contains assumptions that would transform the Medicaid and Food Stamp programs. More specifically, the assumptions underlying the measure would turn the Medicaid and Food Stamp programs into block grant programs to the states, and they would afford each state greater flexibility in setting the programs' eligibility and benefit criteria. This could expose the programs to attempts to restrict legal immigrants' eligibility beyond the restrictions that currently exist in federal law.

Although H. Con. Res. 34 assumes major changes in federal entitlement programs, it does not include instructions to authorizing committees under the reconciliation process, which is a fast-track procedural tool that has been used in the past to move controversial entitlement legislation through the Senate by a majority vote.


Next Steps
Now that the House of Representatives has agreed to its version of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2012, the next step in the process is for the Senate to take up its version of the measure.

The Senate Committee on the Budget is not expected to take up its budget resolution until sometime in mid-May, at the earliest. However, many observers believe that even if the Senate adopts a budget resolution, the gulf between the House-approved measure and anything that could be agreed to by the Senate will be so great that it will not be possible to conference them into a unified document. Should that prediction prove to be true, the House and Senate would likely develop separate discretionary spending ceilings for their appropriations committees and subcommittees and develop separate targets for reducing entitlement and mandatory spending.



Text of the Ryan Substitute Amendment for H. Con. Res. 34, Agreed to by the full House

 

House Foreign Affairs Committee Approves Measure Calling for
Report on Haiti’s Ability to Absorb Deported or
Excluded Haitian Nationals


By Micheal E. Hill
Friday, April 15, 2011  -- 11:30 am EST


The House Committee on Foreign Affairs has approved legislation requiring a report from the President of the United States on the handling of U.S. funds aimed at assisting Haiti following an earthquake that struck the country in 2010.  Among the elements that the President would have to report on under the legislation is the question of whether Haiti can handle the responsibilities of taking back any citizens found to have migrated to the United States illegally since the earthquake. The Committee action occurred on Thursday, April 14, in connection with H.R. 1061, the “Assessing Haitian Progress Act”.  The Committee approved the measure by a voice vote after first approving a substitute amendment offered by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to the version of the measure that was approved earlier this year by one of the Committee’s subcommittees.


Background
H.R. 1061 was introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA). It was marked up by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on Thursday, March 31, 2011, with the panel approving it by a voice vote.  As introduced, H.R. 1061 would have made a number of findings with regard to the situation in Haiti and directed the President of the United States to report to Congress regarding the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti, including efforts to prevent the spread of cholera and treat persons infected with the disease.  Under the version of the bill that was introduced, not later than six months after the date of enactment of the Act, the President would have to submit a report to Congress “on the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti, including efforts to prevent the spread of cholera and treat persons infected with the disease.”

The introduced version of the bill would have required that the report include a description, analysis, and evaluation of six different factors and conditions, none of which had an immigration element to it.  As approved by the Committee, however, the measure includes a provision requiring that the report also examine Haiti’s ability to absorb deportees from the United States.


Summary of Immigration and Refugee Provisions
As introduced, H.R. 1061 did not contain any immigration- or refugee-related provisions. However, during the March 31, 2011, markup in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, the panel agreed by a voice vote to an immigration-related amendment that was offered by Subcommittee Ranking Minority Member Eliot L. Engel (D-NY). The Engel amendment, which is found in Section 3(b)(7) of the Committee-approved version of the measure, would require that the report that must be issued pursuant to the bill include an examination of whether Haiti can handle the responsibilities of taking back any of its citizens found to have migrated to the United States illegally since the earthquake.


Next Steps
Now that the House Committee on Foreign Affairs has approved H.R. 1061, the next step in the legislative process is for the Committee to formally report the bill to the full House of Representatives, which will prepare the measure for consideration by the full House.  This is not expected to occur until after Congress returns from its scheduled two week-long recess on May 2, 2011.


Text of the Foreign Affairs Committee-Approved Ros-Lehtinen Substitute to H.R. 1061



Congress Clears FY '11 Full-Year Spending Bill that Spares Refugee Programs From Deep Cuts But Reduces Direct
Appropriations for Immigration Services

By Micheal E. Hill

Thursday, April 14, 2011  -- 6:58 pm EST

--Last Updated on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 7:15 am EDT--

Congress has cleared and President Obama has signed into law a measure providing funding authority to the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.  Congressional action occurred on Thursday April 14, 2011, in connection with H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill.  The House passed the measure early in the afternoon by a vote of 260-167.  The Senate followed in the early evening hours, doing so by a vote of 81-19.  President Obama signed the measure on Friday, April 15, making it Public Law 112-10.

The House Republican Leadership and Senate Democratic Leadership differ over how much H.R. 1473 cuts federal spending.   D
epending on how it is scored, H.R. 1473 would reduce fiscal year 2011 discretionary spending by either $37.7 BILLION, $38.5 BILLION, or $39.9 BILLION relative to fiscal year 2010.  However, a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, contends that the measure would only reduce the deficit in fiscal year 2011 by $352 MILLION.

About $12 BILLION of the cuts have already been enacted as part of three stop-gap continuing appropriations resolutions enacted into law since March 4, 2011.



Overview of Refugee Spending in H.R. 1473
From a refugee perspective, H.R. 1473 does not contain the deep cuts in refugee programs that were included in the
House-passed version of H.R. 1, a fiscal year 2011 full-year spending bill that the House of Representatives passed on Saturday, February 19, 2011.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have cut fiscal year 2011 spending for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance by $827 MILLION and cut available resources for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) by $77 MILLION.  H.R. 1473, instead, actually provides for a very slight increase in spending in fiscal year 2011 for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance relative to the amount appropriated during the regular fiscal year 2010 appropriations process.  And it cuts ORR's available resources by only $25 MILLION while providing almost the same amount of appropriations for ORR in fiscal year 2011 as was appropriated for the agency during the regular fiscal year 2010 appropriations process.


Overview of Immigration Spending in H.R. 1473
From an immigration perspective, the most significant thing about H.R. 1473 may be what it does not do.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have barred federal funding for immigrant integration programs.  H.R. 1473 contains no such bar. 

Notwithstanding the reversal of the bar on immigrant integration funding, pro-immigrant advocates have much to be concerned about in H.R. 1473.  The measure reduces the amount of direct appropriations to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unit.  It
appropriates $146.953 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 for USCIS (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in the measure).  This represents a cut of $87.7 MILLION when compared to the $234.6 MILLION that was directly appropriated to USCIS in fiscal year 2010. 

H.R. 1473's cut in directly appropriated funds for USCIS represents an enormous setback for pro-immigrant advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would actually have increased fiscal year 2011 funding for USCIS by $41.2 MILLION, from $234.6 MILLION in directly appropriated funds in fiscal year 2010 to $275.776 MILLION in fiscal year 2011.  One of the consequences of the cut in directly appropriated funds for USCIS is a reduction in funding available to help pay the costs of adjudicating refugee and asylum applications.  H.R. 1473 appropriates only $25 MILLION for processing these applications, which is only half of the $50 MILLION that was appropriated for that purpose in fiscal year 2010 and $126.376 MILLION less than the $151.376 MILLION that was included for that purpose in the House-passed version of H.R. 1.

Ultimately, the cut in directly appropriated funds for refugee and asylum applications will mean that fees will be higher for applicants and petitioners for all other immigration benefits, since services for refugee and asylum applicants are otherwise paid for with a surcharge on the fees charged to other immigration benefit applicants and petitioners.



Summary of Immigration- and Refugee-Related Provisions 
From a refugee and immigration perspective, H.R. 1473 contains the following provisions:
  • Executive Office for Immigration Review. With specific regard to funding for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, H.R. 1473 is silent, which means that it continues funding for the Department of Justice’s Administrative Review and Appeals, the parent account for EOIR, at fiscal year 2010 levels, which was approximately $300.685 MILLION (not including the .2 percent across-the-board-cuts that are found in Section 1119 of the measure). 
After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount appropriated for the Department of Justice's Administrative Review and Appeals will be $300.083 MILLION.

  • Refugee Admissions and Overseas Refugee Assistance. With regard to refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance, Section 2110 of H.R. 1473 appropriates $1.690 MILLION for the Department of State's Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account in Fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This actually is a slight increase over the amount appropriated during the regular appropriations process in fiscal year 2010, which resulted in a regular fiscal year 2010 appropriation of $1.685 MILLION.  However, when supplemental funds that were appropriated in fiscal year 2010 are included, the total fiscal year 2010 appropriation for the MRA account came to $1.850 BILLION.  Thus, the MRA appropriation in H.R. 1473 is $160 MILLION less than the total amount that was appropriated in fiscal year 2010.
The MRA Appropriation in H.R. 1473 represents an enormous victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would only have appropriated $1.023 BILLION in fiscal year 2011 for the MRA account.  This would have constituted a $827 MILLION cut in the MRA account relative to the total appropriation in fiscal year 2010.  It would have represented a $662 MILLION cut in the amount appropriated for the account in fiscal year 2010 during the regular appropriations process.

