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 roundup 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
H.RES.109: Condemnation of Persecution of Baha’is
On March 12, 2013, Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY/11th) introduced H.RES.109. The legislation has gained a total of 136 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH/1st) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ/11th).
H.RES.109 calls on Iran to release all prisoners being held solely on account of their religion. It calls on the U.S. president and secretary of state, in cooperation with responsible nations, to condemn Iran’s continued human rights violations and demand that prisoners held for their religious beliefs be released. H.RES.109 also urges the president and secretary to impose sanctions on Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible to serious human rights abuses, including abuses against Iran’s Baha’i community.
H.RES.109 has been introduced in the Senate as S.RES.75.
S.653: Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2013
On January 7, 2014, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced S.653. The legislation has gained a total of 23 co-sponsors and on July 10, 2014, it passed the Senate with amendments by Voice Vote.
S.653 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.
H.R.140: Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013
On January 3, 2013, Representative Steve King (R-IA/4th) introduced H.R.140, also known as the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013. The legislation has gained a total of 34 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom is Representative Austin Scott (R-GA/8th).
H.R. 140 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.
Click here to view all of the current proposed legislation and policies that impact our community.