06
Jul

Congressional Round-up

paaia_horizontalFriday, June 29, 2012

Round-Up

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 bi-weekly 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 June 8, 2012.

Bills & Resolutions

Civil Liberties

S.1670: End Racial Profiling Act of 2011.

Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) was added as a co-sponsor to S.1670 on June 19, 2012. The bill was introduced by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) on October 6, 2011 and has a total of 16 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.   

Foreign Policy

H.R. 4173: Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act. 

Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-16th/CA) was added as a co-sponsor to H.R. 4173 on June 26, 2012.  The bill was introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-9th/CA) on March 8, 2012 and has a total of 30 co-sponsors.  It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  A similar version of H.R.4173 was offered as an amendment (Amdt. 161) to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 on May 18, 2012 but failed by a vote of 77-344.

H.R.4173 directs the President to appoint a high-level U.S. representative or special envoy who shall: (1) seek to ease tensions and normalize relations between the United States and Iran, (2) lead U.S. diplomatic efforts with regard to Iran, and (3) act as liaison with U.S. and international intelligence agencies. The bill also directs the Secretary of State to: (1) rescind the no contact policy with Iran, and (2) establish an office in the Department of State to support the work of the representative or special envoy.  

H.Res.134: Condemns the government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.

H.Res.134 gained nine additional co-sponsors between June 15th and June 27th, 2012.   The most recent co-sponsors include Representatives Reid Ribble (R-8th/WI), Allyson Schwartz (D-13th/PA), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th/NJ), Joe Wilson (R-2nd/SC), Steve Chabot (R-1st/OH), Rob Wittman (R-1st/VA), Christopher Murphy (D-5th/CT), Joe Pitts (R-16th/PA), and Dennis Cardoza (D-18th/CA) and has a total of 116 co-sponsors.  It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

The resolution calls on the government of Iran to release seven specified imprisoned Baha’i leaders and all other prisoners held on account of their religion.  The resolution also urges the President and Secretary of State to utilize all available measures, such as those available under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 and Executive Order 13553, to sanction Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible for human rights violations in Iran, including against the Baha’i community.  

H.Con.Res.115: Recognizing the 64th anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel.

Representative Austin Scott was added as a co-sponsor to H.Con.Res.115 on June 27, 2012.  The concurrent resolution was introduced by Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (R-25th/NY) on March 29, 2012 and has a total of 129 co-sponsors.  It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The legislation recognizes Israel’s independence as a significant event in providing refuge and a national homeland for the Jewish people and congratulates Israel’s people as they celebrate the 64th anniversary of Israel’s independence. It commends the bipartisan commitment of all U.S. administrations and congresses since 1948 to stand by Israel and work for its security and well-being. The legislation also supports Israel’s right to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within a reasonable time.

Immigration

S.952: Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2011 or DREAM Act of 2011.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was added as a co-sponsor to S.952 on June 29, 2012.  The legislation was introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) on May 11, 2011 and has a total of 36 co-sponsors.  It has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.  

The legislation seeks to provide undocumented high school students the opportunity to earn permanent residency. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented students to obtain legal status if they arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15 or younger, have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years, have graduated from high school, have good moral character, and are willing to serve in the military or attend college for at least two years. 

H.R.140: Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011.

Representatives John Mica (R- 7th/FL) and Diane Black (R-6th/TN) were added on as a co-sponsor to H.R.140 on June 18, 2012. The bill was introduced by Representative Steven King (R-5th/IA) on January 5, 2011 and has a total of 91 co-sponsors.   It has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. 

The legislation Amends 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.1842: Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2011 or DREAM Act of 2011.

H.R.1842 gained eight additional co-sponsors between June 19th and June 26th, 2012.   The most recent co-sponsors include Representatives/Delegates Betty McCollum (D-84th/MN), Russ Carnahan (D-3rd/MO), Elijah Cummings (D-7th/MD), Brad Miller (D-13th/NC), Chris Van Hollen (D-8th/MD), Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS), Laura Richardson (D-37th/CA), and Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU).  The legislation was introduced by Representative Howard Berman (D-28th/CA) on May 11, 2011 and has a total of 94 co-sponsors.  It has been referred to the House Committees on Education and Workforce, Homeland Security, and Judiciary.   

The legislation seeks to provide undocumented high school students the opportunity to earn permanent residency. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented students to obtain legal status if they arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15 or younger, have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years, have graduated from high school, have good moral character, and are willing to serve in the military or attend college for at least two years. 

H.R.3146: American Innovation and Education Act of 2011.

Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3rd/WA) was added as a co-sponsor to H.R.3146 on June 28, 2012.  The legislation was introduced by Representative Raul Labrador (R-1st/ID) on October 11, 2011 and has a total of 7 co-sponsors.  It has been referred to the House Committees on Education and the Workforce, Judiciary, and Science, Space, and Technology.

The legislation amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish a priority worker immigrant visa for an alien who has a qualifying: (1) master’s or higher degree in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM degree) from a U.S. institution of higher education; and (2) employment offer from a U.S. employer. It eliminates the foreign residency requirement for certain foreign students and revises per country (and dependent) area limits to: (1) eliminate employment-based limits, and (2) increase family-based limits. 

H.R. 5893: To jump-start economic recovery through the formation and growth of new businesses, and for other purposes.

H.R. 5893 gained 8 co-sponsors between June 22nd and June 29th, 2012.  The most recent co-sponsors include Representatives Gerald Connolly (D-11th/VA), Mary Bono (R-45th/CA), Rush Holt (D-12th/NJ), Laura Richardson (D-37th/CA), Renee Ellmers (R-2nd/NC), Edolphus Towns (D-10th/NY), Peter King (R-3rd/NY), and Aaron Schock (R-18th/IL).  The legislation was introduced by Representative Michael Grimm (R-13th/NY) on June 5, 2012 and has a total of 21 co-sponsors.  It has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Ways and Means. 

The legislation is intended to create and keep jobs in America; increase America’s access to talent in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by reforming high-skilled visa policies; and create opportunities for startup businesses with tax incentives and access to resources for innovation.  The bill allows qualifying startup businesses to receive up to $250,000 in tax credits. It also will allow the world’s best and brightest students and entrepreneurs to remain in the U.S. to start businesses and hire Americans, rather than being forced to leave the country. 

Other

H.Con.Res.63: Presidential Commission to study the establishment of a National Museum of the American People.

Representatives David Cicilline (D-1st/RI) and Keith Ellison (D-5th/MN) were added on as a co-sponsor to H.Con.Res.63 on June 20, 2012. The bill was introduced by Representative James Moran (D-8th/VA) on July 7, 2011 and has a total of 38 co-sponsors.   It has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.    

The concurrent resolution supports the creation of a bipartisan Presidential Commission to study the establishment of a National Museum of the American People to tell the immigration and migration stories of all people in the United States.

 

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