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Mar. 9th, 2018


THIS ISSUE: Democratic Leaders back off demands to include a DACA amnesty in the upcoming, must-pass omnibus spending bills; However, H-2B increase remains a threat

FRI, MAR 9th
For the last six months, Democrats in Congress have threatened a government shutdown unless a no-strings DACA amnesty was either passed or attached to a spending bill. But after a failed attempt to pass DACA legislation by the Senate last month, and federal court rulings forcing the Trump Administration to continue the amnesty, Democratic Leaders have ended their threats.   Congress must pass a spending bill by March 23 to avoid another government shutdown. The government’s been running on short-term spending bills since last October because of DACA, but the spending bill that may come to the House floor next week would fund the government through the end of September, ending the DACA showdown.
That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any bad immigration provisions in the spending bill (more on that in the next section), but the upcoming spending bill should at least be DACA-free.   “None of these bills has to be part of the omnibus,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday in reference to DACA and gun reform legislation.
A day earlier, the second ranking Democrat in the House, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), made a similar comment.   “I think the omnibus needs to be considered on its own merits, and then we ought to move ahead on DACA,” Hoyer said.
After the Supreme Court denied Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ request to fast-track its consideration of a lower court ruling that placed a nationwide injunction on the Trump Administration’s decision to phase out DACA, the future of DACA is still very much up in the air.   But the Administration’s decision to continue adjudicating DACA renewal applications as a result of the lower court’s ruling has delayed the urgency for Congress to act.
Still, Trump adversary and lame-duck Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has made it a mission of his to pass legislation that he co-authored with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) that would provide a three-year DACA amnesty while appropriating $7 billion for border security. Earlier this week, Sen. Flake went to the Senate floor and asked for unanimous support to pass his bill, but Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) objected. Sen. Flake promises to continue his efforts to pass a DACA amnesty.
H-2B Threat
Congress has a history of using massive, omnibus spending bills, like the one it expects to pass in the coming weeks, to hide unpopular immigration provisions, and there’s a threat that it may do so again.    Last year, Congress authorized the Department of Homeland Security to increase the cap on H-2B visas above the 66,000 annual cap set by Congress. Then-DHS Secretary John Kelly increased the number of visas by 15,000, but employers only submitted requests for about 13,500 additional foreign workers.
Congress also added a provision to the FY2016 omnibus spending bill that exempted returning H-2B foreign workers from the annual cap, potentially quadrupling the number of H-2B visas that could be issued.   We’ve already seen a few news stories pop up in recent weeks about seasonal employers claiming they can’t find enough foreign workers to fill jobs for this summer, so we’ll continue to keep a close eye on Congress between now and the spending deadline for any bad immigration provisions in the spending bill.
MD Federal Judge Overrules CA/NY Federal Judge
Federal Judge Roger Titus ruled this week that the Trump Administration does have the right to end Pres. Obama’s unconstitutional DACA executive amnesty, contradicting rulings issued by federal judges in California and New York.  “The rescission of a policy relating to prosecutorial discretion does not shock the conscience of this Court. Absent congressional action, the benefits given to Dreamers by DACA were in potential violation of congressional immigration laws; the only thing that has changed is that deferred status will expire, and enforcement of immigration laws may recommence in the absence of action by Congress, which the President has requested,” Judge Titus wrote in his decision.
The conflicting decisions between the federal courts increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court will take up the case. But USCIS issued a statement yesterday stating that the agency would continue to adjudicate renewals.



The following Senators voted for one or more bills on Feb. 15 that not only would have given a citizenship amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, but the right to start endless chains of migration of extended family and in-laws:

Alexander (R-TN)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Duckworth (D-IL)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Flake (R-AZ)
Gardner (R-CO)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Hassan (D-NH)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Jones (D-AL)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Manchin (D-WV)
Markey (D-MA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Peters (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Rounds (R-SD)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Smith (D-MN)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Van Hollen (D-MD)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
















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