After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount appropriated for the Department of State's MRA account will be $1.687 BILLION.
 
  • Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance. With regard to the Department of State’s Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) Fund, the Section 2110 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $50 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This would represent an increase of $5 MILLION over the amount appropriated in fiscal year 2010.  The measure also would permit the Secretary of State to draw-down funds from the ERMA account during fiscal year 2011.  This would be a change over current law, which permits only the President of the United States to draw-down ERMA funds.
The ERMA appropriation in H.R. 1473 represents an enormous victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have appropriated $44.635 MILLION for the fund.

After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount appropriated for the Department of State's ERMA account will be $49.9 MILLION.
  • Refugee Resettlement, Torture and Trafficking Victim Assistance, and Care of Unaccompanied Alien Children.  With regard to refugee resettlement, trafficking victim assistance, torture victim assistance, and the care of unaccompanied alien children, Section 1820 of H.R. 1473 would reduce appropriations available to those programs by $25 MILLION, effectively cutting the available funding for the programs from the $730.928 MILLION that was appropriated in fiscal year 2010 to $707.928 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure)

    As a technical matter, H.R. 1473 would continue fiscal year 2011 spending for the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Refugee and Entrant Assistance account at $730.928 MILLION (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure), the same amount that was appropriated for fiscal year 2010. However, it would rescind $25 MILLION of appropriated but unobligated fiscal year 2010 ORR funding, thus reducing the available funding for the programs by $25 MILLION.
The cut of only $25 MILLION in funds available to ORR represents a significant victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House passed version of H.R. 1 would have cut funding for ORR by $77 MILLION by rescinding that much in unobligated funds.  That would have reduced available funding for ORR in fiscal year 2011 to $653.928 MILLION.

After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement for Refugee and Entrant Assistance will be $729.438 MILLION.
 
  • International Disaster Assistance. With regard to the U.S. Agency for International Development's International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account, Section 2110 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $865 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This would represent an increase of $20 MILLION over the amount appropriated during the regular fiscal year 2010 appropriations process.  However, it is a significant amount lower than the total of $1.305 BILLION that was appropriated for the IDA account in fiscal year 2010 when one includes $460 MILLION in supplemental fiscal year 2010 funds.
 
The IDA appropriation in H.R. 1473 represents an enormous victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have appropriated just $429.738 MILLION for the account.

After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount appropriated for USAID's IDA account will be $863.27 MILLION. 
 
  • Extension of the Lautenberg Amendment.  Section 2121(m) of H.R. 1473 would extend the application of the "Lautenberg Amendment", which provides for a relaxed adjudicatory standard for Jews and others from the former Soviet Union seeking refugee status in the United States, through June 1, 2011.  A related adjustment of status provision was extended through October 1, 2011. 

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. With regard to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Section 1639 of H.R. 1473 would make significant cuts in the amount of directly appropriated funds for USCIS in fiscal year 2011 relative to fiscal year 2010.  H.R. 1473 would appropriate $146.953 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 for USCIS (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This would represent a cut of $87.7 MILLION when compared to the $234.6 MILLION that was directly appropriated to USCIS in fiscal year 2010.
The cut in directly appropriated funds for USCIS represents an enormous setback for pro-immigrant advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would actually have increased fiscal year 2011 funding for USCIS by $41.2 MILLION, from $234.6 MILLION in directly appropriated funds in fiscal year 2010 to $275.776 MILLION in fiscal year 2011. This would have represented an increase of 17.6 percent in fiscal year 2011 relative to fiscal year 2010.

After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount directly appropriated for USCIS will be $146.659 MILLION. 

Mitigating the direct appropriation of funds for USCIS that are provided in Section 1639 of H.R. 1473, the measure also would rescind about $20.945 MILLION in previously appropriated USCIS funds.  For example,  Section 1663 of H.R. 1473 would rescind $13 MILLION in unobligated USCIS balances from prior years.  However, it would forbid the recission of prior year appropriated funds for E-Verify and for the processing of asylum and refugee applicants.  Section 1656(18) of H.R. 1473 would rescind $7.945 MILLION in USCIS funds that were appropriated in fiscal year 2010.

Within the USCIS appropriation, H.R. 1473 would provide the following earmarks or limitations:
 
Immigrant Integration. H.R. 1473 would not explicitly prohibit USCIS from using its funding for immigrant integration.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have done so.

Refugee and Asylum Processing. H.R. 1473 would appropriate only $25 MILLION for processing applications for asylum and refugee status.  This would cut in half the $50 MILLION that was appropriated for that purpose in fiscal year 2010.  It would represent an enormous setback for pro refugee-advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have directly appropriated $151.376 MILLION for processing refugee and asylum applications in fiscal year 2011.

After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount directly appropriated to USCIS for refugee and asylum adjudications will be $24.95 MILLION.
 
E-Verify Program. H.R. 1473 would cut funding for the E-Verify program in fiscal year 2011 by $33.6 MILLION, from $137 MILLION in fiscal year 2010 to $103.4 MILLION in fiscal year 2011. This would represent a decrease of 24.5 percent in fiscal year 2011 relative to fiscal year 2010.  This is the same amount that was included for the E-Verify Program in the House-passed version of H.R. 1.

After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount directly appropriated to USCIS for the E-Verify System will be $103.193 MILLION.
 
  • Border Security. With specific regard to Border Enforcement, Section 1608 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $8.212 BILLION in fiscal year 2011 for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) salaries and expenses (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).
After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount appropriated for CBP Salaries and Expenses will be $8.195 BILLION.
Within the CBP appropriation, H.R. 1473 would provide the following directives:

Border Patrol Staffing. H.R. 1473 would provide that the Border Patrol "achieve an active duty presence of not less than 21,370 agents protecting the order of the United States by September 30, 2011."

Border Fencing.  Section 1610 of H.R. 1473 would provide $574.173 MILLION for Border Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology.  The measure, as well, would ease some of the restrictions that the Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act placed on the Administration’s authority to build fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico.
  • Interior Immigration Enforcement. With specific regard to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Directorate, Section 1613 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $5.437 MILLION for ICE Salary and Expenses in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).
After applying the across-the-board cuts, the amount appropriated for ICE Salaries and Expenses will be $5.426 BILLION.
Within the ICE appropriation, H.R. 1473 would provide the following directives:

Detention Beds. H.R. 1473 provides that ICE shall maintain a level of not fewer than 33,400 detention beds throughout fiscal year 2011.

 

House and Senate to Take Up FY '11 Full-Year Spending Bill that Spares Refugee Programs From Deep Cuts But Reduces Direct
Appropriations for Immigration Services


By Micheal E. Hill

Thursday, April 14, 2011  -- 9:00 am EST

--Last Updated on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 9:20 am EDT--

The House of Representative and Senate are expected today to take up a measure providing funding authority to the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, hoping to clear it for the President's consideration prior to Midnight on Friday, April 15, when most of the operations of the federal government are scheduled to shut down.  Today's House and Senate floor action is expected to occur in connection with H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill, the text of which was released to the public in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, April 12, 2011.

According to the House Republican and Senate Democratic Leadership, depending on how it is scored, H.R. 1473 would reduce fiscal year 2011 discretionary spending by either
$37.7 BILLION, $38.5 BILLION, or $39.9 BILLION relative to fiscal year 2010.  However, a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, contends that the measure would only reduce the deficit in fiscal year 2011 by $352 MILLION.

About $12 BILLION of the cuts have already been enacted as part of three stop-gap continuing appropriations resolutions enacted into law since March 4, 2011.


Refugee Spending in H.R. 1473
From a refugee perspective, H.R. 1473 does not contain the deep cuts in refugee programs that were included in the
House-passed version of H.R. 1, a fiscal year 2011 full-year spending bill that the House of Representatives passed on Saturday, February 19, 2011.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have cut fiscal year 2011 spending for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance by $827 MILLION and cut available resources for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) by $77 MILLION.  H.R. 1473, instead, actually provides for a very slight increase in spending in fiscal year 2011 for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance relative to the amount appropriated during the regular fiscal year 2010 appropriations process.  And it would cut ORR's available resources by only $25 MILLION while providing almost the same amount of appropriations for ORR in fiscal year 2011 as was appropriated for the agency during the regular fiscal year 2010 appropriations process.


