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Senate Sends President Obama Fast-Track Trade Deal Legislation

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The Senate on Wednesday voted 60-38 to send President Obama Trade Promotion Authority legislation that would facilitate passage of trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. Congress needs more time to clear related bills, including one that would establish trade negotiation objectives that seek to ensure trade deals will not change U.S. immigration law or expand access to visas.

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DHS Further Reduces Detention of Illegal Border Crossers

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Pushed by Democratic Members of Congress and special interest groups, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson today announced DHS would further limit the detention of those who illegally crossed the border as family units. Johnson's announcement comes despite a FOX News report this week indicating that 84 percent of Central American families who were released during last year’s border surge failed to appear in court.

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Obama Administration Implements Priority Enforcement Program, Limits Interior Enforcement

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As the courts sort out the legality of President Obama's executive action to grant amnesty and work permits to 5 million illegal aliens, the Obama administration is moving forward with its Priority Enforcement Program, which prohibits U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from targeting most illegal aliens for removal, including most of those who come into contact with state and local police.

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Sen. Sessions Introduces Bill to Strengthen Interior Enforcement

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has introduced legislation that would bolster the interior enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bill, S.1640, entitled the Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act, would end the mass release of criminal aliens, allow local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal laws, and help ensure the just, consistent and uniform application of federal law.

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Sen. Ted Cruz to oppose TPA without meaningful immigration provision

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote an op-ed today for Breitbart.com, announcing that he will oppose the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill passed by the House unless it includes Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-Ala.) amendment that unequivocally prohibits trade agreements from allowing new foreign workers to take U.S. jobs. The announcement represents a reversal in position for Sen. Cruz.

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Mexico Apprehends and Deports More Central Americans Than the United States

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The Associated Press reports that Mexico apprehended 92,889 Central Americans between October 2014 and April 2015, while the United States detained 70,226 "other than Mexican" illegal aliens during that period, the majority of whom are Guatemalan, Honduran and El Salvadoran citizens. But the important issue is the disposition of these illegal aliens and there, AP notes, “Mexico has proved the more efficient."

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After House Passage, Trade Promotion Authority Faces Senate Hurdles

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Using procedural sleight-of-hand, the House passed Trade Promotion Authority legislation that would facilitate the passage of trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and could lead to guest worker increases without congressional input. The measure now moves to the Senate, where it could face a filibuster during debate next week.

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Sen. Cruz Introduces Bill to De-Fund Executive Amnesties

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., introduced the Immigration Slush Fund Elimination Act, which would ban DHS from using the fees collected for legal immigration benefits to fund President Obama’s executive amnesties. In a press release, Sen. Cruz said, “The federal government should not be in the business of looting the wallets of those who followed the law and came here legally to fund the President’s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty. This bill will cut off DHS’s credit card.”

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Republican Leaders Seek Another Trade Promotion Authority Vote

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After failing last week to pass a package of legislation that tethered fast-track trade authority with aid to workers displaced by trade deals, the House plans to try again, possibly on Thursday, to move the legislation separately with assurances that both will become law. Roll Call reports the House Rules Committee is meeting today to adopt a rule that would govern floor debate on the measures.

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