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Brian Schatz on Immigration

 

 


Take full advantage of new visas available to China

In January, Pres. Obama issued an Executive Order to increase non-immigrant visa processing capacity by 40% in China and to shorten the wait time for personal interviews to three weeks or less. In March, the Lieutenant Governor met with federal officials to ensure that Hawai'i would be well-positioned to take full advantage of this additional visa processing capacity.

Lt. Gov. Schatz met with Chinese Consul General Qiu Shaofang to discuss the Executive Order and the potential for increasing visitations and direct flights to Hawai'i.

The increased capacity to process visas combined with the efforts of the Lieutenant Governor and HTA means Hawai'i will see more visitors from China in the years to come, already a growing group that spends the most on average per day in Hawai'i.

Source: Lt. Gov. official website, ltgov.hawaii.gov , Dec 27, 2012

Terminate national emergency at the Southern border.

Schatz voted YEA Joint Resolution on Proclamation 9844

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 is hereby terminated.

Proclamation 9844 issued by the president on Feb. 15, 2019: Declares a state of national emergency at the southern border to address the issues of illegal immigration and criminal trafficking into the US: "The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years. Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis."

Opposing the Proclamation (supporting the Resolution), ACLU press release, 2/15/2019 The ACLU issued the following statement upon filing a lawsuit: "By the president's very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall 'faster.' This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy."

Legislative outcome Passed House 245-182-5 roll #94 on Feb. 26; pass Senate 59-41 roll #49 on March 14; Vetoed by Pres. Trump; veto override failed, 248-181-3 (2/3 required), roll #127 on March 26

Source: Congressional vote 19-HJR46 on Feb 26, 2019

Sponsored bill to disallow religion-based immigration ban.

Schatz co-sponsored NO BAN Act

The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (NO BAN Act) imposes limitations on the President's authority to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the US. It also prohibits religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions, such as issuing a visa. The President may temporarily restrict the entry of any class of aliens after determining that the restriction would address specific and credible facts that threaten U.S. interests such as security or public safety.

GovTrack.us analysis (4/21/21): President Donald Trump instituted a travel ban on eight countries: Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The Supreme Court upheld the travel ban 5-4 in the 2018 decision Trump v. Hawaii. Trump's travel ban was popularly nicknamed "the Muslim ban" by its Democratic critics since most of the countries it applied to were majority Muslim, and because Trump as a 2016 candidate had indeed proposed a Muslim ban. Regardless, President Joe Biden rescinded the policy on his first day in office. Currently, federal law bans any person from being discriminated against when entering the U.S. on the basis of five characteristics: race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence. The NO BAN Act would add another category: religion.

Rep. Tom McClintock in OPPOSITION: President Trump invoked this authority against countries that were hotbeds of international terrorism and that were not cooperating with the US in providing basic information about travelers coming from these countries. The left called it a 'Muslim ban.' What nonsense. Without this authority, the president would have been powerless to take simple, prudent precautions against terrorists and criminals from entering the US.

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 218-208-3 on April 21, 2021, rollcall #127; introduced in Senate with 42 co-sponsors but no further Senate action during 2021.

Source: H.R.1333/S.1891 21-HR1333 on Feb 25, 2021

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