Immigration Spending in H.R. 1473
From an immigration perspective, the most significant thing about H.R. 1473 may be what it does not do.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have barred federal funding for immigrant integration programs.  H.R. 1473 contains no such bar. 

Notwithstanding the reversal of the bar on immigrant integration funding, pro-immigrant advocates have much to be concerned about in H.R. 1473.  The measure would reduce the amount of direct appropriations to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unit.  It
would appropriate $146.953 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 for USCIS (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in the measure).  This would represent a cut of $87.7 MILLION when compared to the $234.6 MILLION that was directly appropriated to USCIS in fiscal year 2010. 

H.R. 1473's cut in directly appropriated funds for USCIS represents an enormous setback for pro-immigrant advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would actually have increased fiscal year 2011 funding for USCIS by $41.2 MILLION, from $234.6 MILLION in directly appropriated funds in fiscal year 2010 to $275.776 MILLION in fiscal year 2011.  One of the consequences of the cut in directly appropriated funds for USCIS is a reduction in funding available to help pay the costs of adjudicating refugee and asylum applications.  H.R. 1473 would appropriate only $25 MILLION for processing these applications, which is only half of the $50 MILLION that was appropriated for that purpose in fiscal year 2010 and $126.376 MILLION less than the $151.376 MILLION that was included for that purpose in the House-passed version of H.R. 1.

Ultimately, the cut in directly appropriated funds for refugee and asylum applications will mean that fees will be higher for applicants and petitioners for all other immigration benefits, since services for refugee and asylum applicants are otherwised paid for with a surcharge on the fees charged to other immigration benefit applicants and petitioners.



The Parliamentary Process for House Consideration of H.R. 1473

The House will take up H.R. 1473 under a procedure that bars any amendments from being offered to the measure and waives all points of order against it.

The House will debate H.R. 1473 for an hour, equally divided between and controlled by the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on Appropriations.

If the House passes H.R. 1473, it then will proceed to debate two "enrollment resolutions" that would modify the House-passed bill.  The first "enrollment resolution"
would add language to H.R. 1473 blocking funding for implementation of the 2010 health care overhaul law and the second would add language to H.R. 1473 barring funding for Planned Parenthood.  The two "enrollment resolution" will each be debatable for 20 minutes, with the debate time equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.


The Parliamentary Process for Senate Consideration of H.R. 1473
The Senate will take up H.R. 1473 today if the House passes it.  When the Senate takes up the measure, it will do so under a unanimous consent agreement that precludes a Senate filibuster.

Under the unanimous consent agreement, the Senate will first take up two "enrollment resolutions" if the House has earlier agreed to them. 
The first "enrollment resolution" would add language to H.R. 1473 blocking funding for implementation of the 2010 health care overhaul law and the second would add language to H.R. 1473 barring funding for Planned Parenthood.  Under the agreement, the resolutions and H.R. 1473 would have to win the votes of 60 Senators in order for them to be agreed to.  If Senate agrees to either resolution, the agreed-to measure would become a part of H.R. 1473 and be sent to the President for his consideration.

Each of the three questions (the two "enrollment resolutions" and H.R. 1473) will be debatable in the Senate for two minutes, with the time being equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.


Outlook
The House Republican Leadership has confidently predicted that it will be able to muster the 217 votes needed to pass H.R. 1473 and agree to the two "enrollment resolutions" with ease, although it has not indicated whether it believes it can do so without relying some Democratic votes.

It is widely anticipated that the Senate will reject the two "enrollment resolutions" but pass H.R. 1473.



Most Immigration and Refugee Accounts Escape Deep Cuts as
Details of the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year
Continuing Appropriations Bill Emerge


By Micheal E. Hill

Tuesday, April 12, 2011  -- 4:30 am EST

--Last Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 9:45 am EDT--

The details of the final version of the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill have emerged, and they show that while a number of refugee and immigration programs will face cuts in fiscal year 2011 funding relative to fiscal year 2010, by-and-large, they will escape the deep cuts that were contained in the House-passed version of H.R. 1, a bill that the House of Representatives passed it in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, February 19, by a vote of 235-189

The details emerged when the House Committee on Appropriations released the text of
H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill, during the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 12.  The House is expected to take up the measure on Thursday, April 14.  The Senate is expected to take it up shortly after the House passes it.


Background
Congress must enact a fiscal year 2011 full-year continuing appropriations bill by Midnight on Friday, Apruil 15, 2011, in order to prevent a shutdown of almost all of the federal government.  This is so because the 111th Congress reached a stalemate and was unable to enact any of the 12 regular appropriations bills that fund the federal government's activities before it adjourned.  Instead, the 11th Congress opted to give the new Congress time to work on the long-term fiscal year 2011 spending measures and only enacted a short-term continuing appropriations bill that funded the activities of the federal government through March 4.  Congress enacted three stop-gap continuing appropriations measures into law after March 4, with the last one continuing spending through Midnight on Friday, April 15.

Among the federal agencies, programs, and activities that have yet to receive final fiscal year 2011 funding are the agencies that operate the federal government's immigration control, immigration services, refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement functions.


General Outline of the Measure
Depending on how it is scored, H.R. 1473 would make somewhere between $37.7 BILLION and $39.9 BILLION in cuts in fiscal year 2011 spending relative to spending that took place in fiscal year 2010.  It is divided into three divisions.  Division A is the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011.  Division B constitutes the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011.  And Division C is the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act.

The Full-Year Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations Bill found in Division B is divided into 12 titles, with one (Title 1) containing general provisions and each of the remaining 11 titles comprising appropriations for each of the 11 Appropriations subcommittees (other than Defense).

With regard to the titles of Division B that contain the bulk of the measure's immigration- and refugee-related provisions:
  • The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Title, which funds the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and other Department of Justice immigration-related entities is found in Title III of Division B.
  • The Homeland Security Title, which funds appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security, including US-VISIT, ICE, CBP, and USCIS, is found in Title VI of Division B.
  • The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Title, which funds appropriations for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), is found in Title VIII of Division B.
  • The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Title, which funds the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and that bureau's refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and Emergency Refugees and Migration Assistance (ERMA) accounts, is found in Title XI of Division B.

Summary of Immigration- and Refugee-Related Provisions 
From a refugee and immigration perspective, H.R. 1473 contains the following provisions:
  • Executive Office for Immigration Review. With specific regard to funding for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, H.R. 1473 is silent, which means that it would continue funding for the Department of Justice’s Administrative Review and Appeals, the parent account for EOIR, at fiscal year 2010 levels, which was approximately $300.685 MILLION (not including the .2 percent across-the-board-cuts that are found in Section 1119 of the measure).
  • Refugee Admissions and Overseas Refugee Assistance. With regard to refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance, Section 2110 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $1.690 MILLION for the Department of State's Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account in Fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This would actually be a slight increase over the amount appropriated during the regular appropriations process in fiscal year 2010, which resulted in a regular fiscal year 2010 appropriation of $1.685 MILLION.  However, when supplemental funds that were appropriated in fiscal year 2010 are included, the total fiscal year 2010 appropriation for the MRA account came to $1.850 BILLION.  Thus, the MRA appropriation in H.R. 1473 would be $160 MILLION less than the total amount that was appropriated in fiscal year 2010.
The MRA Appropriation in H.R. 1473 represents an enormous victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would only have appropriated $1.023 BILLION in fiscal year 2011 for the MRA account.  This would have constituted a $827 MILLION cut in the MRA account relative to the total appropriation in fiscal year 2010.  It would have represented a $662 MILLION cut in the amount appropriated for the account in fiscal year 2010 during the regular appropriations process.
 
  • Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance. With regard to the Department of State’s Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) Fund, the Section 2110 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $50 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This would represent an increase of $5 MILLION over the amount appropriated in fiscal year 2010.  The measure also would permit the Secretary of State to draw-down funds from the ERMA account during fiscal year 2011.  This would be a change over current law, which permits only the President of the United States to draw-down ERMA funds.
The ERMA appropriation in H.R. 1473 represents an enormous victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have appropriated $44.635 MILLION for the fund.
 
  • Refugee Resettlement, Torture and Trafficking Victim Assistance, and Care of Unaccompanied Alien Children.  With regard to refugee resettlement, trafficking victim assistance, torture victim assistance, and the care of unaccompanied alien children, Section 1820 of H.R. 1473 would reduce appropriations available to those programs by $25 MILLION, effectively cutting the available funding for the programs from the $730.928 MILLION that was appropriated in fiscal year 2010 to $707.928 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure)

    As a technical matter, H.R. 1473 would continue fiscal year 2011 spending for the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Refugee and Entrant Assistance account at $730.928 MILLION (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure), the same amount that was appropriated for fiscal year 2010. However, it would rescind $25 MILLION of appropriated but unobligated fiscal year 2010 ORR funding, thus reducing the available funding for the programs by $25 MILLION.
The cut of only $25 MILLION in funds available to ORR represents a significant victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House passed version of H.R. 1 would have cut funding for ORR by $77 MILLION by rescinding that much in unobligated funds.  That would have reduced available funding for ORR in fiscal year 2011 to $653.928 MILLION.
 
