Interfaith Efforts Win Gains on May 9th Senate Amendment Process

We WON on many amendments. The worst amendments were defeated, and no increases to the triggers passed. It will be really important to keep this up for the next day of amendments – Tuesday, May 14th. We know that amendments to Title II – the path to citizenship – will be discussed. We will send an action alert on Monday morning with which amendments to urge Senators to support and oppose. Here’s a brief rundown of the day, in regard to the amendments we were calling on. A full rundown of amendment votes that happened yesterday can be found at:, and is listed below my signature on this email as well.
Hirono #23 was agreed to, which would require the border patrol to determine whether someone traveling with a child is the parent/guardian and whether deportation would raise humanitarian or safety concerns. Senator Hirono removed the requirement that these screenings happen within two hours of apprehension, but the amendment is still strong. Another unaccompanied child-related amendment, Feinstein #6, also passed, which improves conditions for unaccompanied children in border patrol custody.
Feinstein #6, which will keep children safe when in border patrol custody, was agreed to.  Blumenthal’s amendment #10 was also agreed to, which will help discourage and prevent racial profiling by allowing the Attorney General to refuse to reimburse state and local governments for detentions and prosecutions resulting from a violation of the law by a law enforcement official, such as an act of racial profiling.


We helped defeat Grassley #4, which could have  delayed the pathway to citizenship indefinitely. We also played a part in defeating many Sessions amendments – Sessions #9 and #37 were defeated, and #38 was withdrawn, but that one may come up again. There were some disappointments, but we still made our voices heard. Senator Coons withdrew his amendment #2, but there will be an opportunity to reconsider this amendment during a Senate floor vote. Similarly, Feinstein also withdrew her amendment #11 for re-negotiation, so it will likely come up again. Grassley #1 passed, but only applied strategies to all border sectors, rather than just “high risk sectors.”
Faith Leaders joined a vigil in front of the Senate Building as children gave testimony about their parents being deported. Faith leaders urged decision makers to be on the right side of history to keep families together. Rev. Mayer of the Sonoran-Border Coalition gave the message at the vigil about wanting a pathway to citizenship without borders. Rev. Stanley from the Disciples of Christ offered an opening prayer at Casa de Maryland’s Mothers Day Action at the White House, praying for all the mothers who have been deported due to current failed policy. Many grassroots groups continue to hold vigils across the country to show public witness for the best immigration reform possible, others are already planning their next congressional meeting with key members of congress. See map of actions and Calendar of Events, and let us know about your events and actions so we can lift them up to the committee.
The committee will continue considering amendments this Tuesday, May 14th – specifically on the pathway to citizenship – and then again Thursday, May 16th and the entire week of May 20th. So please mark your calendars, and get ready to call again on important amendments this coming Tuesday! We will send another alert on Monday morning so you can make calls all day Monday and Tuesday. Thanks SO much again everyone for all your timely and powerful work!
 SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MARKUP OF S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernizatin Act.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

All amendments apply to Title I or pre-Title I.


–      Managers’/Sponsors’ Amendment: Passed (14-4).

–      Leahy 1:               Approved by voice vote. Prohibits border crossing fees at land ports of entry. Adopted by voice vote

–      Grassley 2:          Approved by voice vote. Provides that DHS must submit several border related and other reports to various Senate and House committees.

–      Grassley 5:          Adopted by voice vote. Requires yearly audits of the Trust Fund.

–      Sessions 36:       Adopted by voice vote. Expands DHS Ombudsman to provide assistance to those who have been victims of crimes committed by aliens or border violence.

–      Cornyn 6:             Adopted by voice vote. Includes the “Human Trafficking Reporting Act of 2013.”

–      Flake 1:                Adopted by voice vote. Includes private land representatives on the DHS Border Oversight Task Force.

–      Flake 2:                Adopted by voice vote. Requires the GAO to prepare an annual assessment of the status and progress of the Southern Border Security Strategy.

–      Feinstein 6:        Adopted by voice vote. Requires DHS to establish standards to ensure humane conditions for children in the CBP custody.

–      Feinstein 7:        Adopted by voice vote. Requires allocation to law enforcement agencies for Operation Stonegarden be allocated through a competitive grant process.

–      Feinstein 8:        Adopted by voice vote. Requires CBP “to acquire and deploy watercraft to provide support for border-related maritime anti-crime activities.

–      Hirono 24:           Adopted by voice vote. Creates an Ombudsman office in DHS.

–      Grassley 4:          Failed (6-12). To prohibit the granting of RPI status until the DHS Secretary has maintained effective control of the borders for 6 months and to apply border security strategies to all border sectors.

