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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last Updated on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 12:01 am EDT
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Budget Issues Await in Background As Hearings on
the H-1B Program and Border Security Highlight This Week's
Immigration and Refugee Agenda


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, March 28, 2011
  -- 9:20 am EST

Congress returns from a week-long recess this week with a budget show-down looming over the horizon, needing to enact either a full-year fiscal year 2011 spending bill or another stop-gap, short-term spending measure by Friday, April 8.

When Congress reconvenes this week, it is scheduled to remain in session through Friday, April 15, at which time it is scheduled to begin a two week-long recess.

Most of this week's immigration- and refugee-related activity will involve hearings on border security and on the President's fiscal year 2012 budget proposal.


On-the-Hill Activity
In all, at the time of this writing, seven hearings, one markup, and no floor actions that could have a consequence for immigration or refugee policy were scheduled to occur this week.

The following lists several highlights of this week's possible immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
  • House Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on the H-1B Visa Program. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Enforcement and Policy has scheduled a hearing for this week to examine the H-1B visa program.  The title of this week's hearing is "H-1B Visas: Designing a Program to Meet the Needs of the U.S. Economy and U.S. Workers." 
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on the President's Proposed Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs is expected to hold a hearing this week on the Obama Administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Testifying at the hearing will be Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development.
  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on the President's Proposed Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for the Department of Health and Human Services. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies has scheduled a hearing for this week to examine the Obama Administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services.  Testifying at the hearing will be Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (which is the parent agency for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)).
  • Senate Homeland Security Committee to Hold Hearing Following Up on the 9/11 Commission Recommendations. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has scheduled a hearing for this week to examine the 9/11 Commission's recommendations ten years afterward.  The title of the hearing is, "Ten Years After 9/11: A Report From the 9/11 Commission Chairmen."  Testifying at the hearing will be Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, Co-chairmen of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
  • Senate Homeland Security Committee to Hold 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.  The title of the hearing is, "Securing the Border: Building on the Progress Made."
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee to Markup Assessing Haitian Progress Act. The House Committee on Foreign Affiars has scheduled a markup for this week of H.R. 1061, the "Assessing Haitian Progress Act", 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.

"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 media availability by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas making an announcement on the E-Verify System and a Town Hall appearance on Hispanics and Education that will be broodcast by Univision.


Click Here to See a Listing of the Likely Immigration Action For the Week of March 28


 

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


By Micheal E. Hill

Friday, March 18, 2011  -- 6:30 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 crisis, events in the Middle East and North Africa, and the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power crises in Japan 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 March 20, 2011, edition of ABC's "This Week" program will be  Secretary of Energy Steven Chu; former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff; former Secreary of Energy and former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson; and John Ritch of the World Nuclear Association.  emanate from Japan as the program covers the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power crises gripping the island nation.  Appearing on the roundtable segment of the program will be ABC's George Will, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Jane Harman,  and author Robin Wright of the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Given the lineup of guests, it is unlikely that the subject of immigration will come up during the program.
  • CBS - Face the Nation.  Among the guests on the March 20, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation" program will be Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Represenative Ed Markey (D-MA)Given the lineup of guests, it is unlikely that the subject of immigration will come up during the program.
  • CNN - State of the Union.  Among the guests on the March 20, 2011, edition of  CNN's "State of the Union" will be Secretary of Energy Steven Chu; Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Minority Member John McCain (R-AZ); Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-CT); former CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon (Retired); former Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers (Retired); Sharron Squassoni, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and radiation epidemiologist John Boiceand.  While several of the scheduled guests are welll-versed on the subject of immigration, the  situation in North Africa and the nuclear power crisis in Japan are likely to dominate the program and the subject of immigration is unlikely to come up.
  • FOX - FOX News Sunday.  Among the guests appearing on the March 20, 2011, edition of FOX's "FOX News Sunday" will be Secretary of Energy Steven Chu; Senator Jack Reed (D-RI); Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Ranking Minority Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC); freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-KY); and House Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH).  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration could come up during the interview segment of the program.
  • NBC - Meet the Press.  Appearing on the March 20, 2011, edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" will be Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (R-MI), and Senate Budget Committee Ranking Minority Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be NBC News' Andrea Mitchell, The New York Times’ Helene Cooper, The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, and The Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel.  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration could come up during the interview segment of the program.

