In the News

News Update

January 20, 2015

By Kayleen Jacobson, News and Policy Associate

Israel/Palestine: The International Criminal Court has decided to conduct a preliminary examination of possible war crimes in the region. The US government and Israeli leadership are concerned that this may “escalate tensions.”

France: After the deadly attack at the newspaper office of Charlie Hebdo on January 7th by two Muslim extremists, anti-Muslim violence has surged in the country. Over 50 attacks on French mosques have occurred involving “gunshots, grenades, racist graffiti, and arson attacks.” In response, security measures have increased in both Jewish and Muslim areas.

Chad: The trial of security agents under Hissène Habré, former dictator and orchestrator of systemic torture from 1982 to 1990, continues as victims and defendants recount their stories of murder, torture, kidnapping, and other gross human rights violations. Habré’s trial will begin in May 2015.

Myanmar: Both the US and the UN have recommended the end of Myanmar’s support of policies that promote ethnic violence in the region, including limiting of interfaith marriage and religious conversion. Government policies have forced the minority Rohingya Muslims into refugee camps as the Buddhist- majority state continues to withhold citizenship from Rohingya. Despite some symbolic measures of democratic progress, the upholding of discriminatory legislation continues to threaten the stability of the region.

Guatemala: Former ruler Efrain Rios Montt is facing trial in Guatemala for the genocide of over 1,700 Ixil Mayans during the 1980s. This is Montt’s second trial for genocide since 2013, when outcomes in his first trial were overturned. The 88-year-old’s health has been deteriorating and he did not show up for trial last week, claiming he was too ill. Victims are hopeful they will receive justice before Montt dies.

India: The Adivisis, an ethnic minority of Assam, faced a mass killing of 80 people on December 23rd by the National Democratic Front of Bodoland. The Bodos, a self-rule-seeking tribe, have fomented ethnic violence in the region since the 1990s. As a result, over 300,000 Assamese have been displaced and are struggling to meet basic needs of sanitation, water, healthcare and security in ill-equipped displacement camps. Because of the unending violence, the region has been labeled “India’s Bosnia.”

Nigeria: The militants of Boko Haram have continued attacks on the coast of Lake Chad for the last two weeks, leaving an unknown number of people killed and extensive property damage. Survivors have fled while the Nigerian military is working to restore security in the area. The slaughter has been called a crime against humanity by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Legislative Update

January 29, 2015

Immigration:

H.R.31 : Prevention of Executive Amnesty Act of 2015: To prohibit the use of funds to implement the immigration policies set forth in the memorandum issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security on November 20, 2014, or the memorandum issued by the President on November 21, 2014, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: House Judiciary; House Homeland Security
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Homeland Security, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

 

H.R.32 : Defense of Legal Workers Act of 2015: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to expand the definition of an unauthorized alien to include aliens who have not been admitted to and are not lawfully present in the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Barletta, Lou [PA-11] (introduced 1/6/2015)

Cosponsors (3) Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 1/9/2015
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 1/12/2015
Rep King, Steve [IA-4] – 1/9/2015
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

H.R.38 : Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act of 2015: To prohibit the executive branch from exempting from removal categories of aliens considered under the immigration laws to be unlawfully present in the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Yoho, Ted S. [FL-3] (introduced 1/6/2015)

Cosponsors (16) Rep Barletta, Lou [PA-11] – 1/6/2015
Rep Cook, Paul [CA-8] – 1/6/2015
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] – 1/6/2015
Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] – 1/6/2015
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 1/6/2015
Rep Jenkins, Lynn [KS-2] – 1/6/2015
Rep Jolly, David W. [FL-13] – 1/6/2015
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 1/6/2015
Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] – 1/6/2015
Rep Nugent, Richard B. [FL-11] – 1/6/2015
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/6/2015
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4] – 1/6/2015
Rep Pittenger, Robert [NC-9] – 1/6/2015
Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] – 1/6/2015
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-48] – 1/6/2015
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 1/6/2015
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

H.R.43 : Border Security, Cooperation, and Act Now Drug War Prevention Act of 2015: To provide for emergency deployments of United States Border Patrol agents and to increase the number of DEA and ATF agents along the international border of the United States to increase resources to identify and eliminate illicit sources of firearms into Mexico for use by violent drug trafficking organizations and for other lawful activities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: House Homeland Security; House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/12/2015 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

 

H.R.140 : Birthright Citizenship Act of 2015: To amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.
Sponsor: Rep King, Steve [IA-4] (introduced 1/6/2015)

