Federation for American Immigration Reform
117th Congress Voting Report
A Report by FAIR’s Government Relations Department
- Click Here to Download the PDF Version of the Full Voting Report and Scorecard
- To Download the PDF of just the House Voting Scorecard Click Here
- To Download the PDF of just the Senate Voting Scorecard Click Here
Introduction and Methodology
The primary function of the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) prominent government relations team is fighting for needed changes to our immigration system – placing a premium on what is best for the American people. In addition to lobbying individual lawmakers, generating grassroots activism, and ensuring media coverage, the team sends out “Key Vote” alerts to each office, informing them of FAIR’s position on legislation under consideration.
We then track the votes so that our members and supporters can see how often their lawmakers vote either alongside or against FAIR’s position. This helps educate the American people on who supports increasing enforcement and lowering overall levels of immigration. After all, their lawmakers represent them. Members of Congress must be made aware that their actions on immigration are being closely monitored by constituents back home.
The methodology for this report is simple. Each piece of legislation has either a value of + or -. A value of + means that the member of Congress voted in favor of FAIR’s position, whereas a value of — means that the member of Congress voted against FAIR’s position. Members of Congress who were not present for the individual vote receive a “N/A” value, which does not positively or negatively affect their final percentage. The tables indicate how often members of Congress voted in favor of FAIR’s position.
The 2020 Election
The election of the 117th Congress coincided with the 2020 presidential election between incumbent President Donald Trump (R) and former vice president and Delaware Senator Joe Biden (D). Biden defeated Trump in the electoral college by a vote of 306-232. Biden flipped crucial swing states Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, while also staging an upset in Georgia. It was the first time an incumbent president had lost re-election since 1992, when Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush.
In the House, the Republican Party made surprising gains. The GOP netted 14 seats, reducing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) majority to just four seats.
The battle for control of the Senate extended beyond the November election. Voters in Georgia did not hand either Republican Senate candidate a majority of votes, leading to January runoffs for both seats. Had just one of the Republican incumbents won their election, the GOP would have held a single-seat majority. Instead, voters in Georgia narrowly defeated Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue by vote totals of 93,272 and 54,944, respectively. The Democrats thus controlled the Senate in a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris – herself a former Senator – breaking any ties. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) became the majority leader, and Democrats found themselves in control of the White House, House, and Senate for the first time since the 111th Congress (2009-2011).
Throughout the 117th Congress (2021-2022), there were 13 “Key Vote” alerts on pending immigration legislation in the House of Representatives. Below is an interactive list detailing how often each member of the House voted with FAIR, as well as detailed descriptions of what they voted on.
In the Senate, FAIR issued 13 “Key Vote” alerts on pieces of legislation and 5 on presidential nominations. Below is a list of how often each Senator voted with FAIR, as well as detailed descriptions of what they voted on.
House of Representatives
H.R. 6 – the American Dream and Promise Act
The House voted on H.R. 6, a bill that they considered in the 116th Congress as well. Once again, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) sponsored this amnesty legislation. One hundred and seventy-five (175) Democrats cosponsored the bill.
H.R. 6 passed by a vote of 228-197. Nine Republicans joined 219 Democrats in passing this amnesty bill which gives more than three million illegal aliens a pathway to citizenship. The bill contains no improvements to our immigration enforcement system, nor does it address the loopholes in our amnesty laws that draw so many illegal aliens to our southern border. The bill purports to be a legislative “fix” for children brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but who otherwise grew up in the United States. H.R. 6 goes far beyond merely addressing only those 700,000 or so individuals with active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) registration, and includes millions of people who either did not qualify for former President Barack Obama’s (illegal) executive amnesty or who did not bother to apply when given the opportunity. The bill also includes those in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs.
FAIR OPPOSED this legislation. First and foremost, the bill was based on bad immigration policy. Rewarding illegal immigration with amnesty only encourages more illegal immigration. Second, the bill included no trade-offs in the form of enforcement improvements or asylum changes. Second, it included troubling provisions such as removal limitations, a de facto amnesty for gang members, and expanded eligibility which meant that anyone present before January 1, 2021, could benefit from this bill.
For more information on this bill, please visit FAIR’s resource page on H.R. 6.
