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
S.2650: Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act of 2014
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) was added as a co-sponsor to S.2650 on Sept. 9, 2014. The bill was introduced by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) on July 23, 2014 and has a total of 12 co-sponsors. The legislation has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
The bill requires the president to submit any final U.S.-Iran agreement relating to Iran’s nuclear program to Congress within three days after its conclusion and also prevents its implementation if a veto-proof majority of Congress disapproves of the deal. The legislation also prevents further extensions of the negotiations, requiring a full re-installment of all sanctions in the absence of a final deal, and strictly enforces Iran’s compliance to any nuclear agreements.
H.R.5415: The Authorization for Use of Military Force against International Terrorism Act
On September 8, 2014, Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) introduced an AUMF bill in the House of Representatives which has received a total of eight co-sponsors. Between September 9th and 10th Representatives David Scott (D-GA-13), Steve Pearce (R-NM-2), and Robert Aderholt (R-Al-4) were added as co-sponsors to the bill. The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The bill would give the president authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those countries, organizations, or persons associated with or supporting terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and its regional affiliates, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, and any other emerging regional terrorist groups.
H.RES.109: Condemnation of Persecution of Baha’is
Eight co-sponsors were added to H.RES.109 between September 8th and 11th, 2014 including Representatives Andre Carson (D-IN-7), Ron DeSantis (R-FL-6), Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8), Tom Petri (R-WI-6), Rob Wittman (R-VA-1), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48), and Joe Heck (R-NV-3). There are now a total of 163 co-sponsors for the legislation which was introduced on March 12, 2013 by Michael Grimm (D-NY-11). On June 19, 2014 the resolution was forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee by Unanimous Consent.
The resolution condemns Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights. It calls on the President and Secretary of State, in cooperation with responsible nations, to condemn Iran's continued violation of human rights and demand the release of prisoners held solely on account of their religion.
H.RES.147: Calling for the Release of United States Citizen Saeed Abedini
Representatives Scott Perry (R-PA-4), Tim Murphy (R-PA-18), and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8) were added as co-sponsors to H.RES.147 on September 8th and September 10th, 2014. The resolution was introduced by Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) on April 10, 2013 and has a total of 95 co-sponsors. On November 20, 2013 it was Ordered to be Reported by Unanimous Consent.
The resolution 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). The legislation calls on: (1) Iran to release Saeed Abedini to the United States; and (2) 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.
H.R.15: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
Representative Hakeem Jeffries (DEM-NY-8) was added as a co-sponsor to H.R.15 on September 18, 2014 which brings the total number of co-sponsors to 199. A Motion to Discharge Committee was filed by Representative Joe Garcia (D-FL-26) on March 26, 2014.
The bill is based on S.744 which is a broad-based proposal for reforming the U.S. immigration system and addresses all aspects of the immigration process including border enforcement issues and legal immigration reforms. It makes changes to the family and employment-based visa categories for immigrants, provides critical due-process protections, increases the availability of nonimmigrant workers to supplement all sectors of the workforce, and provides legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants within the United States. However, unlike S.744, the Corker-Hoeven amendment, which was criticized as militarizing the border, has been removed in favor of the McCaul border bill which focuses on establishing metrics and review of accountability on border security.
H.R.140: Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013
Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL-15) was added as a co-sponsor to H.R.140 on September 8, 2014 which brings the total number of co-sponsors to 37. The bill was introduced on January 3, 2013 by Representative Steve King (R-IA-5) and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
The legislation 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.
H.CON.RES.27: Supporting the Formation of a Bipartisan Presidential Commission to Study the Establishment of a National Museum of the American People
Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) was added as a co-sponsor to H.CON.RES.27 on September 9, 2014. The concurrent resolution was introduced by Representative James Moran (D-VA-8) on March 19, 2013 and has a total of 47 co-sponsors. The legislation has been referred to House Natural Resources.
The concurrent resolution would create a presidential commission to study the establishment of a National Museum of the American People. The museum would tell the story of all the peoples who came to the United States and contributed to its success and prosperity. The museum would also serve as a resource to assist state, local, and ethnic museums in presenting exhibits that celebrate the heritage of the people of the United States.
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