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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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Special Note on MicEvHill.Com During
the August Recess


By Micheal E. Hill
Wednesday, August 3, 2011  -- 9:30 am EDT
--Updated on Sunday, August 7, 2011, at 5:30 pm EDT--


Congress has begun a four-and-a-half-week long August recess.  The House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will return to Washington on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.

Upon its return, Congress is scheduled to remain in session for three weeks, through September 23, 2011, after which it will begin a week-long recess centered around Rosh Hashana.

MicEvHill.Com will be taking a breather during the duration of the August recess from daily updates in this space, as well as a breather from its "Today on the Hill" and "This Week on the Hill" pages.

Users of MicEvHill.Com can keep up with any breaking immigration- or refugee-related legislative developments that occur during the August recess by
following MicEvHill on Twitter, the popular microblogging platform, or by viewing the Weekly Update on Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Matters, which will be published each week throughout the August recess.

MicEvHill.Com will resume daily updates on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.


Click Here to See the Likely September Immigration and Refugee Legislative Agenda




Congress Faces Crowded Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Agenda Upon Return to Washington in September


By Micheal E. Hill
Wednesday, August 3, 2011  -- 9:30 am EDT
--Updated on Saturday, August 6, 2011, at 10:00 am EDT--


Congress returns from a month-long August recess on
Tuesday, September 6, 2011. 

It is likely that immigration and refugee matters will continue to be hot issues during the period that with the return of Congress in September.

The following lists some of the major immigration- and refugee-related matters that Congress may take up when it returns to Washington in Septemver:
  • FY '12 Refugee Admissions Consultation.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will engage in formal consultation meetings in September with the leadership of the House Committee on the Judiciary and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary relating to proposed refugee admissions for fiscal year 2012. 
The refugee consultation must take place and the President of the United States must issue a Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions before any refugees can be admitted to the United States during fiscal year 2012.
  • Senate Action on the FY '12 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.  The Senate Appropriations Committee and the full Senate may take up a separate Fiscal Year 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Act in Septemer.  Each year, the Fiscal Year 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Act funds the federal government's border security, interior immigration enforcement, and immigration services adjudication functions.  Should either the Appropriations Committee or the full Senate take up the measure, numerous immigration enforcement amendments would likely be offered.  The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2017, its version of the Fiscal Year 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations bill on Thursday, June 2, 2011, after considering numerous immigration-related amendments to it.
Congress must act before October 1, 2011, to appropriate fiscal year 2012 funding for the Department of Homeland Security in order to prevent a shutdown of the federeal government's border security, interior immigration enforcement, and immigration services functions.
  • FY '12 Spending for EOIR and Federal Refugee-Related Functions.  Upon Congress's adournment for the August recess, neither the full House Committee on Appropriations nor the Senate Committee on Apppropriations had acted on the two FY '12 appropriations bills that fund the federal government's refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement functions.  In addition, neither the full House of Representatives nor the Senate Committee on Appropirations had yet acted on the FY '12 appropriations bill that funds the Executive Office for Immigration Reform (EOIR).  While Congress is unlikely to complete action on the three measures as separate bills, funding for their functions are likely to be folded into an omnibus FY '12 appropriations bill, and the details of those bills will be worked out during September at the Committee level. 
Congress must act before October 1, 2011, to appropriate fiscal year 2012 funding for the federal government's immigration- and refugee-related functions in order to prevent a shutdown of those functions.
  • Possible Markup of Mandatory E-Verify Legislation.  It is widely antiicipated that the House Committee on the Judiciary will mark up H.R. 2164, controversial mandatory E-Verify legislation, in September.  The measure is sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX).  Many insiders had expected the Committee to markup the bill long ago.  However, it is believed that a combination of four factors have complicated Chairman Smith's efforts to mark up the measure: concerns about juridiction from the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over the Social Security Administration; a split between elements of the business community, some of which vehmently oppose H.R. 2164, as introduced; the strong opposition to the measure by agricultural growers and the resulting efforts by Representative Dan Lungren (R-CA) to fashion an amendment addressing their needs; and a split in the immigration restrictionist community in which  mainstream immigration restrictionist organizations support the measure but the community's more extreme elements oppose it.

