Senate Judiciary Committee Begins ‘Gang of Eight’ Immigration Bill Mark-Up

Yesterday, the 18 members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee began the process of reviewing and considering amendments to the Gang of Eight immigration bill (S. 744). Presided by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the members presented a total of 300 amendments. By the end of the day, all of the amendments to Title I of the bill pertaining to border security had been considered and the Committee will regroup on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. to pick up where they left off. Below is a general summary of the amendments that were considered, provided by FAIR’s Government Relations team.

Senate Judiciary Committee Markup
May 9, 2013
S. 744—Title I

1.     Manager’s Amendment (note: all subsequent amendments herein are made to this revised version of S. 744)

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

b.     Adopted 14-4

2.     Prohibits border crossing fees for pedestrians or passenger vehicles at land ports of entry along both Northern and Southern borders. Prohibits the government from conducting any study relating to the imposition of such fee.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) (Amdt. #1)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

3.     Requires DHS Secretary to adhere to certain congressional reporting requirements, including submitting to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees the initial “Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy” and all subsequent reports on such;  and, reports on border effectiveness rates, surveillance, port of entry wait times, and allocations at ports of entry.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (Amdt. #2)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

4.     Requires the DHS Chief Financial Officer and Inspector General to conduct annual audits of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (Amdt. #5)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

5.     Expands the functions of the DHS Immigration Ombudsman to include providing assistance to individuals and families who have been the victims of crimes committed by aliens or violence near the border.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (Amdt. #36)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

6.     Requires DHS Secretary to submit the “Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy” to the U.S. Comptroller General, and requires the Comptroller General to review annually the Secretary’s semiannual reports on such, as well as to submit an assessment of the status and progress of the Secretary’s Border Security Strategy.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (Amdt. #2)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

7.     Increases the number of members on the DHS Border Oversight Task Force from 26 to 29 members by adding 1 private land owner representative from the Northern border region and 2 private land owner representatives from the Southern border region.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (Amdt. #1)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

8.     Requires that grants to law enforcement agencies for Operation Stonegarden be allocated through a competitive grant process.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt. #7)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

9.     Designates human trafficking a form of slavery and adds severe forms of such to the definition of “part 1 violent crimes” for purposes of Byrne grant funding.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (Amdt. #6)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

10.  Requires CBP to acquire and deploy watercraft to provide support for border-related maritime anti-crime activities.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt. #8)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

11.  Creates new DHS Ombudsman for Immigration Related Concerns to, among other things, receive and resolve complaints from individuals and employers over immigration matters involving the Department, to conduct inspections of detention facilities, and to determine whether an individual or employer is suffering or about to suffer an immediate threat of adverse action related to the administration of immigration laws. The Ombudsman also must also annually report objectives to Congress, and has the authority to request Inspector General inspections, investigations, and audits of DHS.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) (Amdt. #24)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

12.   Requires DHS Secretary to establish standards to provide children in the custody of CBP medical and mental health care, food, climate-appropriate clothing, personal hygiene products, and the ability to make supervised phone calls to family members.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt. #6)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

13.  Requires DHS Secretary to submit to Congress certification that the Southern border has been under “effective control” for at least 6 months before the Secretary can begin processing applications for amnesty (“registered provisional immigrant” status). Requires the 90% apprehension rate goal be met in all border sectors, not just those deemed “high risk.”

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (Amdt. #4)

b.     Denied 6-12

14.  Increases overall funding for the bill, including the initial amount for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund from $6.5 billion to $8.3 billion.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (Amdt. #2)

b.     Adopted 14-4

15.  Requires the House of Representatives to vote to determine whether the DHS Secretary has achieved the goals in the Secretary’s border security and fencing plans before the Secretary can process applications for illegal aliens to gain amnesty (“registered provisional immigrant” status) or a subsequent green card. 

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) (Amdt. #4)

b.     Denied 6-12

16.  Requires the bill’s goal of apprehending 90% of unlawful border crossers to apply to all border sectors, opposed to only “high risk” sectors.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (Amdt. #1)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

17.  Requires the Inspector General for certain grant-receiving agencies to conduct annual audits and other accountability measures such as limiting conference expenses and prohibiting funds from going to nonprofits who maintain funds in offshore accounts to avoid taxes.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (Amdt. #24)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

18.  Requires the federal government to reimburse state and local governments for the “clerical support” and “public defenders’ services” costs associated with the prosecution and pre-trial detention of federally-initiated immigration-related criminal cases.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt. #9)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

19.  Strikes provision requiring: DHS Secretary (in consultation w/ DOJ) to issue use of force policies; ICE, CBP, and USCIS officers to report uses of force; and DHS to investigate, discipline, and review uses of force by officers.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (Amdt. #37)

b.     Denied 7-11

20.  Limits DHS discretion in removing illegal aliens by requiring the DHS Secretary to certify to Congress the Department will not remove an alien to a location with a “dangerous lack of public order” or to a different sector through which the alien arrived (i.e. eliminates the “Alien Transfer Exit Program” (ATEP)).

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) (Amdt. #2)

b.     Withdrawn

21.  Prohibits the federal government from reimbursing state and local governments for costs associated w/ the prosecution or pre-trial detention of aliens if the Attorney General concludes there is reason to believe that law enforcement apprehended the alien using “unlawful conduct.”

