During the Week Ahead
While neither the full Senate's or the House Committee's version of the annual defense authorization bill contained any contentious immigration- or refugee-related provisions at the time of this writing, both bills could become a target for contentious immigration-related amendments during their consideration in their respective bodies.
The coming week's light activity belies a busy period to come.
As far as the week beginning June 29 is concerned, from the perspective of those interested in immigration, refugee, homeland security, or human trafficking policy, the week's schedule includes three hearings or briefings (all occurring in the House); one markup session (occurring in the House); and one floor action (occurring in the Senate) that either will or could touch on one or more of those subjects.
The Senate plans to begin a two week-long recess upon the close of business this week. The full House is expected to be out of session, as well, during that period. However, House committees will be busy with hearings and markups.
Notwithstanding the relatively light workweek this week on immigration matters and the coming two week-long Senate recess, the weeks ahead are likely to be both eventful and consequential for immigration and refugee policy.
- Regular Appropriations Bills. The House a week from now expects to take its first steps in producing the 12 regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021, including the four bills that appropriate funding for the nation's border security, interior immigration enforcement, immigration services, unaccompanied alien child, refugee resettlement, overseas refugee assistance, human trafficking assistance, and torture victim assistance agencies, programs, functions, an activities.
- Emergency Funding for USCIS and CBP. Congress is under pressure to find a way to provide supplemental funding to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) components, which have suffered enormous deficits in revenue because of a combination of the Trump Administration's Mr. Trump’s restrictive policies and its halt in providing of many of the fee-driven services they provide.
- COVID-19 Relief Legislation. Negotiations over the next tranche of COVID-19 relief legislation is expected to heat up soon, including negotiations over whether and how that legislation might or might not help immigrants and refugees who are suffering because of the health or economic upheaval that the pandemic has caused..
- Administrative Actions. Skirmishing between the White House, Democrats in Congress, and stakeholders, is expected to intensify in the coming weeks over an increasing number of administrative actions that the Trump Administration has taken on asylum, refugee, border control, and immigration matters that stakeholders and policy makers are fighting in the courts as well as in the public arena.
- Senate Floor Consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act: The full U.S. Senate during the week of June 29, 2020, is scheduled to continue consideration of S. 4049, the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which contains several immigration-related provisions and is the target of a number of immigration- and refugee-related floor amendments.
- Full Committee Markup of FY '21 National Defense Authorization Act: The House Committee on Armed Services has scheduled a markup during the week of June 29, 2020, of H.R. 6395, the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. As introduced, H.R. 6395 is a shell bill that will be filled in during the markup with the product that has been produced by the committee's subcommittees. As such, at the time of this writing, the measure does not contain any immigration-related provisions. It is anticipated that immigration-related provisions will either be incorporated into the bill during the markup or offered as amendments during the markup.
- Oversight Hearing on the Pandemic Response by Department of Treasury an the Federal Reserve: The House Committee on Financial Services has scheduled an oversight hearing during the week of June 29, 2020, on the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.
- Hearing on Implications for the End of One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs has scheduled a hearing during the week of June 29, 2020, titled, "The End of One Country, Two Systems?: Implications of Beijing’s National Security Law in Hong Kong."
- Trump Administration's Response to COVID-19 in Latin America: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade has scheduled a hearing during the week of June 29, 2020, titled, "The Trumduring the week of June 29, 2020, p Administration's Response to COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean."