Cortez Masto and Lee balk at Biden’s plan to stem immigration wave – The Nevada Independent

ByLance T. Lee

Apr 30, 2022

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Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) are unhappy with a new Map of the White House to cope with up to 18,000 border crossings a day expected after the lifting of a public health policy that allows the rapid removal of migrants, including those seeking asylum.

“At this time, I haven’t seen a full plan,” Cortez Masto said in a brief interview after the White House released a memo detailing its plan for when it will stop invoking the so-called Law of title 42 public health.

“I don’t feel like the plan they submitted was enough,” Lee said in a short interview. “It doesn’t make me feel comfortable.”

Cortez Masto and Lee are among a group of Democratic lawmakers who have called for Title 42, a 1944 public health law first used under President Donald Trump, to remain in place until the administration offers an effective immigration plan. Some of those critical Democrats, including Cortez Masto and Lee, face tough re-election campaigns in part because of President Joe Biden’s low approval rating.

Changing the policy would also leave Democrats open to criticism from Republicans over what the GOP has called “border crisis”.

“Anyone who thinks the situation at the border is fine, or that less is going to be more at the border, that’s just incredibly deaf,” said Rep. Mark Amodei, who called for an investigation into undocumented migrants released in the country. in a recent interview on the House floor.

The law was used to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also allowed the government to quickly deport migrants. Under pressure from immigrant rights groups over concerns that they have short-circuited the asylum process, Biden will end use of the law on May 23. But a recent legal challenge could delay that date. Mondaya federal judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked Biden’s plan.

Under the 20-page six-part plan, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would augment resources at the southern border, including personnel, transportation, and medical support. Approximately 23,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) personnel are currently working along the southern border.

During a senators-only call with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Cortez Masto said she was concerned about the plan’s lack of details, including how funding would be allocated to deal with the the outbreak. She also said she wanted more details on the number of DHS, Department of Health and Human Services, and military personnel needed to process and house migrants in a humane and safe manner. And she wanted details of what steps the administration was taking to combat drug and human trafficking across the border. Cortez Masto requested a follow-up meeting with Mayorkas and his team.

Lee also asked if the CPB’s 23,000 staff would be enough to safely process up to 18,000 migrants a day after the policy change. According to the DHSan average of about 5,900 per day in February.

The two Nevada Democrats said the issue underscores the need for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“For the past 30 years, we’ve taken this box on the road,” Lee said. “And so anyone who wants to criticize anything that happens at the border needs to come to the table and work on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Emerging talks over a proposed immigration bill began in the Senate among members of the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the panel’s chairman, and Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC).

Any compromise bill would have its best chance of passing after the November election, according to Kerri Talbot, deputy director of immigrant advocacy group Immigration Hub.

“I have more hope during the lame duck that we can have a more productive bipartisan discussion,” Talbot told reporters on a call Wednesday.

Titus on semiconductors

The House this week approved supply chain legislation introduced by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) by a vote of 414 to 19, with all but nine Republicans voting against the bill.

The bill would create a task force to report on semiconductor supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and develop strategies to increase supply of elements, critical compounds and products. The group would also monitor potential threats to semiconductor supply chains. A shortage of semiconductors – a crucial element in the manufacture of cars and consumer electronics such as smartphones – has exposed the country’s vulnerability to dependence on overseas supply and helped drive up prices related goods.

“Semiconductors are critical to the smooth running of businesses in Las Vegas, including the gaming industry which uses chips in slot machines,” Titus said in a press release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the global semiconductor supply chain network, and these tensions have been further exacerbated by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Frierson confirmed

The Senate voted to confirm the nomination of former Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson for a four-year term as U.S. Attorney in Nevada.

The nomination was approved in a voice vote on Wednesday after Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) lifted his grip on a handful of Department of Justice (DOJ) nominations due to concerns about the DOJ’s handling of four U.S. Marshals.

Frierson is the first black man to hold the position in Nevada. He resigned from his post in the Assembly Thusday.

NASA Conflict

Members of the delegation also took part in a number of hearings this week, including Amodei at an appropriations committee hearing questioning Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on a matter of public parochial lands.

Amodei expressed frustration over Nye County’s dispute with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The space agency, which maintains a facility in Railroad Valley, has asked the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove nearly 23,000 acres of public land from development, including mining.

Nye County has sought “Cooperative Agency” status under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), allowing influence in federal land use planning and management decisions at project level. But NASA denied their request.

“How disrespectful to the whole NEPA process,” said Amodei.

Haaland said she would ask the BLM director to contact Amodei to discuss the matter.

“I believe very strongly that stakeholders deserve to be heard,” Haaland said.

Yucca and water recycling

Lee questioned Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during an appropriations subcommittee hearing about the administration’s emphasis on temporary storage of nuclear waste. Temporary storage would reduce the need for a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain, which — although legally designated, despite state opposition, as a national repository — has not received federal funding since 2010.

Granholm said that since the Department of Energy’s (DOE) consent-based location information request issued in December, about 225 locations have requested the construction of temporary nuclear waste storage facilities. The DOE evaluates the responses.

In a separate hearing, Lee interviewed David Palumbo, assistant commissioner at the Bureau of Reclamation, who assured Lee that the agency would be able to get state grants quickly. The infrastructure law signed into law in November included $450 million for a new grant program to help fund large-scale water recycling projects in the western United States.

“We’re very confident that we now have the right people on board to help turn that money around quickly,” Palumbo said.

His comments come as the water level in Lake Mead falls to historic lows.

Solar tariffs

Finally, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) urged Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to quickly get rid of a petition from California-based Auxin Solar asking for tariffs on solar energy imports. from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Rosen spoke at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Rosen, who opposed the recent extension of solar panel tariffs originally imposed under President Donald Trump, said the new petition had already hurt solar industry projections and threatened more than 6,000 jobs in Nevada.

Raimondo said she had to “conduct a thorough investigation” under the current law, but would act “as quickly as possible, in accordance with the law to carry out this investigation”.

The Commerce Department has until August 29 to issue a preliminary ruling in the case.

For a full look at the measures delegates supported or opposed this week, see The Nevada IndependentCongressional vote tracking and other information below.

SEN. Catherine Cortez Masto

Legislation sponsored:

S.4078 – Fuel Cost Reduction Act 2022

S.4077 – A bill to reauthorize Economic Development Administration programs, and for other purposes.

Co-sponsored legislation:

S.4119 – RECA extension law of 2022

S.4105 – A bill to treat certain liquidations of new motor vehicle inventory as qualified liquidations of LIFO inventory for the purposes of the 1986 Tax Code.

SEN. Jacky Rosen

Legislation sponsored:

S.4086 – Increased Small Business Retirement Choices Act

Co-sponsored legislation:

S.4119 – RECA extension law of 2022


Legislation sponsored:

HR 7636 – Amend Title 40 of the United States Code, to require the general service administrator to procure the most cost effective and energy efficient lighting products throughout their life cycle and that it issues guidelines on the efficacy, effectiveness, and economy of such products, and for other purposes.

HR 7590 – Economic Development and Resilience Promotion Act

Co-sponsored legislation:

HR 7585 – To improve the health of persons belonging to minorities and for other purposes.


Co-sponsored legislation:

HR 7585 – To improve the health of persons belonging to minorities and for other purposes.

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