A House Judiciary Committee Hearing Featuring Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Markup of the
FY '13 Bill that Funds Refugee Resettlement Highlight the Coming Week's
Immigration- and Refugee-Related Legislative Activity
By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, July 16, 2012 -- 8:00 am EDT
--Original Version Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012, at 3:00 pm EDT--
A hearing in the House Committee on the Judiciary that promises to be long and contentious and a markup in a House Appropriations subcommittee that is likely to be equally long and contentious highlight the coming week's immigration and refugee legislative agenda.
There actually are three hearings scheduled for the coming week at which immigration-related matters could be examined, including one on human trafficking featuring testimony from actress Jada Pinkett Smith. However, the hearing that is likely to generate the most attention during the coming week is occurring on Thursday, July 19, in the House Committee on the Judiciary. That hearing will feature as its sole witness Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Republicans can be expected to grill the Secretary on such subjects as the Administration's prosecutorial discretion for DREAM Act children initiative, the Administration's general exercise of prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases, the Administration's position on extending, terminating, and operating 287(g) agreements, the Administration's new detention standards, and the Administration's lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of various states' immigration enforcement laws.
At the time of this writing, only one markup is scheduled for the coming week that is likely to address immigration- or refugee-related matters. The bill that is the subject of that markup, the yet-to-be-unveiled Fiscal Year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, will likely include provsions that provide fiscal year 2013 funding for the federal government's refugee resettlement program, funding for assistance to foreign-born trafficking and torture victims found in the United States, and funding for the care and placement of unaccompanied alien children who are found here. The controversy that will surround that bill will likely have nothing to do with immigration. Rather, the markup of the measure is likely to become mired in controversy and contentiousness because of deep cuts that it llikely will make in domestic spending programs and because of efforts that Republicans are expected to make to defund programs and activities mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
Other action impacting immigration policy that could occur at any time is the introduction by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) of legislation that would provide additional immigrant visas to foreign graduates of American universities in high-tech fields and offset the increased visas by eliminating the Diversity Visa program. Additionally, the House and Senate at any time could take steps to formally begin to resolve differences between their respective versions of legislation reauthorizing and revising programs under the umbrella of the Violence Against Women Act.
At the time of this writing, three hearings that could examine various aspects of immigration- or refugee-related policy, the markup of one measure that either contains significant immigration- or refugee-related provisions or that is likely to become a target for immigration- or refugee-related amendments, and one floor action on a measure that contains significant immigration- or refugee-related provisions is scheduled during the coming week.
The following lists some of the highlights of coming week's immigration- or refugee-related legislative-related action:
- Full House Consideration of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. The full House of Representatives this week is scheduled to take up H.R. 6018, the “Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013”. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved the measure on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, ordering that it be reported to the full House of Representatives. The measure does not contain provisions authorizing funding for the Department of State's refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs that traditionally are found in the bill. It contains only two immigration- or refugee-related provisions. One would expand the authority of Department of State and Foreign Service Special agents to not only include investigations concerning illegal passport or visa issuance or use, but also to include identity theft or document fraud affecting or relating to the programs, functions, and authorities of the Department of State. The other would set the fee for border crossing cards for minors at one-half of the fee that would otherwise apply for processing a machine readable combined border crossing identification card and nonimmigrant visa. The current fee set in law is $13 for border crossing cards for minors.
- House Appropriations Subcommittee Markup of FY '13 Appropriations Bill that Funds Refugee Resettlement and Unaccompanied Alien Children. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies has scheduled a markup for the week of July 16 of its version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. Each year, the measure funds the operations of the Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which administers the federal government's refugee resettlement, trafficking victim assistance, torture victim assistance, and unaccompanied alien child programs and functions.
