Congress Faces a Light Agenda of Scheduled Immigration Legislative Activity Before Beginning a Five Week-Long August Recess, But Significant Unscheduled Action Could Occur, As Well
By Micheal E. Hill
Monday, July 30, 2012 -- 12:01 am EDT
--Updated in Thursday, August 2, 2002 at 6:15 am EDT--
Congress convenes this week for a final push of legislative activity before begnning its five week-long August recess.
The recess that follows this week's legislative action will be eventful. A number of states, including such immigration-centric states as Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina, will decide their nominees for several highly contested House and Senate races. Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA), the presumptive 2012 Republican presidenital nominee, will unveil his Vice Presidential running mate during the August recess and there is a significant possibility that his choice will come with a significant record on immigration matters. And Republicans and Democrats will hold their respective 2012 presidential nominating conventions.
But before Congress leaves for what promises to be an eventful August recess, it will have to get through this week's legislative activity.
Congress faces a light agenda of scheduled immigration and refugee-related activity during the week to come, with just one hearing, one markup, and one floor action on the official calendar. However, the most eventful immigration actions during the week to come could turn out to be events that are not on the official schedule
For some time now, Immigration advocates have expected that before Congress leaves the Nation's Capitol for its August recess, three actions might occur:
Increased STEM Visas. First, they have been awaiting word on whether House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) will reach agreement with key players in the House and Senate on 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.
Violence Against Women Act. Second, advocates have eagerly awaited word on whether a compromise might be reached that would allow the House and Senate to formally begin talks to resolve differences between their respective versions of legislation reauthorizing and revising programs under the umbrella of the Violence Against Women Act.
- Expiring Immigration Provisions. And third, advocates have eagerly awaited word on whether an agreement can be struck in the Senate to pass legislation extending four expiring immigration programs: the E-Verify System, the Conrad 30 Visa Waiver Program, the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Visa Program, and the EB-5 Investor Visa Regional Centers program.
Scheduled On-the-Hill Activity
At the time of this writing, one floor action on immigration- or refugee-related matters, one hearing that could examine various aspects of immigration- or refugee-related policy and the markup of one measure that contains significant immigration- and efugee-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:
- House Floor Consideration of Student Visa Reform Bill. The full House of Representatives during the week of July 30 is scheduled to take up H.R. 3120, the “Student Visa Reform Act”, legislation introduced by House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Ranking Minority Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).
- House Homeland Security Subcommittee Markup of DHS Accountability Act. The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management has scheduled a markup for the week of July 30 of H.R. 5913, the "DHS Accountability Act of 2012". As introduced, the measure that would create an independent advisory panel to comprehensively assess the management structure and capabilities related to the Department of Homeland Security and make recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the management of the Department.
- House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on English as the Nation's Official Language. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution has scheduled a hearing for the week of July 30 on H.R. 997, the "English Language Unity Act of 2011", which would declare English as the official language of the United States.
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.
Scheduled "Off-of-the-Hill" Activity
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 Unaccompanied Alien Children. The Migration Policy Institute has scheduled a panel discussion for the week of July 30 with experts from both Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Women’s Refugee Commission, focusing on the causes of the increase in unaccompanied minor migrants, the situation these minors face once detained or apprehended, and the challenges confronting both nongovernmental organizations trying to provide aid and the US government agencies responsible for processing minors through the system. Participants in the discussion will include Michelle Brané, Director of the Detention and Asylum program, Women's Refugee Commission; Jessica Jones, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Detention and Asylum Program, Women's Refugee Commission; Wendy Young, Executive Director of KIND; and Kathleen Newland, MPI Co-Founder and Director of the Refugee Policy and Migrants, Migration, and Development Programs.
Panel Discussion on the Immigrant Workforce and the Future of U.S. Immigration Policy. The Brookings Institution and the Partnership for a New American Economy have scheduled a panel discussion for the week of July 30 titled, "The Immigrant Workforce and the Future of U.S. Immigration Policy." Participants will include David Hart, Professor and Director, Center for Science and Technology Policy, George Mason University School of Public Policy; Scott Corley, Executive Director, Compete America; B. Lindsay Lowell, Director, Policy Studies, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University; Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies; and John Wilhelm, President, UNITE HERE.
- 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 30, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of July 23, 2012
Detailed Listing of the Likely Immigration Actions For the Week of July 16, 2012
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