  • International Disaster Assistance. With regard to the U.S. Agency for International Development's International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account, Section 2110 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $865 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This would represent an increase of $20 MILLION over the amount appropriated during the regular fiscal year 2010 appropriations process.  However, it is a significant amount lower than the total of $1.305 BILLION that was appropriated for the IDA account in fiscal year 2010 when one includes $460 MILLION in supplemental fiscal year 2010 funds.
 
The IDA appropriation in H.R. 1473 represents an enormous victory for pro-refugee advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have appropriated just $429.738 MILLION for the account.
 
  • Extension of the Lautenberg Amendment.  Section 2121(m) of H.R. 1473 would extend the application of the "Lautenberg Amendment", which provides for a relaxed adjudicatory standard for Jews and others from the former Soviet Union seeking refugee status in the United States, through June 1, 2011.  A related adjustment of status provision was extended through October 1, 2011. 

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. With regard to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Section 1639 of H.R. 1473 would make significant cuts in the amount of directly appropriated funds for USCIS in fiscal year 2011 relative to fiscal year 2010.  H.R. 1473 would appropriate $146.953 MILLION in fiscal year 2011 for USCIS (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).  This would represent a cut of $87.7 MILLION when compared to the $234.6 MILLION that was directly appropriated to USCIS in fiscal year 2010.
The cut in directly appropriated funds for USCIS represents an enormous setback for pro-immigrant advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would actually have increased fiscal year 2011 funding for USCIS by $41.2 MILLION, from $234.6 MILLION in directly appropriated funds in fiscal year 2010 to $275.776 MILLION in fiscal year 2011. This would have represented an increase of 17.6 percent in fiscal year 2011 relative to fiscal year 2010.

Mitigating the direct appropriation of funds for USCIS that are provided in Section 1639 of H.R. 1473, the measure also would rescind about $20.945 MILLION in previously appropriated USCIS funds.  For example,  Section 1663 of H.R. 1473 would rescind $13 MILLION in unobligated USCIS balances from prior years.  However, it would forbid the recission of prior year appropriated funds for E-Verify and for the processing of asylum and refugee applicants.  Section 1656(18) of H.R. 1473 would rescind $7.945 MILLION in USCIS funds that were appropriated in fiscal year 2010.

Within the USCIS appropriation, H.R. 1473 would provide the following earmarks or limitations:
 
Immigrant Integration. H.R. 1473 would not explicitly prohibit USCIS from using its funding for immigrant integration.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have done so.

Refugee and Asylum Processing. H.R. 1473 would appropriate only $25 MILLION for processing applications for asylum and refugee status.  This would cut in half the $50 MILLION that was appropriated for that purpose in fiscal year 2010.  It would represent an enormous setback for pro refugee-advocates.  The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would have directly appropriated $151.376 MILLION for processing refugee and asylum applications in fiscal year 2011.
 
E-Verify Program. H.R. 1473 would cut funding for the E-Verify program in fiscal year 2011 by $33.6 MILLION, from $137 MILLION in fiscal year 2010 to $103.4 MILLION in fiscal year 2011. This would represent a decrease of 24.5 percent in fiscal year 2011 relative to fiscal year 2010.  This is the same amount that was included for the E-Verify Program in the House-passed version of H.R. 1.
 
  • Border Security. With specific regard to Border Enforcement, Section 1608 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $8.212 BILLION in fiscal year 2011 for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) salaries and expenses (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).
Within the CBP appropriation, H.R. 1473 would provide the following directives:

Border Patrol Staffing. H.R. 1473 would provide that the Border Patrol "achieve an active duty presence of not less than 21,370 agents protecting the order of the United States by September 30, 2011."

Border Fencing.  Section 1610 of H.R. 1473 would provide $574.173 MILLION for Border Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology.  The measure, as well, would ease some of the restrictions that the Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act placed on the Administration’s authority to build fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico.
  • Interior Immigration Enforcement. With specific regard to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Directorate, Section 1613 of H.R. 1473 would appropriate $5.437 MILLION for ICE Salary and Expenses in fiscal year 2011 (not including the .2 percent across-the-board cuts that are provided for in Section 1119 of the measure).
Within the ICE appropriation, H.R. 1473 would provide the following directives:

Detention Beds. H.R. 1473 provides that ICE shall maintain a level of not fewer than 33,400 detention beds throughout fiscal year 2011.


Next Steps
Now that the text of H.R. 1473 has been released, the House is expected to take it up either on Thursday, April 14.  If the House passes the measure, the Senate is expected to take it up shortly thereafter.

At the time of this writing, the precise parliamentary situation that will govern House floor consideration of H.R. 1473 was not known.  It is widely assumed that the House will take up the measure under procedures that will bar amendments to it.

In addition to taking up H.R. 1473, House leaders plan to take up two other measures and send them along with the continuing appropriations measure to the Senate. The other two measures are resolutions that would block funding for implementation of the 2010 health care overhaul law and another that would bar funding for Planned Parenthood.

While the procedure that will govern Senate consideration of H.R. 1473 had not yet been outlined, it is anticipated that the Senate will take up the House-passed version of the bill and the two resolutions under procedures that will require 60 votes for each to pass. The presumption is that the Senate will be able to amass 60 votes for the continuing appropriations measure but not for the two accompanying resolutions. Should this scenario play out, the Senate’s action would clear the continuing appropriations measure for the President’s consideration.




Floor Action on FY '11 and FY '12 Budget Matters, a Hearing on the H-2A Program, a Hearing on E-Verify and the Social Security Administration, and a Hearing on the Environment and Border Security Highlight This Week's Immigration and Refugee Legislative Agenda


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, April 11, 2011
-- 9:00 am EDT
--Last Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 7:38 am EDT--
--Original Version of Story Posted on Saturday, April 9, 2011, at 4:15 am EDT--

Congress will begin a two week-long recess following the completion of this week's legislative activities.  As is typical for the week before a recess, this week's legislative agenda is packed full of consequential actions, including action on several measures that could have a significant impact on immigration and refugee policy.

The highlight of this week's legislative activity is House and Senate floor consideration of
H.R. 1473, the fiscal year 2011 full-year continuing appropriations resolution.  The White House, the House Republican Leadership, and the Senate Democratic Leadership reached agreement on the contours of the measure late in the evening on Friday, April 8, 2011.  The text of the measure was still being finalized at the time of this writing, but reports indicate that it would cut somehere beween $37.7 BILLION and $38.5 BILLION in domestic and international affairs spending relative to fiscal year 2010, including about $20 BILLION in specified discretionary spending cuts, $1.1 BILLION in across-the-board cuts in non-defense discretionary programs and activities, and about $17.8 BILLION in mandatory or entitlement spending cuts.  $12 BILLION of the $20 BILLION in discretionary spending cuts have already been enacted as part of the three continuing appropriations resolutions that Congress has enacted in recent weeks, leaving $8 BILLION more in discretionary spending cuts to be identified in the bill that the House and Senate will take up later this week.

While the details and text of the deal had not yet been revealed at the time of this writing, regardless of whether the deal would make specified cuts in immigration- or refugee-related progams or activities, the across-the-board cuts will certainly result in cuts in those programs.  However, the precise amount by which they will be cut were not known, however, at the time of this writing.

In addition to completing its work on fiscal yeaer 2011 spending, the House of Representatives this week will continue its march toward what will almost certainly be another showdown later this year on fiscal year 2012 spending.  The full House of Representatives is expected this week to take up
H. Con. Res. 34, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal year 2012.  The measure would pave the way for deep cuts in both discretionary and entitlement spending, including cuts of nearly unprecedented proportions in the accounts from which refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement spending are derived; and potentially setting up a new fight over legal immigrants' eligibility for the Medicaid program. 

Not all of this week's legislative action on immigration- or refugee-related matters will be taking place on the House or Senate floor.  A number of hearings at which significant immigration or refugee related matters will be examined
are scheduled for this week, and at least one markup of legislation containing immigration-related provisions is scheduled.  These include a hearing on the H-2A nonimmigant agricultural guest worker program, a hearing on the E-Verify System and its interaction with the Social Security Administration, a hearing on the environment and border security, and a markup of a bill relating to Haiti's recovery from the devastating 2010 earhquake


On-the-Hill Activity
In all, at the time of this writing, eight hearings, one markup, and a two floor actions that could have consequences for immigration or refugee policy were scheduled to occur this week.