H.R. 1603 – the Farm Workforce Modernization Act
Like H.R. 6, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) first came up in the previous Congress. H.R. 1603 would grant amnesty to over 1.5 million illegal alien farmworkers, expand the H-2A guestworker program, add 40,000 green cards to the EB-3 category, and mandate E-Verify across the agriculture sector. Despite the catchy title, the bill does nothing to modernize America’s agricultural workforce and is simply a giveaway to states like California whose farmers still rely on a large illegal alien population.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) – the Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship – sponsored this legislation alongside 48 Democratic and 13 Republican cosponsors. The House passed H.R. 1603 by a vote of 247-174, with 30 Republicans joining 217 Democrats in passage. Only one Democrat opposed the legislation.
The main feature of the bill was the creation of a legalized status for illegal alien farmworkers, called the Certified Agricultural Worker (CAW). Under the bill, CAW aliens can eventually apply for green cards through an archaic system that resembles indentured servitude. Aliens who worked in agriculture for at least 10 years before the bill’s enactment must work under CAW status for at least four additional years before applying for a green card. Alternatively, aliens who worked for less than ten years before enactment must work at least eight more years under CAW status. The bill creates a huge opportunity for widespread fraud, as it is unclear how aliens would prove their length of employment or establish that they have satisfied any of the other criteria.
FAIR OPPOSED this bill. The bill would grant amnesty to over one million illegal aliens and encourage further illegal immigration. Further, it would place the amnestied aliens in limbo, tying them to agriculture for years using a restricted work permit and promising a path to citizenship. Nothing in the bill “modernizes” America’s agricultural workforce. That would require automating many of these jobs using advanced technology and programs designed to give farmers access to those innovations. Further, the framework for improving legal farm labor already exists – fix problems with the current H-2A program.
For more information on this bill, please visit FAIR’s resource page on H.R. 1603.
H.R. 1573 — the Access to Counsel Act
The Access to Counsel Act is another bill that was first passed in the 116th Congress, sponsored by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that governs our immigration system, illegal aliens cannot receive taxpayer-funded legal counsel. While H.R. 1573 does not overturn that provision, it creeps up to the precipice.
H.R. 1573 would guarantee “covered individuals” and those selected for additional inspection at the port of entry access to counsel. The bill lists seven types of covered individuals, including asylees, refugees, and parolees. Make no mistake – many of those currently seeking relief at our border in the current crisis would qualify as a “covered individual” under H.R. 1573.
Often, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sends travelers to a second screening because they have reason to believe they are smuggling illegal drugs or human beings. Further, under current law, applicants for entry to the United States do not have guaranteed access to counsel unless they become the subject of a criminal investigation. This bill gives every potential applicant for entry to the United States the guaranteed access to counsel, even nonimmigrant temporary visitors.
This bill perpetuates the myth that everyone has a fundamental right to enter the United States, regardless of the strength of their claim. Further, it is a de facto monetary giveaway to partisan immigration lawyers who can now expect even more business at the border, exacerbating the problem further and giving potential illegal alien migrants more of an incentive to try their luck at making an asylum claim.
FAIR OPPOSED this bill. House Democrats passed the bill on an entirely partisan basis – all Democrats voted in favor of the bill while all Republicans opposed it. The final vote tally was 217-207, with five members not voting.
H.R. 1333 — the NO BAN Act
The NO BAN Act makes disturbing changes to the president’s 212(f) authority. This includes stripping the authority to determine if classes of aliens represent a threat to the United States. If H.R. 1333 were law at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, President Trump would have been unable to quickly act and restrict travel from Europe and China in the early months of the pandemic, endangering Americans. Today is no different. We face a growing crisis on our southern border with thousands of unscreened migrants entering the United States every day.
H.R. 1333 adds more confusion to the existing 212(f) process by forcing the President to first consult with the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State before issuing any 212(f) restrictions. Further, the secretaries would have to first provide a briefing and written report to eight separate congressional committees, eliminating the ability of the executive to act quickly in exigent circumstances. The bill also gives any aliens barred from entry the right to petition U.S. District Courts in an effort to enter the country, rendering any 212(f) restriction completely moot.