MicEvHill.Com will post any immigration-related video excerpts from the programs beginning late afternoon on Sunday, March 20.

 

Enactment of another Stop-Gap FY '11 Continuing Appropriations Bill and Several Hearings on the Obama FY '12 Budget Submission Highlight This Week's Immigration and Refugee Agenda


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, March 14, 2011
  -- 9:25 am EST

Congress will begin a week-long recess at week's end, but not before clearing another short-term, stop-gap fiscal year 2011 spending bill and holding a number of hearings on the Obama Administration's  fiscal year 2012 budget and on border security matters.


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

The following lists several highlights of this week's possible immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
  • House and Senate Floor Action on Another Short-Term, Stop-Gap Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Appropriations Resolution.  The House and Senate are expected this week to clear another short-term, stop-gap fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations resolution, this one funding the operations of the federal government for three weeks and making $6 BILLION in cuts relative to fiscal year 2010.
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on Southwest Border Enforcement.  The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security has scheduled a hearing for this week to examine southwest border enforcement, including SBInet. 
  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing on Border Protection Issues. The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security has scheduled a hearing for this week titled "Strengthening the Border - Finding the Right Mix of Personnel, Infrastructure and Technology."  

"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 briefing by the head of the Deparment of State's Bureau of Population, Refugess, and Migration (PRM) on the situation in Tunisia and a number of events relating to Iraqi refugees.


Click Here to See a Listing of the Likely Immigration Action For the Week of March 14


 

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


By Micheal E. Hill

Friday, March 11, 2011  -- 5:15 pm EST
--Updated on Sunday, March 13, 2011, at 10:20 am EDT--

 

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 crisis, events in the middle east, and the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power crises in Japan 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.  Much of the March 13, 2011, brodcast of ABC's "This Week" program will emanate from Japan as the program covers the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power crises gripping the island nation.  In addition to coverage of the crises in Japan, the guest list for the program will be a House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY).  Given the lineup of guests, it is unlikely that the subject of immigration will come up during the program.
  • CBS - Face the Nation.  Among the guests on the March 13, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation" program will be Senate Homeland Security and Govenmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman  (I-CT) and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-LA).  The program also will feature observations from CBS News correspondents on the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power crises in Japan in the Pacific.  Given the lineup of guests, it is unlikely that the subject of immigration will come up during the program.
  • CNN - State of the Union.  Among the guests on the March 13, 2011, edition of  CNN's "State of the Union" will be Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the United States; Dr. James action, a theoretical physicist who visited Japan's closely-watched Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant last year; and James Lee Witt, former FEMA director.  Also scheduled to appear on the program are Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (D-CA).  While several of the scheduled guests are welll-versed on the subject of immigration, the ongoing budget talks are likely to dominate the program and the subject of immigration is unlikely to come up.
  • FOX - FOX News Sunday.  Among the guests appearing on the March 13, 2011, edition of FOX's "FOX News Sunday" will be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).  Appearing on the roundtable discussion segment of the program will be Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard and Fox News; Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times; Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush; and Kirsten Powers of the New York Post and Fox NewsGiven the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration could come up during the interview segment of the program.
  • NBC - Meet the Press.  Appearing on the March 13, 2011, edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" will be Senate Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Charles S. Schumer (D-NY) and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be political reporter for The Washington Post, Dan Balz; and host of NPR's "All Things Considered," Michele Norris.  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration could come up during the interview segment of the program.

MicEvHill.Com will post any immigration-related video excerpts from the programs beginning late afternoon on Sunday, March 13.

