Congress is considering a number of legislative initiatives that may be of interest to the Iranian American community. The PAAIA Public Policy Center is pleased to provide a round-up on the status of the legislation. In general, PAAIA focuses on bills and congressional actions concerning three areas: civil liberties, foreign policy towards Iran, and immigration. PAAIA recognizes that it is important that Iranian Americans be informed about legislative initiatives in these areas and the positions that their members of Congress take concerning them.
Bills & Resolutions
S. 169: A bill to authorize visas for well-educated immigrants to live and work in the United States.
On January 29, 2013, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S.169. The legislation has gained 1 co-sponsor, Senator John Thune (R-SD) and has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
S.J. RES. 4: Proposed amendment to the Constitution to change the rules regarding United States citizenship.
On January 23, 2013, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced S.J. RES. 4. The legislation currently has 1 co-sponsor and has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
The resolution proposes that the Constitution be amended so that those born in the U.S. are no longer automatically U.S. citizens. Under the proposal, such persons would only be citizens if one of their parents was a citizen, an alien “lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States who resides in the United States,” or an alien actively serving in the Armed Forces, or if they themselves (as opposed to either of their parents) became naturalized citizens.
H.R. 140: Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013
On January 3, 2013, Representative Stephen King (R-IA/4th) introduced H.R.140, also known as the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013. The legislation has gained a total of 4 cosponsors–Reps. Kerry L. Bentivolio (R-MI/11th), Trent Franks (R-AZ/8th), Kenny Marchant (R-TX/24th), and David P. Roe (R-TN/1st)–and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
H.R.140 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to consider a person born in the United States “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States for citizenship at birth purposes if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: (1) a U.S. citizen or national, (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States, or (3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. armed forces.
H.R. 458: Fallen Heroes Family Act of 2013
On February 4, 2013, Representative Darrell Issa (R-49th/CA) introduced H.R.458, also known as the Fallen Heroes Family Act of 2013. The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
H.R.458 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for nonimmigrant status for an alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a United States citizen child if the child was born abroad and is the child of a deceased member of the armed forces of the United States.
H.R.459: STEM Visa Act of 2013
On February 4, 2013 Representative Darrell Issa (R-49th/CA) introduced H.R. 458, also known as the STEM Visa Act of 2013. The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
H.R.459 would 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.
H.R.717 (Reuniting Families Act): To ensure the efficiency of visa allocations and eliminate discrimination in immigration law.
On February 14, 2013, Representative Michael Honda (D-17th/CA) introduced H.R.717, also known as the Reuniting Families Act. The legislation has a total of 61 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
H.R.717 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to help ensure that visas are allocated efficiently, and would reduce the lengthy wait times that often keep legal immigrants, and their loved ones overseas, separated for years. The bill would also eliminate discrimination in immigration law against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and their foreign-born partners.
H.R. 301: To provide for the establishment of a Special Envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities.
On January 15, 2013, Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-10th/VA) introduced H.R.301. The legislation has gained a total of 12 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Reps. Jim Brindestine (R-OK 1st), Robert Pittinger (R-NC/9th), Ted Poe (R-TX/2nd), and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI/5th), and has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
H.R. 301 provides for the establishment of a Special Envoy to promote religious freedom for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. The duties of the envoy would include monitoring and combating acts of incitement and intolerance directed against religious minorities, working to ensure that the economic and security needs of such minorities are met, and working with foreign governments in the Near East and South Central Asia to address laws that are religiously discriminatory. The Special Envoy would be subject to the direction of the President and the Secretary of State.