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 such legislation. In general, PAAIA focuses on bills and congressional actions, which bear on three areas: civil liberties, foreign policy towards Iran, and immigration. PAAIA recognizes it is important that Iranian Americans be informed about such legislative initiatives and the positions that their members of Congress are taking concerning these topics.
Click here to read Congressional Round-Up: Week Ending November 16, 2012.
Bills & Resolutions
S.1670:End Racial Profiling Act of 2011.
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was added as a co-sponsor to S.1670 on July 10, 2012. The bill was introduced by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) on October 6, 2011 and has a total of 18 co-sponsors. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
The legislation prohibits any law enforcement agent or agency from engaging in racial profiling. It also grants the United States or an individual injured by racial profiling the right to obtain declaratory or injunctive relief and requires federal law enforcement agencies to maintain adequate policies and procedures to eliminate racial profiling and to cease existing practices that permit racial profiling.
The amendment, which is attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, was authored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT). It was passed by a 94-0 vote.
S.Amdt. 3232 designates Iran’s energy, port, shipping, and ship-building sectors as entities of proliferation and imposes sanctions on people selling or supplying any item on a list of forbidden commodities that are relevant to Iran’s ship-building and nuclear sectors. In addition, the amendment declares the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), as well as its president, as abusers of human rights thereby blocking their assets and preventing others from doing business with the IRIB. The amendment provides for exceptions for the provision and sale to Iran of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices and other humanitarian goods and imposes new human rights sanctions on those in Iran who are engaged in corruption or the diversion of resources related to these goods and that are preventing them for reaching the Iranian people.
H.R.6429:STEM Jobs Act
On November 30th, 2012, the House passed the STEM Jobs Act by a margin of 245 to 139. The legislation was introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (R-21st/TX). It had a total of 69 co-sponsors upon passage.
The legislation eliminates the diversity visa program and reallocates up to 55,000 new green cards for foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The students must agree to work for at least five years for the petitioning employer or in the United States in a STEM field upon being lawfully admitted for permanent