Legislation Highlight the Week Ahead
Little if any legislative action on immigration is expected to take place during the week beginning Monday, May 18, 2020, as the U.S. House of Representatives is not scheduled to be in legislative session and the Senate is expected to concentrate on nominations before leaving Washington at week's end for a week-long recess,
While there is no scheduled immigration legislative action this week on the Hill, Immigration policymakers will be attempting to read tea leaves as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and President Obama jockey for the moral, legislative, and political high ground in contemplation of the timing and contours of the next traunch of COVID-19 relief legislation.
The House of Representatives last year passed H.R. 6, the "American Dream and Promise Act of 2019", which would provide relief to DACA beneficiaries, as well as to individuals in the United States who have received protection under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) orders. However, most Republican senators have avoided taking a position on the bill, with some insisting on very limited relief at the price of ending most legal immigration to the United States.
The Senate Majority Leader, on the other hand, is signaling that any bill that the Senate acts on will need to be much narrower than the HEROES Act, will have to be anchored around very different priorities, and might not be taken up by the Senate until July.
In the meantime, the President has been all over the map on Phase IV COVID-19 legislation, He sometimes has signaled his support for big actions. However, at other times he has floated virtually impossible-to-achieve conditions (such as a payroll tax cut, big corporate capital gains tax cuts, and increased postal service rates) as his bottom lines for any future COVID-19 relief legislation that he would sign.
Caught in this whirlwind are the immigration- and refugee- advocacy communities. They failed to gain any traction in the four COVID-19 relief measures that have been enacted into law up to now. While the immigration advocacy community was successful in getting a number of substantive immigration-related provisions into the House-passed version of the HEROES Act of 2020, the outlook for getting any of those provisions into any final bill that makes it to the President desk look bleak.
In all, from the perspective of those interested in immigration, refugee, homeland security, or human trafficking policy, the week's schedule includes no hearings, markups, or floor action on matters of consequence.