In the 116th Congress, House Democrats pushed this bill through at the onset of a pandemic. President Trump used his 212(f) authority to protect Americans by banning travel from Europe, the new epicenter of the virus at that time. Speaker Pelosi, realizing this bill would have prevented the President from ever doing this, pulled the bill from consideration. Then, in the heat of election season, they rushed through and passed this partisan messaging bill.
FAIR OPPOSED the NO BAN Act. The House passed this bill by a vote of 218-208. Only a single Republican – Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) – voted in favor of H.R. 1333, alongside every Democrat.
H.R. 3985 — the ALLIES Act
The Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs (ALLIES) Act contains several troubling provisions to “streamline” the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. It also provides an 8,000-visa increase to the Afghan SIV cap (family members do not count against it) to cover all potentially eligible applicants currently in the pipeline, as well as new applicants as they apply.
The bill eliminates existing language built into the law requiring that applicants have performed “sensitive and trusted services” in their capacity working with U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. This modification opens the door for any Afghan with even a tangential claim to aiding U.S. military forces to apply. Contrary to ensuring that deserving Afghans receive SIVs in a prompt and accurate fashion, it is likely to open the application floodgates to applicants with marginal or frivolous claims, making it much more difficult to vet and adjudicate legitimate applicants.
Additionally, the bill eliminates existing requirements that SIV applicants show they face a serious threat. While it could be argued that Afghans who significantly aided U.S. military forces face a serious threat upon our withdrawal, the practical consequence of eliminating this requirement, like elimination of the requirement to have performed sensitive and trusted service, is that it will result in a cascade of new applications, many from individuals whose service was marginal or, worse, whose loyalties are questionable.
It is understandable why the current situation has elicited a sympathetic response from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle: How can we leave behind those who helped us? The problem is, as sweeping fraud in the parallel Iraqi SIV program makes evident, almost nothing is as it seems in either of those war-torn nations, and proper vetting can take years because even people who appear to be on the same side as you may not, in fact, be who and what they seem. The last thing we should be doing on the SIV front is “streamlining,” which is equivalent to “accelerating” in the immigration world.
FAIR OPPOSED this legislation. The House passed the ALLIES Act by a vote of 407-16.
Amendments En Bloc #3 to H.R. 4346, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act
H.R. 4346, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2022, provides funding for the entire legislative branch of the federal government for the 2022 fiscal year. Representatives from both parties often submit numerous amendments to the bill, and then the House votes on those ruled in order in groups of amendments.
Amendments En Bloc #3 included Rep. Glenn Grothman’s Amendment No. 8, which strikes language that would enable illegal aliens to be employed by the U.S. Congress. Since the program’s likely illegal inception, Democrats in the House and Senate have hired recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as unpaid interns. Many of those same offices want to hire DACA recipients – who are illegal aliens – as paid congressional staffers. Rep. Grothman’s amendment would forbid any DACA recipients from working for Congress in paid positions.
FAIR SUPPORTED Amendments En Bloc #3 to H.R. 4346 because of Rep. Grothman’s common-sense amendment. For national security reasons, only legal permanent residents and American citizens should work for Congressional offices.
The House rejected Amendments En Bloc #3 to H.R. 4346 by a vote of 180-243, with 26 Republicans joining all Democrats in opposition.
H.R. 5376 — the Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act (originally named the Build Back Better Act) is the Democrats’ massive $1.75 trillion tax-and-spend bill. Portrayed as an infrastructure bill, this massive piece of legislation includes a litany of progressive and far-left wish-list items. Because it was anticipated that the Senate would move their version of the Inflation Reduction Act through the budget reconciliation process – which avoids the 60-vote threshold normally required for passing legislation – the Democrats were able to include controversial policies in this legislation, including a massive amnesty for illegal aliens.
The House version included a humanitarian parole provision giving illegal aliens a work permit and deportation relief for 10 years. That would apply to over 7 million illegal aliens. This is the third time that congressional Democrats tried to include immigration language in the reconciliation bill, after the Senate parliamentarian previously ruled against two prior versions.