 

Senate Judiciary Committee Turns Back "Good Moral Character" Citizenship Amendment as it Approves USA PATRIOT Act
Extension Measure


By Micheal E. Hill

Friday, March 11, 2011
  -- 8:55 am EST
--Updated on Friday, March 11, 2011, at 1:38 pm EST--



The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has approved legislation to extend several expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.  The Committee's action occurred on Thursday, March 10, 2011, in connection with S. 193, the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011. The Committee approved the measure by a voice vote after considering eight amendments, including one immigration-related amendment, which the Committee rejected. Despite the rejection of the immigration-related amendment, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) put the Committee on notice that they may offer immigration-related amendments to the bill when it is brought before the full Senate later this year.


Summary of Immigration- and Refugee-Related Provisions

As introduced, S. 193 did not contain any immigration- or refugee-related provisions.


Immigration- or Refugee-Related Amendments Offered During the Markup
During the course Thursday's markup, one amendment was offered that would have had a consequence for immigration or refugee policy:
  • CORNYN AMENDMENT TO EXPAND THE DEFINITION OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER FOR THE PURPOSES OF NATURALIZATION AND OTHER IMMIGRATION BENEFITS.  Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security Ranking Minority Member John Cornyn (R-TX) offered an amendment that would have amended Section 101(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines “good moral character.”
Under current law, a person of “good moral character” is ineligible to become a naturalized United States citizens, as well as being ineligible for many other immigration benefits. Current law provides that when a person applies for naturalization, DHS may look back five years to determine whether or not the applicant is “of good moral character.”

The Cornyn amendment would have expanded the time period for good moral character considerations beyond the current law’s five-year period in the case of persons deemed to be described in Sections 212(a)(3) or 237(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (security and related grounds of inadmissibility).  In addition, the amendment would have provided the Attorney General of the United States with the unreviewable discretion to determine that an alien has at any time been described in Sections 212(a)(3) or 237(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  And the amendment would have provided that such a determination by the Attorney General would apply retroactively to an alien, thus, permitting the federal government to revoke any immigration benefit that the alien might have received that is dependent on the alien having “good moral character.”

The Cornyn Amendment was tabled on a party-line vote of 10-8, thus it was not  directly voted on and did not become a part of the bill.

During the course of the markup, Senator Cornyn described his amendment as being needed because the government does not have the ability to deny citizenship to terrorists based on their moral character if their acts of terrorism occurred more than five years before they apply for naturalization.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed extreme skepticism about Senator Cornyn's claim, calling the amendment unnecessary, warning about its retroactive impact, and suggesting it was "a solution in search of a problem."

Several Democratic senators, including Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) expresssed support for the concept embodied in Cornyn amendment, indicating that they likely will vote for it on the Senate floor if it is offered.  However, in the end, they and all of the other Democrats on the committee joined with Chairman Leahy in voting to table the amendment after the Chairman made the point that adding the amendment to the bill would open up the bill to other, more contentious immigration-related amendments both in the Committee and on the Senate floor.  Senator Feinstein, in particular, expressed agreement with Senator Leahy on this point, saying that if the Cornyn amendment was adopted, she would attempt to attach her AgJOBS bill to the USA PATRIOT Act extension bill, as well.

In the end, the amendment was tabled on a party-line vote of 10-8.


Next Steps
Now that the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has approved S. 193, the next step in the legislative process is for the Committee to formally report the measure to the full Senate.  Once that is done, the Senate could at any time take up the measure. According to the Committee Leadership, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised the Committee that he will set aside a week of floor time for the full Senate to consider the measure.

Several senators promised to offer a number of immigration-related floor amendments to the bill at that time.



Click on the Play Button, above, to see the debate that occurred on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the Cornyn, "Good Moral Character" amendment to S. 193.