The following lists several highlights of this week's immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
  • Floor Action on the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Resolution. The full House and Senate will take up a fiscal year 2011 full-year fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations resolution containing funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.  House floor action is likely to occur on Wednesday, April 13, followed by Senate floor action on Thursday, April 14.  While it is largely assumed by many that the deal that was reached on Friday will be agreed to by both chambers, a victory on the measure in the House of Representatives is not assured.  
  • House Floor Action on the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution. The full House of Representatives this week is scheduled to take up H. Con. Res. 34, the House Budget Committee-approved version of the fiscal year 2012 concurrent resolution on the budget.  The measure would pave the way for deep cuts in discretionary spending, including deep cuts in spending in the accounts from which refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance funding is derived.  It also could set off a battle on entitlement spending that could jeopardize legal immigrants' eligibility for entitlement programs.  House floor action on the measure is likely to occur on Thursday, April 14.
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Markup of Haiti Bill. The House Committee on Foreign Affiars has scheduled a markup for this week of the "Assessing Haitian Progress Act", a measure which would make a number of findings with regard to the situation in Haiti and direct the President to report to Congress regarding the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti, including efforts to prevent the spread of cholera and treat persons infected with the disease, and an assessment of the ability of Haiti to absorb deportees from the United States. The markup is scheduled to occur on Thursday, April 14
  • House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on the H-2A Program. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement has scheduled a hearing for this week to examine the H-2A Nonimmigrant agricultural guest worker program.  The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13.
  • House Ways and Means Subcommittee Hearing Identify Theft and Social Security Numbers. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security has scheduled a hearing for this week on the role of Social Security numbers in identity theft and options to guard their privacy.  The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13.
  • House Ways and Means Subcommittee Hearing E-Verify and the Social Security Administration. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security has scheduled a hearing for this week on the the role of the Social Security Administration in verifying employment eligibility.  The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, April 14.

"Off-of-the-Hill" Activity

In addition to the schedule of immigration-related action taking place this week on Capitol Hill, several significant "off of the Hill" activities that discuss immigration- or refugee-related matters, as well as several "off of the Hill" activities that could have an impact on immigration or refugee policy, are occurring this week, including the expected release on Monday, April 11, of the text of the fiscal year 2011 full-year continuing appropriations measure; a Wednesday, April 13, 2011, speech by President Obama on his long-term deficit reduction plans; and a Thursday, April 14, 2011, briefing on Columbian refugees.


Click Here to See a Listing of the Likely Immigration Action For the Week of April 11


 

The Subject of Immigration is Again Unlikely to Come Up on This
Weekend's Sunday's Public Affairs Programs


By Micheal E. Hill

Saturday, April 9, 2011  -- 2:00 pm EST

 

It has been many weeks since the subject of immigration made an appearance on one of the Sunday public affairs programs.  This week is not expected to differ much from the last several, as the continuing fiscal and budget crisis and the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign will likely dominate this weekend's programs.

The following is a preliminary guide to what can be expected on this weekend's programs:
  • ABC - This Week.  Among the guests on the April 10, 2011, edition of ABC's "This Week" program will be  Senior White House Advisor David Plouffe, House Budget Committee Ranking Minority Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Representative Mike Pence (R-IN).  Appearing on the roundtable segment of the program will be ABC's George Will, interim Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile, Chrystia Freeland of Thomson-Reuters, and National Journal's Ron Brownstein.
  • CBS - Face the Nation.  Among the guests on the April 10, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation" program will be Senate Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Budget Committee Ranking Minority Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
  • CNN - State of the Union.  Among the guests on the April 10, 2011, edition of  CNN's "State of the Union" will be Senior White House Advisor David Plouffe, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), Representative Jeb Hensarling, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Real Estate Magnate and prospective 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.
  • FOX - FOX News Sunday.  Among the guests appearing on the April 10, 2011, edition of FOX's "FOX News Sunday" will be White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be Brit Hume, Fox News Senior Political Analyst; Mara Liasson, National Public Radio & Fox News; Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard & Fox News; and Juan Williams, Fox News Political Analyst.
  • NBC - Meet the Press.  Appearing on the April 10, 2011, edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" will be White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be Chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver; host of CNBC's "Mad Money" Jim Cramer; the New York Times White House Correspondent Helene Cooper; and NBC News Chief White House Correspondent and Political Director, Chuck Todd.

MicEvHill.Com will post any immigration-related video excerpts from the programs beginning late afternoon on Sunday, April 10.



Federal Government Shutdown is Averted as Congress and the White House Reach Deal on Full-Year Fiscal Year 2011 Spending and Congress Clears a Week-Long Stop-Gap FY '11 Continuing
Appropriations Resolution


By Micheal E. Hill
Saturday, April 9, 2011
-- 2:45 am EDT
--Last Updated on Saturday, April 9, 2011, at 1:25 pm EDT--


Congress and the White House have reached a deal on the contours of legislation to cut nearly $39 BILLION of fiscal year 2011 domestic and international affairs spending relative to fiscal year 2010. levels  The Congress consumated the full-year fiscal year 2011 deal by clearing for the President's signature a one week-long stop-gap fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations bill to avert an impending shutdown of the federal government while the details of the larger deal are committed to paper and then enacted into law.  The House and Senate late-night floor action on the stop-gap funding bill was completed just after Midnight on Saturday, April 9, in connection with the Senate Amendments to H.R. 1363.  The Senate passed the measure by a voice vote shortly before Midnight, and the House followed shortly afterward, passing it at 12:40 am EDT by a vote of 348-70


Consequences for Fiscal Year 2011 Immigration and Refugee Spending?
At the very least, the deal that Congress and the White House have reached will require that refugee-related programs sustain an across-the-board cut in fiscal year 2011 of a yet-to-be-revealed percentage below fiscal year 2010 spending levels.  However, the full consequences for immigration-, border security-, and refugee-related spending and policy of the full-year fiscal year 2011 deal were not yet known at the time of this writing. 

Insiders who are familiar with the details of the deal indicate that it does not include the deep cuts in refugee resettlement, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee admissions funding that were contained in
the House-passed version of H.R. 1, a full-year fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations measure.  Moreover, insiders indicate that the only significant immigration-related policy rider that was contained in the House-passed version of H.R. 1, a provision that would have barred federal funding for immigrant integration programs, also will not be in the final fiscal year 2011 measure.  Notwithstanding the assertions of insiders, however, no firm word on those matters can be relied upon until the text of the measure that the House and Senate will take up emerges.


Contours of the Deal
The text of the measure that the House and Senate are expected to vote on during the week of April 11 had not yet been revealed at the time of this writing; that text is expected to emerge early in the week. 

Reports indicate that the measure will cut fiscal year 2011 spending by $38.8 BILLION below the level of spending that occurred in fiscal year 2010.  These reports indicate that the cuts will be comprised of about $20 BILLION in specific discretionary spending cuts, about $1.1 BILLION in across-the-board cuts to non-defense discretionary spending programs, and about $17.8 BILLION in mandatory or entitlement spending cuts.  The inclusion of across-the-board cuts in the deal would mean that even those programs that escaped
specific cuts will face spending reductions below fiscal year 2010 levels of spending.


Next Steps
Now that the shutdown of the federal government has been averted for another week and the contours of a deal on full-year fiscal year 2011 spending has been reached, the next step in the process is for appropriators to prepare legislative language implementing the deal and for the House and Senate to take up the resulting legislative measure. 

The House and Senate are expected to take up the full-year fiscal year 2011 spending measure sometime during the week of April 11, with the House most likely acting on Wednesday, April 13, and the Senate acting on Thursday, April 14.




The Imminent Threat of a Government Shutdown Would Impact Immigration and Refugee Functions


By Micheal E. Hill
Friday, April 8, 2011
-- 8:50 am EDT

The operations of much of the federal government will shut down during the coming weekend unless Congress and and the White House reach an agreement by Midnight on Friday, April 8, on continuing fiscal year 2011 funding for federal agencies, departments, functions, and activiites.  However, the impact of a shutdown will have an uneven impact on the federal government's immigration-, border security- refugee admissions-, overseas refugee assistance-, and refugee resettlment-related agencies, functions and activities.

Five federal departments perform the bulk of the federal government's immigration and refugee functions: the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of State, and Department of Health and Human Services.
  Each department would be impacted in different ways by a shutdown of the federal government.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman Larry Orluskie has said that 80 percent of the DHS's 230,000 workforce will continue to carry out mission critical duties, such as securing the borders, screening cargo and airline passengers and operating and securing systems that support these activities during a government shutdown.