    Chairman Smith introduced H.R. 2164 on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, one day before holding a hearing on the measure. 
  • Potential House Floor Action on Controversial House Judiciary Committee Immigration Bills.  It is possible that action will occur on the House floor in September and October on as many as four controversial immigration-related bills that the House Committee on the Judiciary has approved but that are awaiting House floor action.  The bills include measures to eliminate the diversity visa program, provide for the indefinite detention of "dangerous" aliens, make it easier to prosecute illegal immigrants of felony identity theft charges, and make it easier for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to deny and revoke visas.
The House Committee on the Judiciary approved H.R. 704, the "SAFE for America Act", which would eliminate the diversity visa program, on July 20, 2011.   It also approved H.R. 2552, the "Identify Theft Improvement Act of 2011", which would make it easier for prosecutors to win felony identity fraud convictions against illegal immigrants on July 20.  The Committee approved H.R. 1932, the "Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2001", a measure ithat would provide for the indefinite detention of "dangerous aliens".  The House Committee on the Judiciary approved the measure on Thursday, July 13, 2011.  And the Committee approved H.R. 1741, the "Secure Visas Act", a measure ithat would make it easier for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to deny and revoke visas, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. 
  • Potential Full Committee Markups of Several Border Security Bills.  It is possible that action will occur in September or later in the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in September and October on four border security-related bills.  Among the bills that could become the subject of markups in the committees are bills that would require the Administration to submit within 180 days a plan on how to achieve operational control of the U.S. border within five years; provide the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with greater access to federal lands for the purposes of conducting border security operations; establish within the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit a Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) program; and direct the Department of Homeland Security to continue the development of a variety of border security technologies, including efforts to incorporate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in border and maritime airspace.
  • Trafficking Victim, Religious Persecution, and Torture Victim Legislation.  Authorization of funding for three human rights-related progams and offices are set to expire at the end of September, 2011, and Congress will have just three weeks upon its return to reauthorize them.  These include the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998, and U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.  The coming work period will test whether or not bipartisan agreement can be reached on these Acts and entities, that that traditionally have enjoyed bipartisan support.
  • Actions Relating to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.  Once Congress returns from its August recess, Congress will begin taking actions mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which requires Congress to enact up with up to $2.4 TRILLION of deficit reduction over the next ten fiscal years.  The actions that Congress takes could wind up having a significant impact on spending for the federal govermment's immigration- and refugee-related functions.  The first actions that Congress will take will be the establishment of a new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which is charged with developing a $1.5 TRILLION deficit reduction bill that most presume will focus on entitlement spending.  Other actions will include establishing discretionary spending caps for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees that produce the bills that funds the federal government's agencies, departments, functions, programs, and activities.  Following that, Congress will be able to begin to produce appropriations bills.



Congress Clears Debt Limit/Deficit Reduction Bill that Could Have an Uneven Impact on Future Spending for Immigration- and Refugee-Related Functions


By Micheal E. Hill
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
-- 10:45 am EDT
--Updated on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, at 9:00 pm EDT--

Congress has enacted into law P.L. 111-25, the Budget Control Act of 2011, a measure increasing the limit on the amount of debt the federal government can take on and establishing a process for making as much as $2.1 TRILLION in deficit reduction over the next ten years.  The conclusive Congressional actions occurred on Monday, August 1, 2011, and Tuesday, August 2, 2011, in connection with the
House Amendments to S. 365, the Budget Control Act of 2011, a debt relief/deficit reduction measure that was agreed to by President Obama and the Congressional Leadership on Sunday, July 31, 2011.  The House passed the measure on August 1 by a vote of 269-161.  The Senate passed it a day later, on August 2, by a vote of 74-26, clearing it for the President's signature. 


Background
According to the Department of the Treasury, Congress had to act by Tuesday, August 2, 2011, to increase the limit on the amount of debt that the federal government can take on or the U.S. will not be able to completely fulfill its debt and other financial obligations. The White House, the House Leadership, and the Senate Leadership engaged in frenzied negotiations over the last several months in an effort to reach an agreement on legislation to increase the debt limit.  They reached agreement on a broad deficit reduction and debt limit measure late in the evening on Sunday, July 31, 2011.