This “Plan C” version gives millions of illegal aliens a long-term status similar to DACA. Democrats gambled on the well-founded belief that once these provisions were in place, a future Congress would find it very difficult to repeal the protections and would simply kick the can down the road further as they have with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and DACA. Also, the Inflation Reduction Act included a green-card recapture scheme as a carve-out for massive technology giants who prioritize cheap foreign labor.
FAIR OPPOSED this legislation. It shields immigration lawbreakers from removal. It gives them work documentation and access to public benefits, which is exactly why illegal aliens come to the United States in the first place. It creates a perverse incentive to further reward this population of illegal aliens ten years from now and all but guarantees permanent protections. Even worse, it contains absolutely no enforcement tradeoffs.
A link to FAIR’s analysis of the bill is available here.
The House passed the Inflation Reduction Act by a vote of 220-213, with all Republicans joining just one Democrat – Jared Golden (Maine) – in opposition.
NO on Amendments En Bloc #1, YES on Amendments En Bloc #3 for H.R. 4521
House leadership created three en bloc amendment groups to H.R. 4521 – the United States Innovation and Competition Act. Two of them contained language that made legislative changes to immigration policy within the overall framework of the bill.
Democratic En Bloc #1, Offered by Rep. Johnson (D-Texas)
FAIR Position: OPPOSE
48: Connolly (VA)
“Creates an E-4 treaty trader visa category for up to 15,000 nationals of South Korea each fiscal year who are coming to the United States solely to perform specialty occupation services, subject to various requirements.”
FAIR opposes any treaty trader or investor visa expansion.
68: Escobar (TX)
“Directs CBP to develop metrics to measure how procured technologies have helped deter or address irregular migration along the southern border, including ways in which technologies have altered migration routes and patterns.”
FAIR does not take a position on this amendment.
85: Foster (IL), Pressley (MA), Bowman (NY)
“Allows dual intent for STEM doctoral students, allowing them to transition to a green card as provided under this bill without first needing to leave the country and start the visa process over”
FAIR opposes altering existing pathways to legal immigration for the purpose of dual intent.
90: Garamendi (CA)
“Inserts the ‘Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan Fulbright Scholars Act of 2021,’ which provides SIVs for those Fulbrighters currently studying at American universities and former scholars who returned to Afghanistan. Provides SIVs for their legal spouses/dependents as well as for Afghans who participated in other State Department-sponsored exchange programs.”
FAIR opposes the Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan Fulbright Scholars Act of 2021.
141: Larsen (WA)
“Exempts residents of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region who are granted refugee status from the annual cap on refugee admissions.”
FAIR opposes efforts to increase refugee admissions at a time when our humanitarian immigration programs are in crisis due to fraudulent asylum-seekers presenting themselves at the southern border. The better solution is to with regional partners to resettle Uyghur refugees in-region where they can assimilate safely.
160: Manning (NC), Peters (CA), Krishnamoorthi (IL), Ross (NC)
“Adds graduates with advanced degrees in STEM who work in a critical industry to the exemption from numerical visa limitations for doctoral STEM graduates.”
FAIR opposes exempting foreign STEM degree holders from numerical visa limitations. This further reinforces the mistaken notion that America cannot produce domestic STEM talent and undercuts efforts to do so.
The Democratic En Bloc #1 passed by a vote of 221-211.
Republican En Bloc #3, Offered by Rep. Lofgren (D-Calif.)
FAIR Position: SUPPORT
26: Burgess (TX)
This amendment strikes Sections 80301 and 80302 from the bill that create a new classification of ‘W’ visas for start-up entrepreneurs.
FAIR supports striking this massive and unnecessary new visa program. The inclusion of the “W” visa and pathway to citizenship via status adjustment for W-visa holders is the primary reason we oppose the underlying bill.
The Republican En Bloc #3 failed by a vote of 204-225, with four Republicans voting against their party’s amendment package. No Democrats supported the Republican amendment package.
H.R. 4521 – the United States Innovation and Competition Act
House leadership billed the United States Innovation and Competition Act as a bill that would help the United States counter the rise of China and reinvigorate domestic manufacturing and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. However noble the bill’s intentions, FAIR could not support it because of various proposals within it that expand current levels of immigration.
FAIR supports strengthening American manufacturing and advancing American scientific research. Offshoring manufacturing and outsourcing talent has destroyed communities and livelihoods throughout our nation.