The following is a brief assessment of how a federal shutdown might impact the federal government's immigration- and refugee-related functions:

  • Immigration Services.  The adjudication of immigration services, including the adjudication of refugee and asylum applications, processing applications for ciizenship, adjudicating applications and petitions for permanent residency, adjustment of status, and nonimmigrant visas are performed by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bureau.  Both the Department of Labor and the Department of State also are involved in some immigration adjudication decisions. 
Many immigration services are expected to be continued during a lapse in appropriations because fees, rather than directly appropriated funds, fund their activities.  But the application of this principal will likely be uneven.  For instance, while USCIS Service Centers and district offices are likely to be open and continue to operate, the U.S. Department of Labor has told stakeholders that the iCert system, used for filing labor condition applications for the H-1B visa, as well as an online application systems used for permanent residency, are not essential services and will "not be active.  Also, State Department consular offices are expected to be shuttered during a lapse in appropriations.  This will hold up cases.

The Department of State has indicated that only emergency applications for passports and visas will be processed if there is a lapse in appropriations. Department officials have said that they they expect some delay, even in those, since many employees will not be working.  The Department has said that consular services for Americans overseas will still be available, but limited.  Its officials have recommended that people seeking passports or visas check the State Department website for details on the availability of services once the shutdown begins.

  • Interior Immigration Enforcement.  Interior immigration enforcement, including removals, removal proceedings, investigations, and detention operations, is performed primarily by the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau.  However, some immigration enforcement actions depend on other agencies.  For instance, the E-Verify System depends on a combination of USCIS and Social Security Administration systems and employees.
Most interior immigration enforcement activities, such as detention operations, will continue in the event of a lapse in appropriations.  However, not all would do so.  Among the operations that are slated for suspension if there is a lapse in appropriations is the E-Verify system.  Many federal contractors are required to use E-Verify when hiring new employees, and a government shutdown could make it difficult for contracting companies to fill positions.

The federal court system will likely remain open during the first week or two of a lapse in appropriations.  However, the courts would likely close to the public if a lapse in appropriations lasts more than two weeks.  It was not immediately clear at the time of this writing how the immigration court system would be impacted by a lapse in appropriations, since the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is funded through direct federal appropriations rather than by fees.

  • Border Security.  The provision of border security is performed primarily by the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) bureau.  It is anticipated that virtually all border patrol and border inspection functions will continue unabated during a lapse in appropriations.  However, hiring and training operations are likely to suffer. 
  • Refugee Operations.  The identification of persons living in countries of first asylum for refugee processing, as well as the preparation of refugees for travel to the United States and the travel of refugees to the United States are likely to be halted during a lapse in appropriations.  However, services to refugees who already have been admitted to the United States might not be heavily affected initially by a lapse in appropriations because funding for services to them have already been dispersed to the federal government's resettlement partners.

Text of an April 7, 2011, OMB Memo on Government Operations During a Shutdown


 

House Passes a Week-Long Stop-Gap FY '11 Funding Bill That Has Drawn a Veto Threat From the Obama Administration


By Micheal E. Hill
Thursday, April 7, 2011
-- 9:00 am EDT
--Last Updated on Friday, April 8, 2011, at 7:15 am EDT--

With the specter of a federal government shutdown looming larger and larger, the full House of Representatives has passed a week-long stop-gap fiscal year 2011 funding bill to keep the federal government operating past Midnight on Friday, April 8, when funding for most federal activities is scheduled to expire.  However, the Senate Democratic Leadership has declared that the House-passed measure is a "distraction" that will be "dead on arrival" in the Senate, and President Barack Obama has issued a threat to veto the measure should it reach his desk.  House floor action on spending occurred on Thursday, April 7, in connection with H.R. 1363, the Department of Defense and Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Amendments Act, 2011.  The House passed the measure on a largely party-line vote of 247-181.

Throughout the floor debate on H.R. 1363,
House Republicans referred to the measure as a "troop funding" bill and emphasized the fact that the measure contains full-year fiscal year 2011 funding for the Department of Defense at a time when the United States is involved in three military conflicts.  However, Democrats denounced the bill as a gimmick that will virtually guarantee that the federal government will shut down.


Bill Details
As passed by the House, H.R. 1363 is divided into two divisions.  Division A comprises a full-year Fiscal Year 2011 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.  Division B constitutes a week-long fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations bill.

Division B of H.R. 1363 would make $12 BILLION in cuts to domestic discretionary spending.  However, half of those cuts would be offset by $6 BILLION in defense spending increases that are contained in Division A of the measure. 
It also contains a rider that would bar the District of Columbia from using federal and local funds to pay for health services that include abortion.  This latter provision has attracted the ire of the Senate Democratic Leadership, which has characterized the measure as "dead on arrival" in the Senate.

House Republicans were seen by many as putting H.R. 1363 forward despite opposition to it by President Obama and the  Senate Democratic Leadership in an effort to make it look like Democrats are responsible for any shutdown of the federal government if no agreement on a full-year fiscal year 2011 appropriations measure is reachedby Midnight on Friday, April 8.


Refugee Spending Items
From a refugee perspective, the House-passed version of H.R. 1363 would continue funding for the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) and the Emergency Refugee Migration Assistance (ERMA) accounts, as well as continue funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), at fiscal year 2010 levels.


Immigration Spending Items

From an immigration and border security perspective, the House-passed version of H.R. 1363 would cut or rescind $1.4 BILLION in funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), only a portion of which would come from the Department's immigration services, immigration enforcement, or border security functions.
  

Among the DHS recissions in the bill is a recission of $7.9 MILLION of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) funds.The measure would cut funds for three Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accounts. 

The measure would continue CBP border security fencing, infrastructure and technology at an annualized funding level of $574 MILLION, and it would continue air and marine interdiction, operations, maintenance and procurement at an annualized funding level of $516 MILLION.  It would provide $342 million for CBP automation modernization, $81 million less than provided in FY 2010.

The measure also would provide $75 MILLION for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) automation modernization, $15 MILLION less than FY 2010. It also would eliminate $5 MILLION in funding for ICE construction. 

The House Committee on Appropriations defends the DHS cuts and recissions by asserting that "[f]unding is reduced from DHS programs the President proposed to cut in FY 2011, and from programs that are behind schedule, failing to execute their budgets, and that are not measuring their effectiveness." 


Next Steps

Now that the House has passed H.R. 1363, the measure has been sent to the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that the Senate will not take up the House-passed version of H.R. 1363, and President Obama has pledged to veto it even if the Senate was to take it up and clear it for his consideration.  Accordingly, unless an agreement is reached by Midnight on Friday, April 8, 2011, most of the operations of the federal government will shutdown until Congress clears and the President signs legislation extending fiscal year 2011 funding.


Click Here to See the Text of the Obama Veto Threat Over H.R. 1363

Click Here to See the Roll Call Vote by which the House Passed H.R. 1363




House Budget Committee Approves Its Version of the 
Fisal Year 2012 Budget Resolution


By Micheal E. Hill
Thursday, April 7, 2011
-- 9:00 am EDT
--Original Version of Story Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at 9:59 am EDT--

The House Committee on the Budget has approved a fiscal year 2012 budget resolution that could pave the way for deep cuts in both the domestic and international discretionary spending accounts that fund refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs, as well as open the door for rolling back immigrant and refugee eligibility for the Medicaid and Food Stamp programs.  The House Budget Committee action occurred on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, in connection the yet-to-be-introduced Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution.  The Committee approved the measure on a party-line vote of 22-16.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the text of the Chairman's Mark of the House Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.  The draft measure did not contain any specific immigration- or refugee-related provisions. 


Background

Each year, the budget resolution sets a ceiling on spending and a floor on revenue for the coming fiscal year.  It also includes caps on the amount of spending for each function of government for the coming fiscal year.  And it sometimes includes reconciliation instructions ordering authorizing committees of the House to report legislation reducing entitlement spending for programs under their jurisdiction by specific amounts. 

Budget resolutions do not carry the force of law, but they do set the parameters for considering tax and spending bills later in the year.  One of a budget resolution's most important functions is to set a ceiling on discretionary spending for the House Appropriations Committee to follow.


Discretionary Spending
As approved by the House Committee on the Budget, the budget resolution would allocate $360 BILLION in fiscal year 2012 for "non-security" spending, which includes all discretionary spending outside of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. According to staff members of the Committee, that recommended spending level would equal "non-security" spending in fiscal year 2006.

The measure would make significant cuts in the ceiling for discretionary spending in the general functions from which refugee-related spending is derived.  For example, the measure would reduce spending for the international affairs function of goverment (the function from which refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance funding is derived) from $58.6 BILLION that was appropiated in fiscal year 2010 to just $37 BILLION in fiscal year 2012.  This would represent a reduction of $21.6 BILLION or 36.9 percent.