Brief Summary of Agreement
The Budget Control Act of 2011 contains the following elements:
  • Debt Limit Increase. There will be an immediate increase of $400 BILLION in the federal debt limit, with a total of up to $2.1 TRILLION in debt limit increases available to the president. It is anticipated that an increase of $2.1 TRILLION in the debt limit would last into early 2013.
The debt limit increases will be available to the President in three stages. Congress has the power to stop the second and third installments of the debt limit increase by passing a resolution of disapproval, which would be subject to a presidential veto.
  • Discretionary Spending Caps. The immediate enactment of statutory 10-year long discretionary spending caps generating nearly $1 TRILLION in deficit reduction ($917 BILLION, to be precise).  For fiscal years 2012 and 2013, the caps are divided between security and non-security spending. However, "security" spending is broadly defined to include not just the Department of Defense, but also the Department of Homeland Security, some intelligence-related spending, and all foreign assistance.  Funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be included in the caps for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
After fiscal year 2013, the discretionary caps will no longer differentiate between security and non-security spending.
  • Bipartisan, Bicameral Super Committee. The establishment of a special bipartisan committee, named the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which is tasked with identifying an additional $1.5 TRILLION in deficit reduction, presumably from a combination of cuts in entitlement programs and changes to the tax code. The Committee is required to report legislation by November 23, 2011, which will receive fast-track protections in the House and Senate. Congress is required to vote on the Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011. The bill reported by the Committee will not be amendable on the House floor or Senate floor, and the votes in both chambers will be be up-or-down votes with a simple majority required for passage.
  • Enforcement Mechanism. The establishment of an enforcement mechanism to force all parties to either agree to the deficit reduction measure reported by the special bipartisan, bicameral committee or, if that process fails, submit to across-the-board spending reductions (sequestration) in both discretionary and mandatory spending beginning in January of 2013 and continuing for the next eight fiscal years.
The spending reductions through sequestration will be split 50/50 between defense and non-defense spending. The enforcement mechanism protects Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, certain low-income programs, and civilian and military retirement benefits from the across-the-board cuts.
  • Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment. The requirement that the House and Senate vote on passage of a balanced budget constitutional amendment sometime between September 30, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

Potential Immigration- and Refugee-Related Consequences
P.L. 111-25 likely will pose significant consequences for the federal government's immigration- and refugee-related operations.

The law requires discretionary spending cuts of around $1 TRILLION over ten years, along with entitlement spending cuts that approach or exceed $1.5 TRILLION over ten years.

The law does not contain any specific immigration- or refugee-related provisions. Notwithstanding the absence of such provisions, though, it could place long-term downward pressure on both discretionary and entitlement spending, which could result in significant cuts over the long-term in immigration- and refugee-related spending. However, the FY '12 discretionary spending limits provided for in the Budget Control Act of 2011 are higher than those contained in the House-approved FY '12 budget.  And so, ironically, the measure could actually decrease the downward pressure on FY '12 spending for such functions as refugee resettlement while increasing the downward pressure on funding for refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, immigration enforcement, and immigration services, when compared to the pressure that the House-approved FY '12 budget resolution would have placed on those functions.

Prior to the development of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the House Committee on Appropriations had already produced a number of FY '12 appropriations bills. Indeed, it was about to mark up the FY '12 bill that funds refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance this week, but it canceled the markups in anticipation of reaching an overall deal on the budget.  In all likelihood, the House Committee on Appropriations will receive new spending allocations for the various FY '12 spending bills and will have to make adjustments in the bills that either have already passed the House of Representatives, been approved by the Committee, been approved by one of the Committee's subcommittees, or that were in a draft form at the time that the deal on the Budget Control Act of 2011 was being negotiated.

The biggest potential impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on spending for immigration services, immigration enforcement, border enforcement, refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement may be what happens in FY '13 and beyond. P.L. 111-25 mandates across-the-board cuts in discretionary (as well as in entitlement) spending beginning in January of 2013 if either the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction fails to report legislation making $1.2 TRILLION in deficit reduction or if Congress fails to enact those recommendations into law (or fails to enact some other set of provisions making $1.2 TRILLION in deficit reduction into law).


