Immigration

Senator Feinstein for many years has been at the forefront of the fight to fix America’s failed immigration policies. She has been a staunch advocate for a farmworker protection program as well as for passage of the Dream Act and protections for immigrant children.

Opposing President Trump’s radical agenda

  • Rescinding President Trump’s Travel Bans, 2017: Senator Feinstein has come out in fierce opposition to all three of President Trump’s executive orders halting the U.S. refugee program and suspending the admission of certain immigrants. Senator Feinstein introduced S. 274 to rescind the first executive order, and introduced S. 608 to rescind the revised executive order. Most recently, Senator Feinstein became an original cosponsor of Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) “A bill to block the implementation of certain presidential actions that restrict individuals form certain countries from entering the United States” (S. 1979), which would block President Trump’s third executive order by declaring it illegal.
  • Opposing the Sentiment of President Trump’s Travel Bans, 2017: Senator Feinstein cosponsored S.Res.56 introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on February 7, 2017, which expresses the sense of the Senate that the U.S. should continue to welcome refugees and asylum seekers and that no person should be banned from entering the U.S. on a basis of their nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender.
  • Joined Congressional Briefs Opposing Travel Bans, 2017: Senator Feinstein joined amicus briefs challenging President Trump’s executive order halting the refugee program and suspending travel from Muslim-majority countries in cases before the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, and the Supreme Court.

Leading the fight to protect farmworkers

  • Agricultural Worker Protection Program, 2017: On May 3, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced the Agricultural Worker Program Act to provide immigrant farmworkers with protection from deportation and a path to earned legal status and eventual citizenship. Farmworkers who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in the two years leading up to the bill’s passage can earn a “blue card,” which would provide farmworkers with temporary legal status.
  • Farmworker protections in immigration reform bill, 2013: In 2013, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that included a strong agricultural worker immigration program. The language that she negotiated with Democrats and Republicans, with significant input from the farmworker community, created a new Blue Card program offering a path to citizenship for current undocumented farmworkers as well as two new agricultural visa programs (W-2 and W-3) to ensure an adequate, future agricultural workforce. The bill was blocked by Republicans in the House.

Protections for immigrant children

  • Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, 2000-2008: Senator Feinstein championed critical protections to ensure that unaccompanied immigrant children who arrive on the U.S. border are treated fairly and humanely. In 2000 she first introduced the Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act, portions of which were subsequently incorporated and passed into law in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296). As a result of Senator Feinstein’s efforts, Congress transferred authority over the care and custody of unaccompanied immigrant children from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. In 2007, Senator Feinstein again introduced the bill, which was incorporated into the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and became law (Public Law 110-457). The bill required family reunification whenever possible, provided pro bono legal representation for children at no expense to the government and required additional training of Department of Homeland Security personnel and other government officials who come into contact with unaccompanied children.