Click Here to See the Text of the Cornyn "Good Moral Character" Amendment

 

Senate Rejects Both the House-Passed and a Senate Alternative
Version of the FY '11 Continuing Appropriations Resolution


By Micheal E. Hill

Thursday, March 10, 2011
  -- 8:00 am EST
--Updated on Thursday, March 10, 2011, at 2:45 pm EST--
--Original Version Updated on Story First Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, at 9:45 am EST--

The full Senate has rejected both a House-passed full-year fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations resolution and a Senate alternative to that measure, paving the way for the commencement of what promises to be long, difficult, and intensive negotiations between the U.S. House of Represenatives, U.S. Senate, and the White House on how to settle the year-long dispute that is raging over fiscal year 2011 spending.  Senate action on the two competing spending measures occurred on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.  The first vote occurred on the House-passed version of H.R. 1, a full-year fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 44-56.  The second vote occurred on a Senate Appropriations Committee-drafted alternative continuing appropriations resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 42-58.

The Senate Democratic Leadership brought the two measures before the Senate for a vote despite the certainty that the Senate would reject both measures.  When asked why the Senate was going to vote on the two measures even though there was no chance that either would be approved, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) said,
"[w]e want to show on the record that H.R. 1, the House Republican budget, is so bad that it cannot pass the Senate - and that those in the House that have taken this position have to understand that they have to sit down and negotiate in a reasonable way so that we can do all the work and not close down the government."   Durbin went on to assert,  "It is a painful vote for those who still cling to the belief that they are moderate Republicans . ... I'm not going to name names, but I can think of half a dozen Republican senators who do not want to be on the record cutting funding for Planned Parenthood. They may not want to be on record on some of the environmental cuts." 

Prior to Wednesday's votes, the Obama Administration expressed support for the Senate version of the measure and threatened to veto the House version, saying in a statement of administration policy that, ""[t]he Administration strongly opposes Senate passage of H.R. 1, making appropriations for the Department of Defense and the other departments and agencies of the Government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes. As stated previously, the Administration is committed to cutting spending and reducing the deficit so that current Government spending does not add to the debt, and has put forward a plan to do just that. However, the Administration does not support deep cuts that will undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world. The unbalanced bill would undermine the Nation’s economic recovery and its ability to succeed in a complex global environment."  The statement went on to assert that "[i]f the President is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the President will veto the bill."

After the votes, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), a member of the Senate Democratic Leadership, asserted,
“It’s time for a reset."  He went on to say that "[w]e should approach the talks with fresh eyes and a new mindset.”  After the votes, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declared that “[t]oday’s votes in the Senate demonstrate that Democrats and Republicans must come together to find common ground on a budget that cuts spending and puts us on a path to live within our means.”


Summary of Immigration- and Refugee-Related Provisions
The House-passed version of H.R. 1 would make deep cuts in refugee admissions, overseas refugee assistance, and refugee resettlement programs; cuts in funding for some border security efforts; bar funding for immigration integration; and relax existing restrictions on funding for fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Senate version of the measure would have made no such cuts.

