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US Immigration Legislation Wrap Up November 11, 2008

November 11, 2008
FAIR
    This week's wrap-up for US Legislative Immigration
  • House Committee Considers Military Amnesty Bill
  • House Votes to Terminate Cross-Border Trucking Pilot Program
  • House Panel Scrutinizes Virtual Fence
  • Committee Hearings and Markups
  • Bills on the Radar:S. 340 and H.R. 5515 (see below as 340 could come to the floor)

WEEK'S WRAP-UP

House Committee Considers Military Amnesty Bill

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee was forced to recess when Democrats and Republicans were unable to come to an agreement on legislation aimed at granting amnesty to certain individuals who have served in the U.S. armed forces and their family members. House Judiciary Members had planned to markup four immigration-related bills during the meeting, but recessed after failing to compromise on the first bill - H.R. 6020. (CongressNow, September 10, 2008)

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House Votes to Terminate Cross-Border Trucking Pilot Program

Following reports early last week that the Bush Administration intends to continue the controversial cross-border Mexican trucking program for an additional two years, the House voted overwhelmingly to terminate the pilot program. H.R. 6630, which passed the House by a vote of 395-18, marks the latest in a series of clashes between the Bush Administration and Congress over extension of the pilot program. (Roll Call 575)

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House Panel Scrutinizes Virtual Fence

On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on "Mismanagement, Missteps, and Missed Benchmarks: Why the Virtual Fence Has Not Become a Reality." The hearing was meant to address difficulties that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered in deploying a technology-based virtual fence mandated by the Secure Border Initiative (SBInet). (Committee on Homeland Security Hearing, September 10, 2008) The hearing was held just weeks after the Arizona Daily Star reported that work on the virtual fence had stopped with no date set for resumption. The stoppage occurred when the Department of the Interior refused to grant DHS permission to use the land for constructing the surveillance towers that form the basis of the virtual fences. (Arizona Daily Star, August 27, 2008)

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COMMITTEE HEARINGS AND MARKUPS THIS WEEK

SENATE:

Tuesday, Nov. 20

  • Judiciary, 10:00am, SD-216
    • Hearings for the return of subpoenas regarding legal analysis and advice from the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel related to the Bush administration's terrorism policies, including detention and interrogation policies and practices.
    • Watch the hearing here
  • Homeland Security and Government Affairs, 10:00am, SD-34
    • Hearings to examine the nomination of Robert W. McGowan, of Nevada, to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service.
    • Watch the hearing here

Wednesday, Nov. 19

  • Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 2:30pm, SD-538
    • Oversight hearings to examine the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, focusing on reviewing financial institution use of funding under the Capital Purchase Program. o Watch the hearing here HOUSE: Tuesday, Nov. 20 " Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law
    • Subcommittee will meet to markup H.R.5642 (see Bills on the Radar below)
    • Watch the markup here o H.R.5642
  • Committee on Homeland Security, 10:00am, 176 Ford HOB
    • Hearings to examine the nomination of Robert W. McGowan, of Nevada, to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service.
    • Watch the hearing here

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BILLS ON THE RADAR

S.340

  • S.340, the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act of 2007 or "AgJobs", is not new to the Senate floor. Championed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, this legislation creates an amnesty program for agricultural workers who have been unlawfully employed in the U.S. during the two years ending January 1, 2006. Initially, this program confers a temporary status, termed "blue card status," to these individuals. Then, the program gives blue card holders and their family members a path to citizenship if they perform agricultural work in the U.S. for a set length of time and apply for lawful permanent residence within a seven-year window.
  • Read more about S.340.
  • ACTION ITEM: FAIR has learned from Senate staffers that Sen. Reid may bring S.340 to the floor this week. Call your Senators and tell them you OPPOSE S.340.

H.R.5515

  • H.R.5515, titled the "New Employment Verification Act of 2008" or NEVA, would replace the voluntary E-Verify system with a mandatory electronic employer verification system. However, this legislation would also preempt all state and local laws that sanction employers for hiring illegal aliens and require electronic employee verification in their state. This would render landmark legislation in such states as Arizona, Missouri, and South Carolina meaningless.
  • Read more about H.R.5515.
  • ACTION ITEM: H.R.5515 is scheduled for markup in the Subcommittee Tuesday (see above). Call your representatives and the Members of the Subcommittee and tell them you OPPOSE H.R.5515. Tell them to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers with no strings attached!
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