As Congress adjourns for its Easter/Passover recess, many immigration-related bills have been introduced, and await action (or inaction) when Congress returns. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) lists pending legislation, including the Statue of Liberties Values Act 2.0 (SOLVE 2.0), perhaps the most creatively-named among the many bills introduced to nullify Trump’s executive orders, and the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2017. The Adoption Rights Campaign is pushing for legislation to allow now-adult adoptees to become citizens, and a House bill would bar ICE agents from identifying themselves as police – links and information on those issues and much more below.
Immigration in Congress:
Adopted years ago, thousands learn they’re not U.S. citizens (Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/4/17) The Adoption Rights Campaign is pushing Congress to change the law so that these now-adult adoptees can become the citizens they always thought they were.
“Today, amid President Trump’s call for tougher tactics against undocumented immigrants, an estimated 30,000 people who were adopted from overseas as babies or toddlers have discovered they’re not actually U.S. citizens….
“Many grown adoptees have learned their true legal status by accident, when they file for a passport or government benefit. Some are legal residents who can openly work to obtain citizenship. Others face deportation to homelands where they can’t speak the language or read a bus schedule.”
A House bill would bar ICE agents from identifying themselves as police officers (Washington Post, 4/7/17)
“A House bill introduced Thursday would bar ICE agents and officers from wearing clothing that bears the label “police.” It also would affect agents and officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“The bill’s author, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), argues that the practice is “deceptive” and could discourage people from reporting crime to their local police because of fears they’ll be reported to federal authorities for deportation.”
Watchtowers, drones, and a toxic moat: the designs for Trump’s border wall (The Guardian, 4/10/17) The first request for bids included a lot of specs:
“Rules state that the wall must be tough enough to withstand attacks from “sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools … propane or butane or other similar hand-held tools” for up to four hours, but also be “aesthetically pleasing” – although obviously only on the northern, US-facing side. It must be “physically imposing in height”, ideally 30ft, but the terms also state that shorter options of 18ft “may be acceptable”.
Then the requirements were revised, including the possibility of “a see-through component” – maybe chain-link fence? “From a first look at some of the entries, it’s hard to tell which ones are spoofs.”
Dems winning fight over wall (The Hill, 4/9/17)
“Despite President Trump’s request for more than $1 billion to fund the Mexican border wall this year, GOP leaders are expected to exclude the money in the spending bill being prepared to keep the government open beyond April 28.
“Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says the choice is pragmatic and the money will come later.”
Up Against the Wall (New York Times, 4/8/17)
“It seems certain that millions or billions of dollars will be wasted, and miles of desert despoiled, before somebody someday pulls the plug….
“Mr. Kelly is no longer an independent retired general. He is now on Team Trump, and no matter what obstacles are imposed by reality — by topography, by physics, by Congress and by the budget process — a big, beautiful wall is what the boss wants.”
And in other news:
Trump’s rigorous asylum proposals endanger domestic abuse survivors (The Guardian, 4/10/17) U.S. asylum law applies to people who are persecuted on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a “particular social group.” A 2014 ruling recognized “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” as one of those “particular social groups.”
“The argument for the validity of that ruling goes like this: in Guatemala, domestic violence against women is a pervasive and societal problem. The country’s law enforcement is both unable to stand in the way of abusersand unwilling, because of attitudes about women’s rights. Domestic violence is not a private, household problem, but one that is nation and cultural, similar to female genital mutilation or forced marriage….
The argument against granting women such as Elbia asylum holds that there are just too many women like her.
“Our country is not a battered woman’s shelter,” said the rightwing provocateur Ann Coulter said on Sean Hannity’s radio show. “We’re not here to take in all the charity cases of the world.”
Battle over sanctuary cities escalating (The Hill, 4/9/17) While there’s still no definition of “sanctuary city,” Republican state legislatures are jumping into the battle.
“Legislators in 33 states have introduced measures to limit or prevent cities from acting as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. Only one state this year, Mississippi, has enacted a ban on sanctuary jurisdictions, but several others, including Texas, Indiana, Iowa, Florida and Georgia, are advancing their own bills.”
“Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies has been arguing for restricting immigration to the U.S. for years. His ideas have a new currency inside the Trump White House. But critics are attacking his organization as a hate group.”