However, FAIR opposes efforts to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and refugee status for qualifying residents of Hong Kong and their families. The United States Innovation and Competition Act not only does this, but also provides 25,000 special interest visas for “highly-skilled” Hong Kong residents. The text follows the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, which FAIR opposed at the time. However well-intended, the inclusion of this provision will not preserve freedom for Hong Kong.
Second, the United States Innovation and Competition Act creates a brand-new nonimmigrant visa category for “entrepreneurs and employees.” The bill establishes a new “W” category that includes 1) entrepreneurs with an ownership interest in a start-up entity; 2) essential employees of said entity; and 3) the spouses and children of both the entity’s owners and employees. All these individuals can adjust their status and pursue a green card. This is nothing more than another “investor visa” category similar to the controversial EB-5 and E category investors. FAIR has long opposed these programs. Instead, Congress should find ways to encourage and build upon American entrepreneurial ventures, rather than establishing another “golden visa” program that degrades American citizenship by relegating it to a dollar amount.
Lastly, the United States Innovation and Competition Act provides an unlimited number of green cards for high-skilled foreign nationals – such as “outstanding professors and researchers,” a well-known source of Chinese espionage. Not only is this dangerous, it does nothing to assist American-grown STEM talent.
For these reasons, FAIR OPPOSED the United States Innovation and Competition Act. The bill passed by a vote of 222-210. Democrat Stephanie Murphy (Fla.) broke with her party to vote with Republicans against the bill. Republican Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) broke with his party to vote with Democrats in favor of the legislation.
Amendments En Bloc #4 to H.R. 7900
H.R. 7900 was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, a yearly must-pass bill that authorizes funds for our nation’s military. Due to the must-pass nature of this spending bill, the party in power regularly stuffs the legislation with amendments unrelated to military spending. The FY 2023 bill was no different and included a particularly onerous immigration amendment.
NDAA Amendment #403 amends the Child Status Protection Act to “protect dependent children of green card applicants and long-term dependent children of employment-based nonimmigrants from aging out of our legal immigration system.” This would further expand an already broken chain migration system by awarding legal status to dependents of employment visa holders who are no longer minors and should otherwise acquire their own basis to legally immigrate to the United States.
Many parents of these individuals are H-1B visa holders who have displaced American workers from their jobs – which is exactly what the program was designed to do. This amendment not only rewards the practice but encourages more of it. What should strictly be a “temporary” work visa will now become a lure to citizenship. As a result, the number of employment-based green card petitions will skyrocket for H-1B visa workers, which would further increase the backlog.
It is baffling that the White House and Congress refuse to reign in the abuses of cheap foreign labor programs such as the H-1B program. Year after year, lawmakers in both parties craftily and unscrupulously work to pass legislation or amendments that hurt American workers in the near, mid, and long-term.
Democratic Representative Deborah Ross (N.C.) introduced the amendment, which Democratic leadership included in a single en bloc vote alongside dozens of other unrelated amendments. FAIR OPPOSED En Bloc #4 due to the inclusion of Rep. Ross’ immigration expansion provision.
En Bloc #4 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 277-150, with 62 Republicans joining all but three Democrats in voting in favor of the amendment bloc.
H.R. 7946 – the Veteran Service Recognition Act
Having failed to deliver for their radical base on immigration throughout the 117th Congress, House Democrats made an eleventh-hour push to deliver amnesty under the guise of supporting the military and veterans through the Veteran Service Recognition Act. The two most prominent and concerning provisions of this bill were 1) extending the opportunity to apply for adjustment of status (a green card) to illegal alien family members of service members or veterans, and 2) empowering the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel removal orders and give green cards to potentially violent criminals who are serving or have served in the military.
H.R. 7946 would have expanded fast-track naturalization beyond those serving during designated hostilities to include any service member – active-duty or reserve – who supported a “contingency operation.” This included times designated by the Secretary of Defense during which the military “may become” involved in hostilities, and could cover virtually any time at all.