Among the significant immigration- and refugee-related items in the Senate version of H.R. 1 are the following:
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Senate measure would appropriate $5.5 BILLION for Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau, which the Senate Appropriations Committee says is $11 MILLION below the President's request for fiscal year 2011 and $38 MILLION above the amount contained in the House-passed version of H.R. 1. Within the ICE appropriation, the Senate measure would mandate a level of not less than 33,400 detention beds through the end of fiscal year 2011, which the Senate Appropriations Committee says is the same as in the House-passed version of H.R. 1.
  • Customs and Border Protection. The Senate measure would appropriate $9.913 BILLION for the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP) bureau, which the Senate Committee on Appropriations says is $110 MILLION above the President’s request for fiscal year 2011 and $151 MILLION above the House-passed version of H.R. 1. The Committee asserts that the appropriation for CBP includes enough funding to fully fund the equivalent level of 20,500 Border Patrol Agents, the level that is mandated in the bill. 
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Senate measure would directly appropriate $147 MILLION for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bureau, which the Senate Committee on Appropriations says is $239 MILLION less than the President’s request for fiscal year 2011 and $129 MILLION less than the amount contained in the House-passed version of H.R. 1. Within the USCIS appropriation, the Senate measure would provide $25 MILLION for the costs of processing refugee and asylum claims. This would be $182 MILLION below the President’s request. The Senate measure’s appropriation for USCIS also would provide $103.4 MILLION for on-going E-Verify activities, which the Committee asserts is the same level as provided in the House-passed version of H.R. 1 and the same amount requested by the President for fiscal year 2011.
  • Migration and Refugee Assistance. The appropriation of $1.68 BILLION for Department of State's Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account, which funds both refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance. The Senate Committee on Appropriations asserts that the appropriation would be $79.6 MILLION above the Administration’s fiscal year 2011 request and $662 MILLION above the amount contained in the House-passed version of H.R. 1. The Senate defends the proposed increase in funding for the MRA account by asserting that “[a]t a time when the number of refugees and other displaced persons in the Middle East North Africa, and Pakistan is skyrocketing, and protected refugee crises exist in countries neighboring Iraq, the U.S. has compelling security and humanitarian interests in providing aid to these populations.”
  • Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance. The Senate measure would appropriate $45 MILLION for Department of State's Emergency Refugee and Migration and Assistance (ERMA) account, which is a no-year fund that is drawn-down from, as necessary, to meet emergency refugee needs. In addition to appropriating $45 MILLION for fiscal year 2011 for the ERMA account, the bill would increase from $100 MILLION to S200 MILLION the maximum amount of money that can be parked in the ERMA account at any given moment, and it would permit the Secretary of State to draw funds from the account, easing current law that only permits the President to do so.
  • Office of Refugee Resettlement. The Senate measure would appropriate $730.9 MILLION for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for Refugee and Entrant Assistance, of which up to $9.814 MILLION would be made available for trafficking victim assistance. This is the same amount appropriated for ORR in fiscal year 2010. It also is the same amount found in the House-passed version of H.R. 1, except that H.R. 1 would rescind $77 MILLION in fiscal year 2010 funding for ORR, an action that the Senate bill would not replicate.
  • Executive Office for Immigration Review. With regard to funding for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the like the House-passed version of H.R. 1, the Senate measure 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.

Next Steps

Now that the Senate has rejected both the House-passed version of H.R. 1 and a Senate alternative to that measure, in is anticipated that intensive negotiations will ensue on coming to a final resolution of the year-long spending impasse.  In the meantime, fiscal year 2011 spending authority is set to expire at midnight on Friday, March 18.  Reports indicate that the House of Representatives is working on a stop-gap three week-long continuing appropriations resolution that would continue fiscal year 2011 spending through Friday, April 8, and make $6 BILLION in additional cuts in fiscal year 2011 spending relative to fiscal year 2010.


Click Here to See the White House Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 1

Click Here to See the Text of the House-Passed Version of H.R. 1
Click Here to See the Senate Alternative Version of H.R. 1

 

Secetary Napolitano Testifies at Senate Judiciary Committee
Oversight Hearing on the Operations of the
Department of Homeland Security



By Micheal E. Hill
Wednesday, March 9, 2011  -- 12:15 pm EST
--Updated on Thursday, March 10, 2011, at 2:15 pm EST--

Streaming Video of Recorded Event!

On Wednesday, March 9, 2011, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held an oversight hearing on the operations of the Department of Homeland Security.  The Secretary made extensive references to immigration and border security during her prepared remarks, and she addressed numerous immigration and border security-related questions during the question-and-answer portion of the hearing.
 
Click on the play button, below to watch streaming video of the hearing:

 
Click Here to See the Transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing

Click Here for the Text of Secretary Napolitano's Prepared Statement for the Hearing
Click Here for Text of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy's Opening Statement
Click Here for the Text of Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Grassley's Opening Statement
 
 

Senate Maneuvering on the FY '11 Continuing Appropriations Bill, a Hearing on Radical Muslim Extremism in the U.S., a Hearing on Whether Foreign-Born are Taking Jobs from Natural Born Citizens, and Numerous Hearings on the Obama FY '12 Budget Submission Highlight This Week's Immigration and Refugee Action


By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, March 7, 2011
  -- 6:45 am EST
--Original Version of Story First Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011, at 7:18 pm EST--

Several high profile items with potential immigration and refugee policy consequences highlight this week's legislative schedule.