Entiltement Spending
In addition to reductions in the ceilings for disrectionary spending, the Committee-approved fiscal year 2012 budget resolution also contains assumptions that would transform the Medicaid and Food Stamp programs.  More specifically, the assumptions underlying the measure would turn the Medicaid and Food Stamp programs into block grant programs to the states, and they would afford each state greater flexibility in setting the programs' eligibility and benefit criteria.  This could expose the programs to attempts to restrict legal immigrants' eligibility beyond the restrictions that currently exist in federal law.

Although the Committee-approved budget resolution assumes major changes in federal entitlement programs, it does not include instructions to authorizing committees under the reconciliation process, which is a fast-track procedural tool that has been used in the past to move controversial entitlement legislation through the Senate by a majority vote.


Next Steps
Now that the House Committee on the Budget has approved its version of the fiscal year 2012 budget resolution, the next step in the legislative process is for the Committee to formally report the bill to the full House of Representatives for its consideration.

The full House of Representative is expected to take up the measure during the week of April 11, 2011.


Click Here to See Text of House Budget Committee-Approved Budget Resolution
Click Here to See House Budget Committee Explanation of the Budget Resolution



House Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Bill to
Eliminiate the Diversity Visa Program


By Micheal E. Hill
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
-- 9:59 am EDT
--Updated on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at 10:15 am EDT--

After three months of holding oversight hearings, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Enforcement and Policy has held its first hearing on a legislative measure.  Perhaps surprisingly, the hearing was not on a bill to tighten controls on illegal immigration.  Rather, it was on a bill that would reduce legal immigration to the United States.  More specifically, the Subcommittee hearing, which was held on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, was on H.R. 704, the "SAFE for America Act", legislation introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to eliminate the diversity visa program.


Witnesses
The following witnesses testified at the hearing on eliminating the diversity visa program:
  • Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Janice Kephart from the Center for Immigration Studies
  • Tony Edson, Former State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Service
  • Former Ambassador Johnny Young, Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Background

The Diversity Visa program was established as part of P.L. 101-649, the Immigration Act of 1990.

The diversity visa program sets aside 50,000 visas a year for immigrants from “low-sending” countries. More specifically, aliens from countries which immigrant admissions were lower than a total of 50,000 over the preceding five years are eligible for admission to the United States under the diversity program. Prospective immigrants apply in what is popularly known as a visa lottery. If an alien’s name is drawn in this lottery, the alien then must meet all requirements of admissibility, including security and medical requirements. Additionally, successful applicants must have the equivalency of a high school or greater education.

The formula for allocating visas under the diversity visa program is set by law. Visas are divided among six geographic regions of the world, with their allocation weighted in favor of countries in regions that are under-represented among immigrant admissions during the past five years. No one country can receive more than 7 percent of the 50,000 visas under the program, which translates to a limit of 3,850 visas per country. Northern Ireland is treated as a separate country for the purposes of the visa lottery program. Over the years that the visa lottery program has existed, the distribution of visas under the program have changed. In recent years, it has become one of the primary sources of admissions to the United States from Africa.


Controversy
The Diversity Visa program has come under attack from a number of quarters, including those who want to see immigration to the United States reduced, generally.  Many such persons see the diversity visa program as the easiest legal immigration category to pick off since it is somewhat random in its decisionmaking  about who benefits from it and given that applicants need not have any family relationship or employment skill in order to be admitted to the United States.

Opponents of the program have pointed to high rates of fraud from diversity visa applicants, as well as to crimes that a few applicants (or their derivatives) have committed to support their opposition to the program.  Some even  have criticized the very idea of needing "diversity" in immigration.

Supporters of the program tout the diversity that it brings to the United States and point to the fact that like all other applicants for admission to the United States as permanent residents, diversity visa applicants have to undergo rigorous security checks.


Next Steps
It is widely believed that the Subcommittee will move to markup H.R. 704 in the coming weeks.



Click Here to See the Prepared Testimony of Representative Bob Goodlatte
Click Here to See the Prepared Testimony of Janice L. Kephart
Click Here to See the Prepared Testimony of Tony Edson
Click Hear to See the Prepared Testimony of Ambassador Johnny Young




Work Towards Preventing a Government Shutdown, the Opening Salvo in the FY '12 Budget Process, and a Hearing on the Diversity Visa Program Highlight This Week's Immigration and Refugee Agenda


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, April 4, 2011
-- 2:40 am EDT

Congress this week is facing the eminent threat of a government shutdown as it finds itself under pressure to enact either a full-year fiscal year 2011 spending bill or another stop-gap, short-term spending measure by Friday, April 8.  At stake in the battle are hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts proposed by the House of Representatives to fiscal year 2011 spending for refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement programs, as well as a legislative rider that would bar fiscal year 2011 funding for immigrant integration programs. 

Congressional leaders will need to reach a deal on fiscal year 2011 spending by early this week in order for the House and Senate to have time to enact it into law by Midnight on Friday.  But even if a deal is reached, it will have to muster at least 217 votes in the House and may have to secure 60 votes in the Senate in order for the deal to become law.

At the same time that Congress is working on preventing a government shutdown and completing action on the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills, it also will be taking its first steps toward approving a budget for fiscal year 2012. 


The House Committee on the Budget is expected this week to markup its version of the fiscal year 2012 budget resolution.  While the details of the Chairman's Mark of the House Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution had not been released at the time of this writing, reports indicate that the measure could wind up having
even more profound consequences for immigrants, refugees, and for spending on immigration-, border security-, and refugee-related programs and activities.  

Some reports indicate that the Chairman's Mark of the House budget resolution will set discretionary spending targets that would rollback non-defense discretionary spending to fiscal year 2006 level which, if the reports are true, could have a dramatic impact on refugee resettlement, refugee admissions, and overseas refugee assistance spending.  Other reports indicate that the Chairman's Mark will assume changes in the Medicare and Medicaid programs that would transform the two entitlement programs into block grants and afford state governments greater flexibility in setting the eligiblity and benefit criteria for the programs.  If those reports are true, the resolution could set up a battle in Congress over whether states should be permitted to restict legal immigrants' eligibility for the Medicaid or Medicare programs beyond the restrictions that currently exist in federal law.
 

In the meantime, the House Committee on the Judiciary this week takes its first steps toward eliminating a category of legal immigration as it holds a hearing on legislation that would eliminate the diversity visa program.


On-the-Hill Activity
In all, at the time of this writing, six hearings, one markup, and a Floor action in each chamber that could have consequences for immigration or refugee policy were scheduled to occur this week.

The following lists several highlights of this week's immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
  • Floor Action on the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Resolution. The full House and Senate will take up a fiscal year 2011 full-year fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations resolution containing funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 if an agreement between the White House, the Senate Democratic Leadership, and the House Republican Leadership is reached.  Reaching an agreement between those parties will be difficult.  However, it may be even more difficult to secure 217 votes in the House and 60 votes in the Senate for whatever agreement is reached.
  • House Budget Committee Markup of the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution. The House Committee on the Budget is expected to markup its version of the fiscal year 2012 budget resolution.  The measure is expected to provide for deep cuts in discretionary spending, including spending in the accounts that provide for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance funding, and it could set off a battle on entitlement spending that could jeopardize legal immigrants' eligibility for entitlement programs.
  • House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on the Diversity Visa Program. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Enforcement and Policy has scheduled a hearing for this week to examine legislation introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program.
  • Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Border Security. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has scheduled a hearing for this week to examine the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to secure the U.S. Border, with an emphasis on progress at the local level.  Among the witnesses testifying at the hearing is the controversial sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, who loaned his support to Arizona's controversial S.B. 1070 immigration enforcement law.
  • Senate Foreign Relations Panel Hearing on Human Trafficking in Asia. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs has scheduled a hearing for this week efforts to combat human trafficking in Asia.  

"Off-of-the-Hill" Activity

In addition to the schedule of immigration-related action taking place this week on Capitol Hill, a number of significant "off of the Hill" immigration-related activities also are occurring, including a two day-long radio talk show blitz by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR); a UNHCR briefing on the plight of internally displaced persons; a number of briefings and discussions on the plight of LGBT refugees around the world; and addresses and panel presentations on Hispanic legislative priorities, House Republicans' actions toward legal immigration, and welfare use by immigrant households.


