Senate Committee Considers Changes to Enforcement and Immigration Courts

On May 20, 2013, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee held its fourth markup of S. 774, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. This markup focused primarily on Title II of the legislation, dealing with immigrant visa, and Title III, dealing with interior enforcement and immigration court reform. The Committee considered 50 amendments on this day, with 30 being approved.

Among the amendments approved by the Committee were:

  • Proposals by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to ensure that VAWA self-applicants receive work authorization within 180 days of filing and by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) to ensure that asylum applicants receive work authorization within 180 days of filing.
  • A proposal by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) to allow parents who have been detained to make calls to arrange for the care of their children, allow them to participate in decisions about their children’s welfare and require ICE to consider the interests of children when deciding whether to deport their parents.
  • A proposal by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that provides for termination of asylum or refugee status if the asylee or refugee returns to his or her home country.
  • A proposal by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) to ensure that a noncitizen facing deportation will receive a copy of their immigration file.
  • A proposal by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) to require background checks to be conducted on all refugees and asylees before they are granted such status.
  • A proposal by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) to amend the definition of aggravated felony to include 3 drunk driving convictions. However, one of the convictions must have occurred after the enactment of the bill.
  • A proposal by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to requires the DHS Secretary to conduct additional security screenings for individuals coming from certain countries.
  • A proposal by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to make DREAMers eligible for federal financial aid.
  • A proposal by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to allow those applying for RPI status to pay the fine in installment payments.
  • A proposal by Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) to allow DREAMers to become citizens through military service.

Among the amendments rejected by the Committee were:

  • A proposal by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that would’ve prevented those in RPI status from utilizing the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • A proposal by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that would’ve allowed federal law enforcement to profile based on country of origin.
  • A proposal by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that would’ve imposed sanctions on countries that delay or prevent repatriation of their citizens and nationals.
  • A proposal by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that would’ve increased penalties for illegal entry and re-entry.
  • A proposal by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that would’ve required consideration of the receipt of certain public assistance for purposes of determining if an alien is a public charge.
  • A proposal by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) which would’ve removed section 3717 from the legislation. This section requires prompt bond hearings for all detained immigrants, ensures that immigrants are not locked up for prolonged periods without a hearing, limits detention to where no secure alternatives are available, and requires that immigration judges oversee a person’s consent to be deported from the United States to ensure that such consent is truly voluntary and informed.
  • A proposal by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that would’ve imposed a mandatory minimum bond on immigrants not from Canada or Mexico.
  • A proposal by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that would’ve limited who would qualify to apply for RPI status. It would’ve removed protection for RPI-eligible individuals DHS apprehends between the passage of the bill and the RPI application period. It would’ve also eliminated the waiver that would allow removed individuals, those with prior orders, and those who illegally reentered after 12/31/11 to apply for RPI status. Further, it would’ve eliminated protections against detention or removal for RPI-eligible individuals and would allow DHS to remove RPI-eligible individuals with prior removal or VD orders or those subject to reinstatement. It would’ve also striped RPI applicants of the ability to obtain advance parole while their application is pending and of protection against removal.
  • A proposal offered by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would’ve denied RPI status to individuals with certain misdemeanors convictions, including domestic violence, child abuse, and assault. This amendment would’ve also prohibited immigrants with 3 misdemeanor convictions from receiving a waiver under any circumstances.

The next markup is schedule for tomorrow Tuesday, May 21.

Murray Osorio PLLC are Fairfax Immigration Lawyers dedicated to their clients and to their clients’ families. If you have an immigration matter, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible. An experienced Fairfax Immigration Lawyer could make all the difference- call us at (703) 291-0879, or send us an email at info@murrayadvocates.com.

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