The highest profile matters with potential immigration- or refugee consequences that are occurring this week include a hearing in the House Committee on Homeland Security on radicalization in the American Muslim community; two Senate
test votes on the fiscal year 2011 full-year fiscal continuing appropriations resolution, one version of which would make deep cuts in refugee assistance, admissions, and resettlement funding; a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing examining the question of whether foreign-born persons in the United States are more successful in finding jobs than native-born U.S. citizens; a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Department of Homeland Security featuring Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; and numerous hearings on the immigration- and refugee-related aspects of the Obama Administration's fiscal year 2012 budget submission.


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

The following lists several highlights of this week's possible immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
  • Senate Floor Votes in Relation to the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Appropriations Resolution.  The full Senate is expected to conduct two test votes this week in relation to the fiscal year 2011 full-year continuing appropriations resolution, which would fund the operations of the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2011.  More specifically, a Senate test vote will likely occur on Tuesday on the House-passed version of H.R. 1, which would make deep cuts in refugee assistance, admissions, and resettlement funding, and another test vote will likely occur in the Senate on a Senate Appropriations Committee-drafted alternative continuing appropriations resolution that would not make deep cuts in refugee assistance, admissions, and resettlement.  The affirmative votes of 60 or more senators will be needed to advance either measure.  That threshold is not likely to be met in either case.
  • House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Radical Muslims in the United States.  The House Committee on Homeland Security this week is holding the first in a series of hearing in which it will  examine what it believes is al Qaeda’s coordinated radicalization and recruitment of people within the American Muslim community.  The title of this week's hearing is "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response."
  • House Judiciary Committee Panel Hearing on Jobs and the Foreign-Born.  The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Policy has scheduled a hearing for this week titled “New Jobs in Recession and Recovery: Who Are Getting Them and Who Are Not.”  Among the matters that are expected to be examined during the hearing is an October 2010 Pew Hispanic Center analysis that found foreign-born workers had gained 656,000 jobs since the end of the 2009 recession while native-born workers had lost 1.2 million jobs during the same period.
  • Secretary Napolitano Testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary.  Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is scheduled to testify this week at an oversight hearing of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
  • Testimony of Several Cabinet and Subcabinet Officials on the Obama FY '12 Budget Submission.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton, and Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Customs and Border protection (CBP) Alan Bersin are all scheduled to testify this week before various House or Senate committees and subcommittees on various immigration- or refugee-related aspects of President Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget submission.

"Off-of-the-Hill" Activity

In addition to the heavy 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 an Urban Institute panel presentation titled, "Is It Time to Revisit Skill- and Family-Based Immigration?" and a Freedom Network USA conference on "The Future of Freedom: Shaping Tomorrow's Anti-Trafficking Movement."


Click Here to See a Listing of the Likely Immigration Action For the Week of March 7


 

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


By Micheal E. Hill

Friday, March 4, 2011  -- 10:45 am EST
--Updated on Friday, March 4, 2011, at 6:00 pm EST--

 

The fiscal crisis facing the federal government and the continuing deterioration of governments in the Middle East are expected to be the top issues of discussion during the coming weekend's Sunday public affairs programs.  At the time of this writing, the subject of immigration does not figure to be an issue of discussion on any of the upcoming 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 March 6, 2011, edition of  ABC's "This Week" program will be a panel of activist women from Egypt, Iran, and elsewhere in the Middle East to discuss developments in the Middle East.
  • CBS - Face the Nation.  Among the guests on the March 6, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation" program will be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry (D-MA), and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.  Given the lineup of guests, it is unlikely that the subject of immigration will come up during the program.
  • CNN - State of the Union.  Among the guests on the March 6, 2011, edition of  CNN's "State of the Union" will be House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, who will discuss the upcoming hearings in the House Committee on Homeland Security on homegrown terrorism.
  • FOX - FOX News Sunday.  Among the guests appearing on the March 6, 2011, edition of FOX's "FOX News Sunday" will be Margie Phelps, Attorney for the Westboro Baptist Church, which won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court affirming its right to protest at the funeral of fallen American servicemembers.  Also appearing on the program will be Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).  Appearing on the roundtable discussion segment of the program will be Chris Stirewalt, Fox News Digital Politics Editor; Nina Easton of Fortune Magazine and Fox News; Kevin Madden, Former Press Secretary for Mitt Romney; and Juan Williams, Fox News Political Analyst.  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration could come up during the interview segment of the program.
  • NBC - NBC - Meet the Press. Meet the Press.  Appearing on the March 6, 2011, edition of NBC's "Meet the Press" will be White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN).  Appearing during the roundtable segment of the program will be Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and New York Times columnist David Brooks.  Given the lineup of guests, the subject of immigration could come up during the interview segment of the program.