Click Here to See a Listing of the Likely Immigration Action For the Week of April 4


 

The Subject of Immigration is Again Unlikely to Come Up on This
Weekend's Sunday's Public Affairs Programs


By Micheal E. Hill

Sunday, April 3, 2011  -- 9:00 am EST

 

It has been many weeks since the subject of immigration made an appearance on one of the Sunday public affairs programs.  This week is not expected to differ much from the last several, as the continuing fiscal and budget crisis and events in Lybia will likely dominate this weekend's programs.

The following is a preliminary guide to what can be expected on this weekend's programs:
  • ABC - This Week.  Among the guests on the April 3, 2011, edition of ABC's "This Week" program will be  Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Budget Committee Ranking Minority Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and General James Jones (Retired), Former National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama.  Appearing on the roundtable segment of the program will be ABC's George Will, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman of the New York Times, Republican political strategist and former Pentagon spokesperson Torie Clark, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post.
  • CBS - Face the Nation.  Among the guests on the April 3, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation" program will be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
  • CNN - State of the Union.  Among the guests on the April 3, 2011, edition of  CNN's "State of the Union" will be Senator John Cornyn (R-TX); Senator Mark Warner (D-VA); and General James Jones (Retired), Former National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama.  Appearing during the roundtable discussion of the program this week will be Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazille and Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett.
  • FOX - FOX News Sunday.  Among the guests appearing on the April 3, 2011, edition of FOX's "FOX News Sunday" will be House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Freshman Senator Marco Runio (R-FL).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be Brit Hume, Fox News Senior Political Analyst; Mara Liasson, National Public Radio & Fox News; Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard & Fox News; and Juan Williams, Fox News Political Analyst.
  • NBC - Meet the Press.  Appearing on the April 3, 2011, edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" will be Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be President of the National Urban League, Marc Morial; RepublicanS trategist and Columnist for TIME Magazine, Mike Murphy; Columnist for the Washington Post, EJ Dionne; Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin; and the Chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author, Daniel Yergin.

MicEvHill.Com will post any immigration-related video excerpts from the programs beginning late afternoon on Sunday, April 3.

 
 
New During the Recess!
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of April 18, 2011. --  Click Here to See the April 18, 2011, Edition of the Weekly Legislative Update
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of the final version of H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Resolution, which President Obama signed into law on Friday, April 15, 2011. -- 
Click Here to See the Text of H.R. 1473
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of the final, House-agreed-to version of H. Con. Res. 34, the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution. --  Click Here to See the Text of H. Con. Res. 34
 
New Last Week!
MicEvHill.Com has posted a sneak peek at the possible immigration-related discussions that could take place during this weekend's Sunday public affairs programs. -- Click Here to See a preview of the April 17, 2011, Sunday Public Affairs Programs
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to a April 14, 2011, letter sent by Senate Judiciary Ranking Republican Charles Grassley (R-IA) to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on fraud in the H-1B program. -- Click Here to See the Text of the Letter from Senator Grassley to Secretary Napolitano
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief analysis of the potential immigration- and refugee- conseqences of the Friday, April 15, 2011, House floor action in which it agreed to H. Con. Res. 34, the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution.   --
Click Here to See the Summary of the House Floor Action on H. Con. Res. 34

MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief summary of the Thursday, April 14, 2011, action in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which approved H.R. 1061, the "Assessing Haitian Progress Act".   -- Click Here to See the Summary of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Action on H.R. 1061
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the text of the "Assessing Haitian Progress Act", which the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved on Thursday, April 14, 2011. -- Click Here to See the Text of the "Assessing Haitian Progress Act"
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted an  analysis of the immigration- and refugee-reated provisions in H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill, which Congress cleared for the President's consideration on April 14, 2011. --
Click Here to See the Analysis of H.R. 1473

MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to a April 14, 2011, letter sent by Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security Chairman Charles S. Schumer (D-NY) to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano requesting that the Secretary exercise discretion in immigration enforcement actions. -- Click Here to See the Text of the Schumer Letter to Secretary Napolitano
   
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief analysis of the upcoming floor action in the House and Senate on H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill. -- Click Here to See the Brief Analysis of the Upcoming Floor Action on H.R. 1473
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the text of the "Border Security Enhancement Act of 2011", legislation introduced on April 13, 2011, by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ). --
Click Here to See the Text of the McCain/Kyl "Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011"
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to an April 13, 2011, Press Release from Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) announcing the introduction of the "Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011", a new border security bill. -- Click Here to See the McCain/Kyl Press Release
  
MicEvHill.Com has posted a number of new immigration- and refugee-related documents on its "Top Documents" page, including links to transcripts of and the prepared testimony for several recent House and Senate hearings at which immigration or refugee matters were prominently featured.  --  Click Here to See the MicEvHill.Com's "Top Documents" Page
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of April 11, 2011. --  Click Here to See the April 11, 2011, Edition of the Weekly Legislative Update
  
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief analysis of the immigration- and refugee-related spending provisions in the H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill. --
Click Here to See the Brief Analysis of the Immigration and Refugee-Related Provisions in H.R. 1473
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of the final House draft of H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill.  --  Click Here to See the Text of H.R. 1473, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals April 11, 2011, ruling upholding the injunction against enforcing portions of Arizona's S.B. 1070 immigration enforcement law
. --  
Click Here to See the Text of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling Upholding the Injunction Against Enforcing Parts of Airzona's S.B. 1070 Immigration Enforcement Law
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief write-up summarizing the likely legislative activity that Congress will face during the week of April 11, 2011. --  Click Here to See the Summary of the Likely Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Activity for the Week of April 11, 2011
  
MicEvHill.Com has posted the April 11, 2011, edition of  its "This Week on the Hill" page, which previews the likely congressional immigration- and refugee-related legislative activity for the week of April 11, 2011. --  Click Here to See a Preview of the April 11, 2011, Edition of "This Week on the Hill"
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief assessment of the potential immigration and refugee spending consequences of the deal on full-year fiscal year 2011 spending reached on April 8, 2011, by the White House and congressional leadership. -- Click Here to See the Brief Assessment of the Consequences for Immigration and Refugee Spending of the Deal on FY '11 Full-Year Spending
 
New This Month!
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief assessment of how a lapse in fiscal year 2011 approprations might impact the federal govermment's immigration and refugee functions.  -- Click Here to See the Brief Assessment of the Impact on Immigration and Refugee Functions of a Federal Government Shutdown
   
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of an April 7, 2011, memorandum from Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jacob Lew instructing agencies on how to proceed if the federal government shuts down.  -- Click Here to See the Text of the April 7, 2011, OMB Memo on a Federal Government Shutdown
 
MicEvHill.Com has made extensive updates to its "Over the Horizon" page, which looks ahead to likely immigration-, asylum-, and refugee-related legislative activity that either is scheduled to occur within the next several weeks or which has not yet been officially scheduled but that is likely occuring just over the horizon. Recent updates includes a comprehensive listing of immigration- and refugee-related hearings and markups that are occurring over the next several weeks. -- Click Here to See MicEvHill.Com's "Over the Horizon" Page
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief analysis of the potential immigration- and refugee-related provisions in H.R. 1363, a one week-long stop-gap fiscal year 2011  continuing appropriations measure that the House of Representatives passed on Thursday, April 7, 2011. --
Click Here to See the Brief Analysis of the Immigration- and Refugee-Related Provisions in H.R. 1363
 

MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the veto threat issued by the Obama Administration on Thursday, April 7, 2011, in connection with H.R. 1363, a one week-long stop-gap fiscal year 2011  continuing appropriations measure that the House of Representatives passed on Thursday, April 7, 2011. --
Click Here to See the Veto Threat In Connection With H.R. 1363
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief analysis of the potential immigration- and refugee-related consequences that could flow from the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution that the House Committee on the Budget approved on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. --
Click Here to See the Brief Analysis of the Potential Immigration- and Refugee-Related Consequences Flowing From the House Budget Committee-Approved Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of April 4, 2011
. --  
Click Here to See the April 4, 2011, Edition of the Weekly Legislative Update
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief write-up summarizing the likely legislative activity that Congress will face during the week of April 4, 2011
. --  
Click Here to See the Summary of the Likely Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Activity for the Week of April 4, 2011
MicEvHill.Com has posted the April 4, 2011, edition of its "This Week on the Hill" page, which previews the likely congressional immigration- and refugee-related legislative activity for the week of April 4, 2011. --  Click Here to See a Preview of the April 4, 2011, Edition of "This Week on the Hill"
 
New Last Month!
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of March 28, 2011. -- Click Here to See the March 28, 2011, Edition of the Weekly Legislative Update
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted this week's edition of its "This Week on the Hill" page, which details the likely congressional immigration- and refugee-related legislative activity for the week of March 28, 2011
. --
Click Here to See the March 28 2011, Edition of "This Week on the Hill"


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