The bill would have also extended amnesty to illegal alien relatives of service members or veterans who served honorably for at least two years. While their service is heroic, their relatives may have never served a day in their lives and broke our laws. Against the backdrop of the Biden Administration’s border crisis, with over 7 million aliens having illegally crossed our border – including over 1.3 million “gotaways” who evaded apprehension altogether – any form of amnesty is a severe policy blunder that will act as a magnet for further illegal immigration. This is why FAIR joined a number of other groups in urging congressional leaders to “take all actions necessary” to stop any and all forms of amnesty or increased immigration during the lame-duck session.
Under this legislation, the DHS Secretary would have also been empowered to give green cards to military members or veterans with removal orders if doing so is “in the public interest.”
For these reasons, FAIR OPPOSED the Veteran Service Recognition Act. The bill passed the House by a vote of 220-208. Three Republicans broke with their party to vote with Democrats in favor of the legislation. Those Republicans were Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Maria Salazar (Fla.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.).
H.R. 2617 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023
The Consolidated Appropriations Act – the nearly $2 trillion, 4,000-page spending bill for fiscal year 2023 – did nothing to address the border crisis while giving DHS more money to process and release illegal aliens, continuing the disastrous status quo.
Among other provisions, the bill:
- Provides $1.563 billion for CBP “border management” but does not allow using those funds to hire permanent border security officers, deport illegal aliens (only allows for transportation to American communities), or expand border security technologies and capabilities unless it is for improving the processing of illegal aliens. This is not “border management,” this is $1.563 billion to convert CBP into a federal travel agency for illegal aliens.
- Provides $800 million from CBP to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for “sheltering and other services” through grant programs awarded to open-border aligned non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charities. This broad appropriation could be viewed as enticing others to illegally enter the country and there is no prohibition against the monies being distributed to organizations in the interior, meaning that aliens could be sheltered throughout the country under this section.
- Prohibits the use of funds for border wall construction in certain areas.
- Allows the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to accept private donations from politically motivated organizations for the care of unaccompanied alien children.
- Provides funds to both CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to transport unaccompanied alien children, demonstrating that domestic transportation throughout the United States is a large part of CBP and ICE operations. While no specific monies are allotted for this purpose, now that it is provided for with appropriations, it is a key enticement for parents to pay smugglers to take their children on the dangerous trek up to the southern border.
- Provides millions for a controversial case management pilot program to aid illegal aliens facing deportation – which is being overseen by a nonprofit that has previously called for the defunding and abolition of ICE.
- Provides $29 million for the Justice Department’s Legal Orientation Program (LOP), which empowers NGOs to coach large groups of detained aliens on immigration court proceedings. Additionally, program participant organizations often blur the line between providing basic information about the process and providing legal advice.
- Provides $25 million for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, a program utilized by many of the same NGOs receiving federal grant money to process illegal aliens. This self-congratulatory grant program has been routinely awarded to organizations involved in active litigation against DHS and does nothing to enhance the administration of the immigration system.
- Makes funds for partnerships between state and local law enforcement to assist in enforcing immigration laws contingent on DHS Inspector General determinations of whether the terms governing those partnerships are followed. This would allow DHS to alert the IG of potential non-compliance with any provision, no matter how small or insignificant, and create a pretense for DHS to end 287(g) partnerships. We have already witnessed the dangerous consequences of an administration unwilling to utilize the 287(g) program as the Obama era saw a series of canceled agreements.
- Allows detention contracts to be rescinded based on arbitrary performance evaluations.
- Extends discretionary authority for DHS to issue more H-2B guest worker visas than the cap allows, which displaces American workers and drives down wages.
- Fails to adjust immigration enforcement spending in line with inflation.
For all these reasons, FAIR OPPOSED the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023. The bill passed the House by a vote of 225-201. Nine Republicans voted to pass the bill, while only one Democrat voted against it.
Confirmation: Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security
FAIR OPPOSED the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mayorkas previously served as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the Obama Administration from 2009-2013 and as the Deputy Secretary of DHS between 2013-2016. Mayorkas was the architect of the FAIR-opposed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
At the time of his nomination, FAIR president Dan Stein remarked, “the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by President-Elect Biden has highlighted valid concerns that his Administration will pursue a radical immigration agenda, undermining public safety and national security. It’s simple – Mayorkas has been tapped to fill the wrong job at the worst possible time.”