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (Amdt. #10)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

22.  Prevents illegal aliens from obtaining amnesty until the DHS Secretary: 1) triples the number of border patrol agents along the Southern border; 2) quadruples the number of drones, cameras, helicopters, and other equipment along the border; 3) completes the remainder of the border fence as mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006; 4) develops real-time information sharing w/ the DOH and all federal law enforcement agencies; 5) completes and fully implements the biometric US-VISIT entry-exit system; and 6) establishes operational control over 100% of the Southern border. If the DHS Secretary fails to substantially comply w/ all requirements w/in 3 years, the Department’s political appointees’ salaries will be cut by 20 percent and given in the form of block grants to Southern border states.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (Amdt. #1)

b.     Denied 5-13

23.  Requires DHS when apprehending aliens to inquire “as soon as practicable” whether the alien is a parent, legal guardian, or primary caregiver of a child, or whether the alien is traveling with a spouse or child. Also requires officers to consider family unity, whether the alien has a child, or any other “humanitarian concern” when determining whether to repatriate or prosecute an illegal alien. Requires border patrol officers to undertake “family unity” and “child best interest” training.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) (Amdt. #23)

b.     Adopted 10-8

24.  Strikes provision specifying training requirements for DHS personnel issued by the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (Amdt. #38)

b.     Withdrawn

25.  Amends the definition of “Southwest Border Region” to within 25 miles of the Southern border from within 100 miles.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt. #11)

b.     Withdrawn

26.  Authorizes/restores funding for states and local governments to be reimbursed for detaining “unknown” aliens and illegal aliens prior to conviction.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt.  #1)

b.     Adopted 10-8

27.  Establishes grant program to be administered by Secretaries of Transportation and General Services Administration to construct transportation and supporting infrastructure improvements at existing and new international border crossings.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt.  #10)

b.     Adopted via unanimous consent

28.  Requires DHS Secretary to explain any waivers of law when implementing the border fencing strategy, and states such waivers expire upon certification by the Secretary that the border fencing strategy is “substantially completed.” Requires if or when the DHS Secretary implements the border fencing strategy, to consult with the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, states, locals, tribes, and property owners to minimize the fence’s impact on the “environment, culture, commerce, and quality of life.” Adds new section stating that the DHS Secretary is not required to install fencing or infrastructure along the Southern border if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not most appropriate method of achieving effective border control. Clarifies that nothing in the bill requires the construction of fencing along Northern border.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) (Amdt. #4)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

29.  Requires the completion of a double-layered border fence along the Southern border, replacing the DHS Secretary’s optional border fencing strategy.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (Amdt. #9)

b.     Denied 6-12

30.  Revises border security provisions among other things to: 1) require DHS and the Comptroller General to determine the borders are secure before permitting illegal aliens amnestied (receiving “registered provisional immigrant” status) to receive a green card; 2) require DHS to achieve 90% apprehension rate along all border sectors; 3) require DHS to develop and utilize new and improved border metrics; 4) authorize the border commission created under the bill to act as an advisory panel to the Secretary of DHS immediately following enactment (rather than taking over in 5 years if Secretary fails to meet goals); and 5) require DHS to develop a plan to decrease wait times at ports of entry, including by requiring the addition of 10,000 CBP officers, no less than 5,000 of which are mandated to be border patrol officers.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (Amdt. #1)

b.     Denied 6-12

31.  Increases the number of district court judges in Arizona, California, and Texas. Also amended to provide protections to “whistleblowers” (Sen. Grassley).

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (Amdt. #2)

b.     Adopted via voice vote

32.  Ensures that “effective control” of the border encompasses all unlawful entries into the U.S., using the definition of operational control as under the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (Amdt. #11)

b.     Denied 6-12

33.  Requires DHS to decrease wait times at ports of entry, authorizes the hiring of an additional 5,000 border patrol officers, and allows for public and private cost-sharing and reimbursement agreements for the creation or maintenance of new or existing border facilities.

a.     Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (Amdt. #2)

b.     Withdrawn

 

Comments

  1. avatar Captain Jack says:

    I can’t believe the Senator from Arizona voted with the majority to deny the DHS Secretary to make sure the borders are secure for just six months before anyone be awarded amnesty.
    That should be the least you could do yo try to prevent a flood of aliens from crossing into the US illegally.
    This guy should be voted out.

  2. Yep….Its Amnesty Alright

    Contingent on tripling the border guards…..LOL, they’ll implement the amnesty and forget the border guards [who must speak Spanish too BTW].

  3. avatar Ron says:

    The Manager’s Amendment is even longer than the original. A document that shows the changes can be downloaded at the Judiciary Committee’s website (on the page ending “legislation/immigration”).

  4. avatar Skip Conrad says:

    Will the background checks be as thorougH as that done on Ariel Castro?

  5. avatar Kyle says:

    Utter betrayal of US citizens by the majority of these incompetent senators, and the only way it could get more disgusting is if these degenerates actually pass this tragedy!

  6. avatar Leland says:

    Look at number 29. “Requires the completion of a double layered fence along the southern border, replacing the DHS secretary’s optional border fencing strategy”. Denied 6-12. The “optional border fencing strategy”, using drones, has already been shown to be a failure and is not even in operation half the time.

    And 13. “Requires the 90% apprehension goal rate be met in all border areas, not just those deemed high risk.”
    Denied 6-12.

    It’s any amnesty with no enforcement. The “broken system” remains broken, by the same old liars.

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