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Human Trafficking. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has scheduled a hearing for the week of July 16 on human trafficking, focusing on how the fight against human trafficking might be carried out over the next ten years, focusing on attacking the problem with the right tools. Testifying at the hearing will be Jada Pinkett Smith, actress and advocate, Don't Sell Bodies, Los Angeles, California; David Abramowitz, Vice President for Policy and Government Relations, Humanity United; and Holly Burkhalter, Vice President for Government Relations, International Justice Mission.
- House Homeland Security Panel Hearing on Flight Schools and Terrorists. The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security has scheduled an oversight hearing for the week of July 16 titled, "A Decade After 9/11 Could American Flight Schools Still Unknowingly Be Training Terrorists?". At the time of this writing, the witness list for the hearing had not yet been released.
- House Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing on the Operations of the Department of Homeland Security. The House Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled an oversight hearing for the week of July 16 on the operations of the Department of Homeland Security that are under the jurisdiction of the Committee. It is anticipated that the sole witness at the hearing will be Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
House and Senate Searching for a Way to Get Differing Versions of Violence Against Women Reauthorization Bills to Conference. The Senate and the House of Representatives have each passed differing versions of legislation that would reauthorize and revise programs under the Violence Against Women Act. And action could occur at any time to move the two bodies towards resolving the differences between the two bills. The Senate passed S. 1925, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011", on April 26, 2012, by a vote of 68-31. The House passed H.R. 4970, the “Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2012”, on May 16, 2012, doing so by a vote of 222-205. Both measures contain significant immigration-related provisions, including a controversial provision in the Senate-passed version of the measure that would amend the definition of an aggravated felony under the Immigration and Natonality Act to include a third conviction for driving under the influence, a provision in the Senate-passed bill expanding the number of "U" Visas for alien victims of domestic violence, a provision in the Senate-passed measure charging a fee to all Diversity Visa applicants, and numerous provisions in the House-passed version of the legislation that would rollback current protections for alien victims of domestic violence.
In addition to "on the Hill" immigration- and refugee-related action that is scheduled for the coming week, a number of significant "off of the Hill" immigration- and refugee-related activities also are occurring.
The following lists several highlights of the coming week's "off-of-the-Hill" immigration- and refugee-related legislative-related action:
Panel Discussion on Building a 21st Century Border. The Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) has scheduled a discussion for the week of July 16 titled, "How to Build a 21st Century Border." Participants in the discussion will include Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin; Chappell Lawson, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) International Science and Technology Initiatives; Erik Lee, Associate Director of the North American Center for Transborder Studies; and Christopher Wilson, Associate at the Mexico Institute.
Discussion on the H-1B Program. The Brookings Institution has scheduled a discussion for the week of July 16 on the "Geography of H-1B Workers". Participants in the discussion will include Participants will include William J. Antholis, Managing Director,The Brookings Institution; Bruce Katz, Vice President and Director, Metropolitan Policy Program; The Brookings Institution; Neil G. Ruiz, Senior Policy Analyst and Associate Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution; Bruce Katz, Vice President and Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution; Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Vivek Wadhwa, Vice President of Academics and Innovation, Singularity University.
- Panel Discussion on High Skilled Workers and Regulatory Reform. The New Policy Institute has scheduled a discussion for the week of July 16 titled, "Rethinking Immigration Reform." Participants in the discussion will include Tamar Jacoby, President and CEO of Immigration Works USA; Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Frank Sherry, Executive Director of America's Voice.
- Presentation on the Latino Vote in 2012 and Beyond. The Center for American Progress Action Fund has scheduled a presentation for the week of July 16 on the Latino Vote in 2012 and Beyond. Participants in the presentation will include Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Gary Segura, Co-founder, Latino Decisions, and Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Chicano/a Studies at Stanford University; and Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza.
- White House Daily Briefings. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is scheduled to conduct daily briefings every day during the coming week, at which he will field questions from the White House press corps, including possible questions on immigration- and refugee-related matters.
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of July 9, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of July 2, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of June 25, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of June 18, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of June 11, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of June 4, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of May 28, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of May 21, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of May 14, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of May 7, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of April 30, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of April 23, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of April 16, 2012