The Senate confirmed Mayorkas by a vote of 56-43. Six Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting for his confirmation. Mayorkas assumed office on February 2, 2021.
Amendments to Biden Administration’s COVID-19 Stimulus Package (S.Con.Res.5)
Abandoning bipartisan compromise, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) used the budget reconciliation process to pass COVID-19 stimulus legislation. Under the rules afforded to the minority, Republican senators could propose an unlimited number of amendments to the final bill. This process, known as a “Vote-a-Rama,” allowed Republicans to propose a number of immigration-related amendments to the eventual $1.9 trillion COVID bill.
Young Amendment (54)
Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced an amendment that would prevent illegal aliens from receiving stimulus checks.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment passed 58-42, with eight Democrats joining all 50 Republicans.
Toomey Amendment (553)
Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced an amendment that would ban sanctuary jurisdictions by ensuring that state and local law enforcement are permitted to cooperate with federal officials to enforce federal immigration law.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment failed on a 50-50 vote, breaking down entirely on partisan lines with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.
Graham Amendment (687)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced an amendment that would codify the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy – that the Trump Administration entered into with Mexico. Under MPP, asylum-seeking aliens had to wait in Mexico for the duration of their court proceedings in the United States. This ended the catch-and-release policy of the Obama Administration and removed an incentive to illegally migrate to the U.S. and make fraudulent asylum claims as a way to enter the country.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment failed on a 50-50 vote, breaking down entirely on partisan lines with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.
Ernst Amendment (132)
Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced an amendment that would prioritize the arrest and removal of illegal aliens charged with a crime resulting in death or serious bodily injury.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment passed by a vote of 52-48, where Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Angus King (I-Maine) voted alongside all Republicans in support of the amendment.
Confirmation: Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services
FAIR OPPOSED the nomination of Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Becerra previously served as the attorney general of California (2017-2021) and as a member of the House of Representatives (1993-2017).
Throughout his time as a U.S. Representative and California’s attorney general, Becerra displayed immigration views that can only be described as extreme. At the state level, Becerra fined employers in up to 10,000 instances where they cooperated with ICE. He also filed lawsuits against the Trump Administration regarding a number of immigration issues, including the border wall, asylum agreements, the COVID-19 visa pause, and attempts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty.
Although immigration is only one aspect of the Department’s work, it has wide-reaching implications. Shortly after the Senate confirmed Becerra, the number of apprehensions at the southern border began increasing, particularly among unaccompanied alien children (UACs). As the head of HHS, Becerra’s agency is responsible for housing and detaining UACs.
The Senate confirmed Becerra as the HHS Secretary by a razor-thin vote of 50-49. Susan Collins (Maine) was the only Republican senator who voted to confirm Becerra. Becerra assumed office on March 18, 2021.
Confirmation: Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor
FAIR OPPOSED the nomination of Marty Walsh to lead the Department of Labor (DOL).
DOL plays a critical role in the field of immigration. The agency certifies applications and wages for all guest worker and employment-based visa programs. Under the Trump Administration, the Labor Department used the federal rulemaking process to make critically needed changes to the H-1B program – including updating the selection process and bringing wage levels in line with prevailing wages to protect American workers from unfair competition, mitigate wage suppression, and protect foreign workers from exploitation. Although immigration is only one aspect of the department’s work, it has wide-reaching implications on the wages and opportunities of American workers.
At the time of his nomination, Marty Walsh had not demonstrated a commitment to preserving or enhancing these policies, nor does he have a track record of enforcing existing immigration law. As the mayor of Boston, Mr. Walsh ushered through the Trust Act, a bill that prohibited Boston police from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He also created the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund, which used taxpayer dollars to shield illegal aliens from removal and other immigration enforcement actions.
The Senate confirmed Walsh by a vote of 68-29, with 18 Republicans joining all Democrats.
Confirmation: Ur Jaddou as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
FAIR OPPOSED the nomination of Ur Jaddou to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for administering legal immigration to the United States and regulating immigration benefits.
Jaddou has vast experience in immigration law and policy. She previously worked for Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who now chairs the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. Jaddou worked in the Obama Administration as the chief counsel at USCIS. During the Trump Administration, she worked at the open-borders advocacy group America’s Voice and led their “DHS Watch” program.