Next Steps
Now that Congress has cleared the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the President has signed the measure into law, the next steps will be for the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Senate Minority Leader to appoint the 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction; the House Committee on Appropriations to reallocate fiscal year 2012 discretionary funding among its 12 subcommittees; and for the Senate Committee on appropriations to allocate fiscal year 2012 among its 12 subcommittees.


Beginning in September, the House and Senate Leadership will have to decide how to proceed on the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills, which need to be enacted into law by September 30, 2011.
 


 

House Passes Bill to Revive H-1C Nurses
Nonimmigrant Visa Program


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, August 1, 2011
-- 3:35 pm EDT
--Updated on Monday, August 1, 2011, at 6:15 pm EDT--

The full House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan measure that would revive and revise an expired program that once provided for the admission of nonimmigrant nurses to work in underserved communities.   House floor action occurred in connection with
H.R. 1933, a bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the requirements for admission of nonimmigrant nurses in health professional shortage areas.  The House passed the measure on Monday, August 1, 2011, by a vote of 407-17.


Background
In 1999, Congress enacted P.L. 106-95, the “Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999”, into law. The measure established the H-1C nonimmigrant program, which provided for the admission of up to 500 nurses into the United States each year to work in areas with nursing shortages. The program was initially authorized for a period of four years. It was renewed in 2006 pursuant to P.L. 109-423, the “Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Reauthorization Act of 2005."  The program expired in December of 2009.

The Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999, and its reauthorization in December of 2006, allowed qualifying hospitals to employ temporary foreign workers as Registered Nurses (RNs) for up to three years under H-1C visas. Only 500 H-1C visas could be issued each year during the period of the H-1C program. Additionally, no state with a population of less than nine million persons could receive more than 25 nonimmigrant nurses under the program, and states with a population in excess of nine million persons could have no more than 50 nurses under the program.

To qualify for admission under the H-1C program, a nurse must have met the following criteria:
  • Have a full and unrestricted nursing license in the country where your nursing education was obtained, or have received a nursing education and license in the United States;
  • Be authorized by the appropriate U.S. State Board of Nursing to practice within the state;
  • Have passed the examination given by the Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or have a full and unrestricted license to practice as an Registered Nurse in the state where you will work, or have a full and unrestricted Registered Nurse’s license in any state and have received temporary authorization to practice as an Registered Nurse in the state where you will work. For more information, please see the Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) link to the right; and
  • Have been fully qualified and eligible under the state laws of the state of intended employment to practice as a Registered Nurse immediately upon admission to the United States.

Under the H-1C program, the sponsoring employer was required to meet strict criteria to employ foreign registered nurses. Broadly, these included:
  • being a "subpart D" hospital under the Social Security Act;
  • being located in a Health Professional Shortage;
  • having at least 190 acute care beds;
  • having a Medicare population of 35%; and
  • having a Medicaid population of 28% according to the 1994 cost report.

Under the program, eligible hospitals had to file attestations with the Department of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification which, if approved, supported nonimmigrant worker petitions filed with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


Summary of Immigration- and Refugee-Related Provisions

As approved by the House Committee on the Judiciary, H.R. 1933 would revive the expired H-1C program and extend it for three years. In addition, the measure would make three changes to the program:
  • First, H.R. 1933 would reduce the number of visas available to the program to 300 per year rather than 500 per year.
  • Second, it would provide that nurses admitted under the program could serve in the United States for two three-year periods rather than just one three-year period.
  • Third, it would provide that nurses admitted under the H-1C visa program may move from one H-1C qualified employer to another.

Committee Consideration
The House Committee on the Judiciary approved H.R. 1933 on Thursday, June 23, 2011, by a voice vote after agreeing to one amendment to it. It formally reported the measure to the full House of Representatives on July 19, 2011.
 

The Committee agreed to the following amendments during its markup of H.R. 1933:
  • LOFGREN PORTABILITY AMENDMENT.  House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Ranking Minority Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) offered an amendment to permit strike provisions in the bill that would eliminate judicial review over visa revocations related to persons inside the United States and in removal proceedings.
The Committee agreed to the Lofgren Amendment by a voice vote.


Next Steps
Now that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1933, the next step in the legislative process is for the measure to be forwarded to the Senate.  At the time of this witing, no timetable for when the Senate might take up the measure had yet been announced.


