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
Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38) was added as a cosponsor to H.RES.109 on November 12, 2014. Representatives Louis Capps (D-CA-24) and Joseph Kennedy (D-MA-4) were added as cosponsors on November 13, 2014, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 166. The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on March 12, 2013 by Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY-11). The bill has been forwarded by subcommittee to Full Committee by unanimous consent on June 19, 2014.
The bill condemns Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights. The legislation calls on Iran to release all prisoners held solely on account of their religion, and calls on the President and Secretary of State, in cooperation with responsible nations, to condemn Iran’s continued violation of human rights and to demand the release of prisoners held on account of religion. In addition, the bill urges the President and Secretary to impose sanctions on Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible for serious human rights abuses, including abuses against the Baha’i community of Iran.
Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1) was added as cosponsor to H.RES.147 on November 13, 2014, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 96. This resolution was introduced to the House of Representatives on April 10, 2013 by Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6).The resolution was ordered to be reported (amended) by Unanimous Consent on November 20, 2013.
The legislation condemns the government of Iran for its persecution of religious minorities, including Saeed Abedini (a U.S. citizen sentenced to prison in Iran after being tried for his religious beliefs and convicted for undermining the government of Iran). It calls on Iran to release Saeed Abedini to the United States and calls on the U.S. government to work aggressively for his release by designating appropriate Iranian officials for human rights abuses pursuant to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.
43 cosponsors were added to H.RES.620 on November 12, 2014, bringing the total cosponsor count to 125. This resolution was introduced to the House of Representatives on June 11, 2014 by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX-2). The bill was referred to the subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on September 8, 2014.
The resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the government of Mexico should release U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and provide for his return to the United States so he can receive appropriate medical assistance. It also urges the President to utilize the full powers and authorities of his office to secure his safe return to the United States.
Tahmooressi was released from Mexico on October 31, 2014.
Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA-39) and Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) introduced H.RES.754 in the House of Representatives on November 14, 2014. The resolution was passed by unanimous consent on November 19, 2014.
Amongst other measures, the legislation calls on the government of Iran to abide by all of its international and domestic obligations with respect to human rights and civil liberties, including freedoms of assembly, speech, and press. It urges the administration to increase the utilization of all available authorities to impose sanctions on human rights violators in Iran and to ensure that the human rights situation in Iran is part of multilateral and bilateral discussions with Iran whenever possible. In addition, the resolution calls on Iran to cooperate fully with and allow the United Nations (U.N.) Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran to visit Iran and stands with the people of Iran who seek the opportunity to freely elect a government of their choosing.
Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) was added as a cosponsor to H.R.140 on November 17, 2014, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 38. This bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on January 3, 2013 by Representative Steve King (R-IA-4). This bill was referred to the subcommittee on Immigrant and Border Security on January 25, 2013.
This bill 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.