Key immigration issues and votes

  • Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, 2016: Senator Feinstein voted against the “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act” (S. 3100) when it came before the Senate for a vote (7/6/16). This bill would have revoked certain federal funds from so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions.”
  • Kate’s Law, 2016: Senator Feinstein voted against “Kate’s Law” (S. 2193) when it came before the Senate for a vote (7/6/16). This bill would increase the maximum prison term to five years, for an undocumented immigrant who reenters after being denied admission, excluded, and deported, or removed. Additionally, the maximum prison term for undocumented immigrants who reenter after being denied admission, excluded, deported, or removed, three or more times, would be 10 years. “Kate’s Law” also would have created a mandatory five-year minimum prison sentence for undocumented immigrants who reenter after being removed following a conviction for an aggravated felony or following two or more prior convictions for illegal reentry.
  • American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, 2016: Senator Feinstein voted against the “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act” (H.R. 4038) when it came before the Senate for a vote (1/20/16). This bill would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to certify to the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence that they have conducted an investigation to determine whether an alien applying for refugee status is a security threat.
  • Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, 2013: Senator Feinstein voted in support of the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act” (S. 744) when it came before the Senate for a vote (6/27/13). This bill was comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included provisions on interior enforcement, border security, employment eligibility verification, worksite enforcement, legalization of undocumented immigrants, immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas and humanitarian admissions.
  • Violence Against Women Act, 2013: Senator Feinstein voted in support of the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013” (S. 47) when it came before the Senate for a vote (2/28/13). This bill included important immigration protections for non-citizen women and children.
  • Dream Act, 2010: Senator Feinstein voted in support of cloture on the “Dream Act” (S. 3963) (12/18/10). This bill would provide a path to legal status to undocumented persons who were 16 years or younger when they first arrived in the U.S., have lived in the country five years prior to enactment, and have satisfied certain higher education, among other criteria.
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, 2007: Senator Feinstein voted in support of the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act” (S. 1348) when it came before the Senate for a vote (6/7/07). This bill was comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included provisions on border security, interior enforcement, backlog reduction, student visas, labor certification, and immigration personnel. There were also provisions on the Board of Immigration Appeals, noncitizen Armed Forces membership, surveillance programs, parole and status adjustment, and automatic citizenship.
  • Dream Act, 2007: Senator Feinstein voted in support of cloture on the “Dream Act” (S. 2205) (10/24/07). This bill would provide a path to legal status to undocumented persons who were 16 years or younger when they first arrived in the U.S., have lived in the country five years prior to enactment, and have satisfied certain higher education, among other criteria.
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, 2006: Senator Feinstein voted in support of the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act” (S. 2611) when it came before the Senate for a vote (5/25/06). This bill was comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included provisions on border security, interior enforcement, unlawful employment of aliens, nonimmigrant and immigrant visa reform, backlog reduction, agricultural workers, citizenship assistance for members of the armed services, and family humanitarian relief.
  • Violence Against Women Act, 1994: Senator Feinstein voted in support of the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,” which incorporated the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. This law provided an opportunity for abused immigrants to self-petition for lawful permanent resident status separate from their abusers.

Private bills (2017)

Senator Feinstein has regularly used private bills in extraordinary cases to protect families from deportation. She has introduced the second-highest number of private bills in Senate history.
  • Arreola Private Relief Bill, 2017: On March 3, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a bill for private relief bill for Esidronio Arreola-Saucedo, Maria Elena Cobian Arreola, Nayely Arreola Carlos, and Cindy Jael Arreola (S. 558).
  • Constantino Tan Private Relief Bill, 2017: On March 7, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a private relief bill for Shirley Constantino Tan (S. 555).
  • Gabra and Kamel Private Relief Bill, 2017: On March 7, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a private relief bill for Joseph Gabra and Sharon Kamel (S. 556).
  • Martinez Private Relief Bill, 2017: On March 7, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a private relief bill for Jose Alberto Martinez Moreno, Micaela Lopez Martinez, and Adilene Martinez (S. 557).
  • Gutierrez and Gonzalez Private Relief Bill, 2017: On March 7, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a private relief bill for Jorge Rojas Gutierrez and Olivia Gonzalez (S. 560).
  • Aranda De Buendia Private Relief Bill, 2017: On March 7, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a private relief bill for Alicia Aranda De Buendia (S. 561).
  • Mkoian Private Relief Bill, 2017: On March 7, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a private relief bill for Ruben Mkoian, Asmik Karapetian, and Arthur Mkoian (S. 562).
  • Sanchez Private Relief Bill, 2017: In 2017, Maria and Eusebio Sanchez were told that they were no longer eligible for a stay of removal and should prepare for deportation. Maria and Eusebio Sanchez had been residents of Oakland for 23 years. They have four children, Vianney, Melin, Elizabeth, and Jesus, that they provide for. In 2014, Senator Feinstein helped ensure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would grant them a stay of removal. In 2017, the Trump Administration notified the family that they were ineligible for another stay. Senator Feinstein intervened to try to prevent their deportation, but the Department of Homeland Security denied their request. Maria and Eusebio Sanchez were deported back to Mexico on August 16th. On September 5, 2017, Senator Feinstein introduced a private relief bill on the behalf of Maria, Eusebio, and Vianney Sanchez (S. 1763), and also filed the bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill would allow Maria and Eusebio to return from Mexico, and would provide Maria, Eusebio, and Vianney with green cards.