 

House Passes Bill to Assist Deployed Military Conditional
Residents and Their Spouses


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, August 1, 2011
-- 3:30 pm EDT

The full House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan measure that would ease the plight of active duty military personnel and their spouses who are seeking to remove the conditional nature of their permanent residency while they are deployed overseas.  House floor action occurred in connection with H.R. 398, a measure that was introduced by House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Ranking Minority Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and that is cosponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), House Judiciary Immigration Policy and Enforcement Chairman Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Minority Member John Conyers (D-MI). The House passed the measure on Monday, August 1, 2011, doing so by a vote of 426-0.


Background
Under current law, U.S. citizens can sponsor alien spouses for permanent residence with no numerical limitation. In this instance, the alien spouse becomes a conditional permanent resident for two years before they can petition to have the conditional nature of their residency removed and become a full-fledged permanent resident.

After two years, the alien spouse and the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse must jointly file a petition with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the removal of the alien’s conditional status. The petition must be filed during the 90 day period before the second anniversary of the spouse’s becoming a conditional permanent resident. Upon the filing of the petition, DHS will interview the spouses in order to look for any possible marriage fraud. The interview must be conducted within 90 days after the submission of the petition unless DHS waives the deadline for the interview or the requirement for the interview.


Summary of the Bill’s Immigration Provisions
In recognition that the filing and interview requirements are a hardship and disruption to the military for a member of the Armed Forces deployed overseas to have to file a petition and travel back home for a personal interview with DHS, H.R. 398 would provide an exception for individuals who are participating in overseas deployments from the 90 day filing period requirement and the 90 day review period for certain immigration documentation. More specifically, H.R. 398 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow active-duty personnel and their spouses to suspend during military service abroad the two 90-day periods, allowing the couple to choose when they will be sure that they can begin and complete the process.


Committee Consideration
The House Committee on the Judiciary approved H.R. 398 on Wednesday, January 26, 2011, doing so by a voice vote, with the only "no" vote coming from House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Vice-Chairman Steve King (R-IA). The Committee formally reported the measure to the full House of Representatives on July 8, 2011.  Committee consideration of H.R. 398 occurred just two days after Representative Lofgren introduced the measure in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill bypassed consideration in the Subcommittee on Immigration Enforcement and Policy.



Next Steps
Now that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 398,
the next step in the legislative process is for the measure to be forwarded to the Senate.  At the time of this witing, no timetable for when the Senate might take up the measure had yet been announced.

 

A House Markup of the FY '12 Bill that Funds Refugee Admissions and Overseas Refugee Assistance and full House Consideration of Two Noncontroversial Immigration Bills Highlight This Week's Immigration and Refugee Legislative Agenda


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, August 1, 2011
-- 7:30 am EDT
--Updated on Monday, August 1, 2011, at 2:20 pm EDT--

Frenzied efforts to avoid a catastrophic default on the U.S. debt and other federal obligations reached a climax over the weekend, when President Obama and the House and Senate Leadership reached an agreement among themselves on a deal to increase the federal debt limit.  The agreement would increase the federal debt limit by $2.1 TRILLION, which is expected to last into early 2013, and set into motion a process for making $2.5 TRILLION in deficit reduction over the next ten years.  The major activity that Congress will engage in this week will be an effort to enact the agreement into law.

The full details of the debt limit and deficit reduction agreement had not yet emerged at the time of this writing.  By all accounts, though, it does not contain any specific immigration- or refugee-related provisions.  Notwithsanding that, the actions that Congress will have to take over the next five months in order to implement the agreement will likely place downward pressure on federal spending on refugee and immigration functions.


Apart from dealing with the debt crisis, the major immigration- or refugee-related activity on Congress's agenda this week is the markup in the House Committee on Appropriations of the Fiscal Year 2012 bill that traditionally funds refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and international disaster assistance.


This Week's On-the-Hill Activity
At the time of this writing,
one markup, one hearing, and floor action in the House or Senate on three measures of significance to immigration and refugee policy that was scheduled to occur on Capitol Hill this week.