Ur Jaddou is an amnesty architect who will undoubtedly try to bend, or outright ignore, countless rules and laws expressly designed to exclude people who do not qualify for immigration benefits. FAIR argued that if the Senate confirmed Jaddou, gone would be the days of focusing on fairness, lawfulness and efficiency, protecting American workers, and safeguarding the homeland.
The Senate confirmed Jaddou by a vote of 47-34, with 19 senators not voting. Among those who voted, no Republicans supported her, and no Democrats opposed her.
Confirmation: Chris Magnus as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
FAIR OPPOSED the nomination of Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that oversees all ports of entry and is responsible for immigration enforcement within 100 miles of our land borders with both Mexico and Canada. CBP is the umbrella agency that houses the Border Patrol, the Office of Field Operations, and Air and Marine Operations.
Chris Magnus is the former police chief of Tucson, Arizona. In that capacity, he declared Tucson a sanctuary city and ended the 287(g) agreement that Tucson had with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The 287(g) program allows some local law enforcement officers to perform immigration arrests and is an important force-multiplier for ICE. Magnus also penned a scathing op-ed in which he attacked the immigration policies of the Trump Administration.
These were his only qualifications when Biden nominated him to the post of CBP commissioner. He has no federal immigration experience and no federal law enforcement experience. CBP is both one of the largest federal agencies and one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country, employing over 62,000 people.
FAIR argued that Magnus is unqualified for, unprepared for, and unable to perform the duties of the Commissioner of CBP.
The Senate confirmed Magnus by a vote of 50-47, with three senators not voting. No Republican voted in favor of Magnus, although Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) voted to end debate and move to a vote.
H.R. 5376 — the Inflation Reduction Act
In the Senate, the Inflation Reduction Act had to be passed under budget reconciliation, a special procedure which allows for a simple majority vote on budget-related legislation. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 51-50. The vote was along party lines, with all Republicans opposing and all Democrats supporting. Vice President Kamala Harris was on hand to break the tie.
Before final passage, several amendments were considered.
Lankford Amendment (5384)
Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment to provide $1 million in additional funding to implement Title 42.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment failed by a vote of 50-50 along partisan lines, with all Republicans supporting it and all Democrats opposing.
Sullivan Amendment (5435)
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced an amendment to “replace funding for the Office of the Chief Readiness Support Officer with a $500,000,000 appropriation for the construction or improvement of primary pedestrian fencing and barriers along the southwest border.”
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment again failed 50-50 along partisan lines, with all Republicans supporting it and all Democrats opposing.
Tester Amendment (5480)
Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced an amendment to require a period of 60 days between the Surgeon General lifting Title 42 expulsion authority and the end of that authority. The amendment would have also required a plan to be submitted by the Surgeon General, in consultation with the DHS Secretary and other relevant authorities, before Title 42 expired.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment failed 56-44, with all but six Democrats voting against it and all Republicans voting for it.
FAIR also SUPPORTED two motions to commit the Inflation Reduction Act to the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees. Both motions failed 50-50 along partisan lines, with all Republicans supporting the motions and all Democrats opposing.
H.R. 2617 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023
FAIR OPPOSED final passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act in the Senate. The bill passed by a vote of 68-29, with 18 Republicans voting with all Democrats for passage. Several amendments to the massive omnibus spending bill were also considered.
Johnson Amendment (6559)
Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced an amendment to restrict federal funds from being used by DHS to transport illegal aliens in the interior of the country.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment failed 47-50 almost entirely along partisan lines. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) supported the amendment while Republican Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Susan Collins (Maine) voted against it.
Lee Amendment (6563)
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced an amendment to prohibit the use of federal funds to terminate Title 42 expulsion authority.
FAIR SUPPORTED this amendment. The amendment failed 47-50 along partisan lines, with all Republicans supporting it and all Democrats opposing.
Sinema Amendment (6621)
Senator Krysten Sinema (I-Ariz.) introduced an amendment to provide billions of dollars in additional funding for processing illegal aliens.
FAIR OPPOSED this amendment. The amendment failed by a vote of 10-87, garnering bipartisan disapproval.