Cosponsors (8) Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 1/6/2015
Rep DesJarlais, Scott [TN-4] – 1/14/2015
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 1/13/2015
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] – 1/6/2015
Rep Gosar, Paul A. [AZ-4] – 1/7/2015
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 1/13/2015
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/13/2015
Rep Zinke, Ryan K. [MT] – 1/16/2015
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

H.R.155 : Defund Amnesty Act of 2015: To provide that no funds appropriated or otherwise made available may be used to implement, administer, carry out, or enforce certain memoranda related to immigration.
Sponsor: Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] (introduced 1/6/2015)

Cosponsors (5) Rep Byrne, Bradley [AL-1] – 1/6/2015
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-8] – 1/6/2015
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 1/6/2015
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 1/6/2015
Rep Rothfus, Keith J. [PA-12] – 1/6/2015
Committees: House Judiciary; House Homeland Security
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Homeland Security, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

 

H.R.158 : Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015: To clarify the grounds for ineligibility for travel to the United States regarding terrorism risk, to expand the criteria by which a country may be removed from the Visa Waiver Program, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report on strengthening the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to better secure the international borders of the United States and prevent terrorists and instruments of terrorism from entering the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] (introduced 1/6/2015)

Cosponsors (2) Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 1/6/2015
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 1/16/2015
Committees: House Judiciary; House Homeland Security
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Homeland Security, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

 

H.R.191 : Repeal Executive Amnesty Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] (introduced 1/7/2015)

Cosponsors (41) Rep Allen, Rick W. [GA-12] – 1/9/2015
Rep Babin, Brian [TX-36] – 1/8/2015
Rep Barletta, Lou [PA-11] – 1/7/2015
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 1/7/2015
Rep Bridenstine, Jim [OK-1] – 1/8/2015
Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 1/8/2015
Rep Byrne, Bradley [AL-1] – 1/7/2015
Rep Carter, Earl L. “Buddy” [GA-1] – 1/8/2015
Rep Collins, Doug [GA-9] – 1/7/2015
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] – 1/7/2015
Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] – 1/7/2015
Rep DesJarlais, Scott [TN-4] – 1/12/2015
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 1/7/2015
Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 1/13/2015
Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee [TN-8] – 1/8/2015
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 1/12/2015
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] – 1/8/2015
Rep Grothman, Glenn [WI-6] – 1/14/2015
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-50] – 1/12/2015
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 1/13/2015
Rep Kelly, Mike [PA-3] – 1/9/2015
Rep King, Steve [IA-4] – 1/8/2015
Rep Loudermilk, Barry [GA-11] – 1/8/2015
Rep Love, Mia B. [UT-4] – 1/9/2015
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 1/8/2015
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 1/9/2015
Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] – 1/8/2015
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/12/2015
Rep Palmer, Gary J. [AL-6] – 1/12/2015
Rep Perry, Scott [PA-4] – 1/13/2015
Rep Pittenger, Robert [NC-9] – 1/8/2015
Rep Posey, Bill [FL-8] – 1/8/2015
Rep Ratcliffe, John [TX-4] – 1/8/2015
Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2] – 1/8/2015
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] – 1/8/2015
Rep Schweikert, David [AZ-6] – 1/9/2015
Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] – 1/7/2015
Rep Weber, Randy K., Sr. [TX-14] – 1/12/2015
Rep Westerman, Bruce [AR-4] – 1/9/2015
Rep Williams, Roger [TX-25] – 1/12/2015
Rep Zinke, Ryan K. [MT] – 1/8/2015
Committees: House Judiciary; House Homeland Security; House Foreign Affairs; House Energy and Commerce; House Ways and Means; House Oversight and Government Reform
Latest Major Action: 1/7/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs, Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Oversight and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

 

S.44 : A bill to provide for the expedited processing of unaccompanied alien children illegally entering the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Vitter, David [LA] (introduced 1/7/2015)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/7/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

 

S.98 : A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States, to eliminate the diversity immigrant program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Vitter, David [LA] (introduced 1/7/2015)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/7/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

 

S.129 : A bill to repeal executive immigration overreach, to clarify that the proper constitutional authority for immigration policy belongs to the legislative branch, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Johnson, Ron [WI] (introduced 1/8/2015)

Cosponsors (1) Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] – 1/9/2015
Committees: Senate Finance
Latest Major Action: 1/8/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

 

S.153 : A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize additional visas for well-educated aliens to live and work in the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] (introduced 1/13/2015)

Cosponsors (6) Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT] – 1/13/2015
Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE] – 1/13/2015
Sen Flake, Jeff [AZ] – 1/13/2015
Sen Heller, Dean [NV] – 1/16/2015
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] – 1/13/2015
Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 1/13/2015
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/13/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

 

 

Racism

H.R.40 : Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act: To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-13] (introduced 1/6/2015)      

Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

H.R.41 : David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2015: To enhance Federal enforcement of hate crimes, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

Human Trafficking

H.R.61 : Securing the Assistance of Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015 (SAVE Act): To preserve the access of victims of trafficking to information about their eligibility to receive SNAP benefits.
Sponsor: Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: House Agriculture
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

 

H.R.63 : CATCH Traffickers Act of 2015: To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a database that shall serve as a central location for information from investigations relating to human trafficking for Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
Sponsor: Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/12/2015 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

 

H.R.159 : Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015: To stop exploitation through trafficking.
Sponsor: Rep Paulsen, Erik [MN-3] (introduced 1/6/2015)

Cosponsors (3) Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 1/9/2015
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] – 1/6/2015
Rep Westerman, Bruce [AR-4] – 1/13/2015
Committees: House Judiciary; House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

 

H.R.181 : Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] (introduced 1/7/2015)

Cosponsors (5) Rep Bass, Karen [CA-37] – 1/16/2015
Rep Jolly, David W. [FL-13] – 1/16/2015
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 1/16/2015
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-12] – 1/7/2015
Rep Paulsen, Erik [MN-3] – 1/12/2015
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/7/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

H.R.246 : To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking.
Sponsor: Rep Beatty, Joyce [OH-3] (introduced 1/9/2015)

Cosponsors (6) Rep Bass, Karen [CA-37] – 1/12/2015
Rep Brownley, Julia [CA-26] – 1/12/2015
Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [PA-8] – 1/9/2015
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 1/12/2015
Rep Kuster, Ann M. [NH-2] – 1/14/2015
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] – 1/13/2015
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 1/9/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

 

H.R.357 : To amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to expand the training for Federal Government personnel related to trafficking in persons, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Maloney, Sean Patrick [NY-18] (introduced 1/14/2015)

Cosponsors (5) Rep Cicilline, David N. [RI-1] – 1/14/2015
Rep Gibson, Christopher P. [NY-19] – 1/14/2015
Rep Kuster, Ann M. [NH-2] – 1/14/2015
Rep Sherman, Brad [CA-30] – 1/14/2015
Rep Wagner, Ann [MO-2] – 1/14/2015
Committees: House Foreign Affairs
Latest Major Action: 1/14/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

H.R.398 : To provide for the development and dissemination of evidence-based best practices for health care professionals to recognize victims of a severe form of trafficking and respond to such individuals appropriately, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] (introduced 1/16/2015)

Cosponsors (1) Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-23] – 1/16/2015
Committees: House Energy and Commerce
Latest Major Action: 1/16/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 

S.140 : Combat Human Trafficking Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] (introduced 1/8/2015)

Cosponsors (4) Sen Cornyn, John [TX] – 1/8/2015
Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] – 1/8/2015
Sen Kirk, Mark Steven [IL] – 1/8/2015
Sen Portman, Rob [OH] – 1/8/2015
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/8/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

 

Domestic Violence

H.R.57 : Equal Rights and Access for the Women of South Sudan Act: To require that activities carried out by the United States in South Sudan relating to governance, reconstruction and development, and refugee relief and assistance will support the basic human rights of women and women’s participation and leadership in these areas.
Sponsor: Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: House Foreign Affairs
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

H.R.64 : Candace’s Law To encourage States to provide for enhanced sentencing penalties for persons convicted of committing, or attempting to commit, an act of domestic violence in the presence of minor children.
Sponsor: Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/12/2015 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

 

International Relations

H.R.204 : North Korea Sanctions and Diplomatic Nonrecognition Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-27] (introduced 1/8/2015)

Cosponsors (9) Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-12] – 1/14/2015
Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] – 1/13/2015
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 1/8/2015
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. [VA-11] – 1/8/2015
Rep Curbelo, Carlos [FL-26] – 1/12/2015
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/13/2015
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 1/8/2015
Rep Salmon, Matt [AZ-5] – 1/8/2015
Rep Weber, Randy K., Sr. [TX-14] – 1/9/2015
Committees: House Foreign Affairs; House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 1/8/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

 

H.RES.31 : Condemning the terrorist attacks in Paris, offering condolences to the families of the victims, expressing solidarity with the people of France, and reaffirming fundamental freedom of expression.
Sponsor: Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-16] (introduced 1/14/2015)

Cosponsors (2) Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] – 1/14/2015
Rep Duffy, Sean P. [WI-7] – 1/16/2015
Committees: House Foreign Affairs
Latest Major Action: 1/14/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

S.34 : Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015: To prohibit assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it withdraws its request to join the International Criminal Court.
Sponsor: Sen Paul, Rand [KY] (introduced 1/6/2015)
Committees: Senate Foreign Relations
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.