MicEvHill.Com will post any immigration-related video excerpts from the programs beginning late afternoon on Sunday, March 6.

 

Secretary Clinton Decries Cuts in Refugee Funding in House-Passed Measure During Testimony on President Obama's FY '12 Foreign Affairs Budget Request

By Micheal E. Hill
Wednesday, March 2, 2011  -- 9:00 am EST


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday joined several Members of Congress in decrying massive cuts in refugee admissions and assistance that are contained in the House-passed version of H.R. 1, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act.  The Secretary's remarks were made during a Tuesday, March 1, 2011, hearing that the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held on President Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget request for foreign affairs.

While Secretary Clinton did not address the issue of refugees in her prepared testimony or in her opening oral remarks before the Committee, several Members of Congress spontaneously referenced cuts in refugee funding during their opening statements or during their questioning of the Secretary.  House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Minority Member Howard Berman (D-CA) referred to what he called "massive cuts in refugee assistance," calling them part of a
"slash and burn process with no consideration for all the critically important work that is being destroyed or how it undermines our national security."  Ranking Member Berman went on to note that H.R. 1 "savages nearly every program that protects the poorest and most vulnerable people."  Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ) said he was distressed by a number of cuts in H.R. 1, including what he termed was a 41 percent cut in migration and refugee assistance.

Secretary Clinton's comments on refugee funding came in response to a question posed by Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who asked her
what the impact would be on funding cuts for the Migration and Refugee Assistance Account.  In response to Representative Meeks, Secretary Clinton said, "[t]he United States has been, and I hope will remain, the leader in dealing with refugee challenges, internally displaced people, people fleeing from conflict.  And it has been one of the areas where we're able to claim that we've put our values into action because we're there on the ground." 

The Secretary went on to note that when one goes to refugee camps, one sees a big USAID sign there.  She said that sign was a signal of "
what it means to have experienced development experts who provide the base for a safe place, whether it's in eastern Congo or from a flood in Pakistan or in Haiti or anywhere else. So this is a particular concern that we'd be prepared to continue the humanitarian work that undergirds a lot of what people know about us around the world." 

The Secretary concluded her remarks about refugee assistance, saying "
it's not only doing the right thing, which should be the primary reason we do it, but frankly, I want to build the American brand again so that when people get food, clean water, shelter, they know where it came from. It came from the generosity of the American people.
And so this is for me a big issue and we're doing even more to try to get that message out so that we can be the leader that we -- that I think the American people with their generosity want us to be."


Complete Transcript of the House Foreign Affairs Hearing with Secretary Clinton


 
  
New Today!
New!  MicEvHill.Com has posted today's edition of its "Today on the Hill" page, which details the likely congressional immigration- and refugee-related legislative activity for Thursday, March 31, 2011. --  Click Here to See the March 31, 2011, Edition of "Today on the Hill"
  
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 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
 
New This Week!
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"
 
New This Month!
MicEvHill.Com has posted a sneak peek at the possible immigration-related discussions that could take place during this coming weekend's Sunday public affairs programs. -- Click Here to See a preview of the March 20, 2011, Sunday Public Affairs Programs
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the transcript of the March 15, 2011, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing on border security issues. --  Click Here to See the Transcript of the March 15, Hearing
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the transcript of the March 16, 2011, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing on FY '12 appropriations for southwest border security. --  Click Here to See the Transcript of the March 16, Hearing

MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of March 14, 2011
. --  
Click Here to See the March 14, 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 14, 2011
. --  
Click Here to See the March 14 2011, Edition of "This Week on the Hill"
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a sneak peek at the possible immigration-related discussions that could take place during this coming weekend's Sunday public affairs programs. --
Click Here to See a preview of the March 13, 2011, Sunday Public Affairs Programs
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the draft text of  H.J. Res. 48, a three week-long Fiscal Year 2011 Short-Term, Stop-Gap Continuing Appropriations Resolution, which the House expects to take up on Tuesday, April 15, 2011. -- Click Here to See the Just-Released Text of H.J. Res. 48
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a summary of the March 10, 2011, Senate Judiciary Committee action rejecting an amendment that sought to increase hurdles for U.S. citizenship a part of legislation extending expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. -- Click Here to See the Summary of the Action in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted today's edition of its "Today on the Hill" page, which details the likely congressional immigration- and refugee-related legislative activity for Friday, March 11, 2011. --  Click Here to See the March 11, 2011, Edition of "Today on the Hill"
  
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 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 summary of the impending Senate floor action in relation to the House-passed version of H.R. 1, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Resolution, and a
Senate Democrats' alternative to H.R. 1. -- Click Here to See the Summary of the impending Senate Floor Action in Relation to H.R. 1
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of the prepared testimony of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano at the Wednesday, March 9, 2011, Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the operations of the Department of Homeland Security.  --  Click Here to See the Text of Secretary Napolitano's Prepared Testimony at the March 9,  2011, Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing on the Operations of the Department of Homeland Security
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of March 7, 2011
. --  
Click Here to See the March 7, 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 March 7, 2011
. --  
Click Here to See the Summary of the Likely Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Activity for the Week of March 7, 2011
 
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 7, 2011. --  Click Here to See the March 7 2011, Edition of "This Week on the Hill"
  
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of the Senate Democrats' alternative to the House-passed version of H.R. 1, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Resolution, which was filed on Friday, March 4, 2011, as an amendment to H.R. 1.
-- Click Here to See the Text of the Senate Democrats' Alternative to H.R. 1
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a summary of the Senate Democrats' alternative to the House-passed version of H.R. 1, the Fiscal Year 2011 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Resolution, which was prepared by the staff of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. -- Click Here to See the Senate Appropriations Committee-Prepared Summary of Its Alternative to H.R. 1
 
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 number of new immigration- and refugee-related documents on its "Top Documents" page, including links to transcripts of numerous House and Senate hearings at which immigration or refugee matters were discussed.  --  Click Here to See the MicEvHill.Com's "Top Documents" Page
 
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 March 6, 2011, Sunday Public Affairs Programs
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a summary of the refugee issues that came up during the Tuesday, March 1, 2011, House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on President Obama's Fiscal Year 2012 foreign affairs budget request
. --  
Click Here to See the Summary of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing's Treatment of Refugee Issues
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of the prepared testimony of the witnesses at the Tuesday, March 1, 2011, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement's hearing on race and immigration
. --  
Click Here to See the Text of the Prepared Testimony at the March 1,  2011, House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted the text of  H.J. Res. 44, the House version of the Fiscal Year 2011 Short-Term, Stop-Gap Continuing Appropriations Resolution, which the House expects to take up on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. -- 
Click Here to See the Just-Released Text of H.J. Res. 44
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a brief write-up summarizing the likely legislative activity that Congress will face during the week of February 28, 2011. --  Click Here to See the Summary of the Likely Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Activity for the Week of February 28, 2011
 
MicEvHill.Com has posted a link to the "Weekly Update on "Immigration and Refugee Legislative Matters" for the week of February 28, 2011. --  Click Here to See the February 28, 2011, Edition of the Weekly Legislative Update


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