–      Schumer 2:         Passed (14-4). Increases the CIR Trust Fund from 6.5 billion to 8.3 billion; includes penalty for RPI adjustment as a source of income; changes the language so it doesn’t look like handing DHS Secretary a blank check; requires the DHS secretary

along with the AG and DOD to submit an expenditure plan that provides: surveillance, personnel, drones, boats, fencing, checkpoints, increased attys and judges in Tuscan, and a fraud-resistant SS card.

–      Lee 4:                    Failed (6-12). To require fast-track congressional approval when the DHS secretary notifies Congress of the implementation of the border security strategies and certifies that the strategies are substantially operational.

–      Grassley 1:          Adopted by voice vote. To apply border security strategies to all border sectors.

–      Grassley 24:       Adopted by voice vote. To ensure accountability and oversight for taxpayer dollars awarded as Federal grants.

–      Feinstein 9:        Adopted by voice vote. Expands reimbursement for immigration-related prosecutions from pre-trial and prosecution to include detention, clerical support, public defender services, and anything associated with prosecution.

–      Sessions 37:       Failed (7-11). Strikes requirement for CBP to issue use-of-force policy.

–      Coons 2:               Withdrawn. To limit dangerous deportation practices at the Southern Border. Prevents dangerous repatriation practices that exacerbate migrants’ vulnerability upon repatriation into cities at the Southern border.

–      Blumenthal 10: Adopted by voice vote. Creates an exception to the funding provided to reimburse state, local, and tribal jurisdictions for prosecution and detention costs associated with federally-initiated, immigration-related criminal cases. The exception

arises if the AG concludes that the individual’s underlying apprehension arose from unlawful conduct by a law enforcement officials.

–      Cruz 1:                  Failed (5-13). Calls for an increase of 40,000 Border Patrol agents on top of the 20,000 that are already at the southern border; adds more border enforcement triggers that must be met before immigrants can get on the pathway to citizenship;

calls for increased prosecutions in all border sectors; and calls for more border fencing.

–      Hirono 23:           Passed (10-8). Allows CBP officers to exercise discretion when putting people through any consequence delivery program to keep families together.

–      Sessions 38:       Withdrawn. Strikes requirement for CBP to specify training requirements for its agents.

–      Feinstein 11:      Withdrawn. Reduces the definition of the Southwest Border Region from the area within 100 miles of the Southern Border Region from the area within 100 miles of the Southwest border to 25 miles, significantly reducing the area in which border

agents can operate drone and video surveillance that threatens our privacy.

–      Feinstein 1:        Passed (10-8). Extends SCAAP until 2015. Amends SCAAP to provide reimbursement to states and localities for inmates in their custody who are merely “charged with,” as opposed to “convicted of,” the offenses. Would require DOJ to require

reimbursements to states and localities even for “unknowns” – ie., inmates whose immigration status DHS is unable to verify as undocumented.

–      Feinstein 10:      Adopted by voice vote. Establishes a grant program to improve transportation and infrastructure at border crossing.

–      Leahy 4 (w/ Cornyn):      Adopted by voice vote. Places limitations on construction of new border fencing by requiring DHS to consult with relevant agencies and border communities, requiring DHS to identify what environmental and others lawas they seek to

waive and why, and expanding the allowable use of funds to include port-of-entry infrastructure.

–      Sessions 9:          Failed (6-12). To require the completion of the 700 miles of reinforce, double-layered fencing as a trigger.

–      Cornyn 1:             Failed (6-12). Calls for an increase of 5,000 Border Patrol agents on top of the 20,000 that are already at the southern border; adds more border enforcement triggers that must be met before immigrants can get on the pathway to citizenship;

calls for increased prosecutions in all border sectors; and calls for more border fencing.

–      Feinstein 2:        Adopted by voice vote. Creates eight new district judgeships (3 in TX, 3 in CA, 2 in AZ), and converts 2 existing temporary judgeships to permanent judgeships.

–      Sessions 11:       Failed (6-12). Modifies border security goal to replace the 90% effectiveness rate to effective control which is defined by the Secure Fence Act of 2006; changes scope of the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy to include all high

risk areas, not just the ones in the Southern border.

–      Cornyn 2:             Withdrawn. Authorizes an additional 5,000 CBP officers and authorizes GSA to enter into cost-sharing agreements for the construction of facilities at a port of entry.

  • ·         Sessions 2nd degree amendment offered, but withdrawn.


Tags: , , , , ,