The following lists the highlights of this week's immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
  • House and Senate to Take Up Debt Limit Increase/Deficit Reduction Legislation. The full House of Representatives and Senate this week are expected to take up the Budget Control Act of 2011, a debt relief/deficit reduction measure that was agreed to by President Obama and the Congressional Leadership on Sunday, July 31, 2011. 

    By all reports, the debt measure does not contain any specific immigration- or refugee-related provisions.  However, if enacted into law, it would place downward pressure on both discretionary and entitlement spending, which could result in significant cuts in immigration- and refugee-related spending.
     
  • Full House Appropriations Committee to Mark Up of Fiscal Year 2012 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. The full House Committee on Appropriations this week is scheduled to markup its version of the FY '12 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations BillEach year, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill appropriates funding for the Department of State's Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA), Emergency Refugee Migration Assistance (ERMA), and International Disaster Assistance (IDA) accounts.  The first two of these accounts are administered by the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and they fund the federal government's refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs.  The third account is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs marked up its version of the measure on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. 
The Subcommittee-approved measure would make significant cuts in fiscal year 2012 in the MRA, ERMA, and IDA accounts relative to fiscal year 2011.
  • Senate Foreign Relations Panel to Hold a Hearing on Drought and Famine in the Horn of Africa.  The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs has scheduled a hearing for this week on drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.  Witnesses and briefers at the hearing will include Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development; Donald Yamamoto, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs; Reuben Brigety, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; Robert Laprade, Denior Director, CARE USA; Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Mercy Corps; J. Peter Pham, Director, Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, Atlantic Council; and Afshan Khan, Director of Public-Sector Alliances and Resources Mobilization, UNICEF, New York, N.Y.
  • Full House to Take Up Bill Easing Plight of Deployed Military Personnel and Their Conditional Resident Spouses. The full House of Representatives this week is scheduled to take up H.R. 398, a measure to ease the plight of active duty military personnel and their spouses who are seeking to remove the conditional nature of their permanent residency while they are deployed overseas.  As approved by the House Committee on the Judiciary, the measure would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to toll, during active-duty service abroad in the Armed Forces, the periods of time to file a petition and appear for an interview to remove the conditional basis for permanent resident status.  It was introduced by House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Ranking Minority Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and is cosponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), House Judiciary Immigration Policy and Enforcement Chairman Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Minority Member John Conyers (D-MI). 
  • Full House to Take Up Bill Reviving and Revising the Expired H-1C Nonimmigrant Nurses Program. The full House of Representatives this week is scheduled to take up H.R. 1933, a measure introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that would revive and revise the expired H-1C nonimmigrant nurses program


This Week's "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 could occur.

The following lists highlights of this week's "off-of-the-Hill" immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
  • Panel Discussion on the Famine in Somalia. The Brookings Institution has scheduled a discussion for this week on "Famine in Somalia: An Expected Turn for the Worse."  Participants in the discussion will include Semhar Araia, Horn of Africa Regional Policy Adviser for Oxfam America; Mark Bartolini, Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance; Vincent Cochetel, Representative to the United States and the Caribbean Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Allen Jury, Director of the U.S. Relations Office at the World Food Program; and Reuben Brigety, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration.
  • Address by USCIS Director Mayorkas. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas this week is scheduled to deliver remarks to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee's (UNHCR) First Annual Refugee Congress, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Refugee Convention.
  • Panel Discussion on U.S.-Mexico border Security. The Center for American Progress (CAP) this week is holding a discussion titled, "The State of U.S./Mexico Border Security: Assessing the Past, Present, and Future From the Early Build Up Today and Beyond."  Participants in the discussion will include Alan Bersin, Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection; Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director of the Immigration Policy Program; and Marshall Fitz, Director of immigration policy at CAP
  • Issue Forum on Immigration Enforcement and Criminalization. Jobs with Justice this week has scheduled a forum on immigration enforcement and criminalization during its 2011 Jobs with Justice National Conference.  The title of the forum is, "Immigration Enforcement and Criminalization, an organized attack to divide workers - & the grassroots fight back".

Still Looming Over the Horizon
In addition to the widely anticipated markup of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith's controversial mandatory E-Verify bill, a number of other important immigration- and refugee-related legislative actions are looming just over the horizon, but they will have to wait until after Congress returns in September from its August recess. 

These include --
  • House Judiciary Committee Bills Ready for Floor Action.  Possible House floor action in September and October on as many as four immigration-related bills that the House Committee on the Judiciary has approved, including bills to eliminate the diversity visa program, provide for the indefinite detention of "dangerous" aliens, make it easier to prosecute illegal immigrants of felony identity theft charges, and make it easier for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to deny and revoke visas.

  • Full Committee Markups of Border Security Bills.  Possible action in the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in September and October on four border security-related bills, including bills that would require the Administration to submit within 180 days a plan on how to achieve operational control of the U.S. border within five years; provide the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with greater access to federal lands for the purposes of conducting border security operations; establish within the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit a Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) program; and direct the Department of Homeland Security to continue the development of a variety of border security technologies, including efforts to incorporate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in border and maritime airspace.
  • Appropriations Actvities.  Possible action in the House and Senate in September and October on the four appropriations bills that traditionally fund the federal government's immigration enforcement, border seurity, immigration services, refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement functions and activities.

The period following the August recess also could test whether or not bipartisan agreement can be reached on several matters that traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, including on just-introduced bipartisan bills on torture victim assistance and trafficking victim assistance.




Click Here to See Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of Aug 1



 
New During the Recess!
NEW! MicEvHill.Com has posted a write-up previewing the likely immigration and refugee legislative agenda that Congress will face when it returns in September from its August recess. -- Click Here to See the Write-Up Previewing the Immigration and Refugee Legislative Agenda Facing Congress in September
NEW! MicEvHill.Com has posted a write-up setting forth its schedule of operations during the August recess. -- Click Here to See the Schedule of Updates During the August Recess
NEW! 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 months  or which has not yet been officially scheduled but that is likely occuring just over the horizon. -- Click Here to See MicEvHill.Com's "Over the Horizon" Page
 
New This Month!
MicEvHill.Com has posted a write-up summarizing the final congressional action on the Budget Control Act of 2011 and analyzing its potential impact on funding for the federal government's immigration- and refugee-related functions. -- Click Here to See the Write-Up on the  Potential Immigration and Refugee Consequences of the Budget Control Act of 2011
MicEvHill.Com has posted a write-up summarizing House floor action on August 1, 2011, in which it passed H.R. 1933, a bill reviving the H-1C Nonimmigrant Nurses program. -- Click Here to See the Write-Up on the  August 1, 2011, House Floor Action on H.R. 1933
MicEvHill.Com has posted a write-up summarizing House floor action on August 1, 2011, in which it passed H.R. 398, a bill easing the plight of deployed duty military personnel and their spouses who are seeking to remove the conditional nature of their permanent residency. -- Click Here to See the Write-Up on the  August 1, 2011, House Floor Action on H.R. 398
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of August 1, 2011. -- Click Here to See the August 1, 2011, Edition of the Weekly Legislative Update
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief write-up summarizing the likely immigration- and refugee-related legislative activity that Congress will face during the week of August 1, 2011. -- Click Here to See a Summary of the Likely Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Activity for the Week of August 1, 2011
MicEvHill.Com has posted the August 1, 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 August 1, 2011. -- Click Here to See the August 1, 2011, Edition of "This Week on the Hill"
 
New Last  Month!
MicEvHill.Com has posted a sneak peek at the possible immigration-related discussions that could take place during the July 31, 2011, Sunday public affairs programs. -- Click Here to See a preview of the July 31 2011, Sunday Public Affairs Programs
MicEvHill.Com has posted a write-up summarizing action on July 27, 2011, in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, in which the Subcommittee approved a measure making significant fiscal year 2012 cuts in refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs. -- Click Here to See the Write-Up on the House Appropriations Subcommittee Action on the FY '12 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Bill
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of July 25, 2011. -- Click Here to See the July 25, 2011, Edition of the Weekly Legislative Update
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief write-up summarizing the likely immigration- and refugee-related legislative activity that Congress will face during the week of July 25, 2011. -- Click Here to See a Summary of the Likely Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Activity for the Week of July 25, 2011
MicEvHill.Com has posted the July 25, 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 July 25, 2011. -- Click Here to See the July 25, 2011, Edition of "This Week on the Hill"


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