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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. It also discusses ways in which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491034/
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
The United States has led the international community in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, in an effort to change the government of that country's support of acts of international terrorism, poor human rights record, weapons and missile development and acquisition, role in regional instability, and development of a nuclear program. This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation. It will be updated if and when new legislation is enacted, or, in the case of executive orders, if and when the President takes additional steps to change U.S. policy toward Iran. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491447/
Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries: Issues for Congress
This report begins with a brief overview of the global nuclear power industry, including the possessors of enrichment and reprocessing technology. It then describes the state of the U.S. nuclear industry, particularly its dependence on both international trade and foreign suppliers. The report then reviews the multilateral nuclear nonproliferation mechanisms. It concludes with a detailed summary of U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements, the primary mechanism by which the United States both promotes U.S. nuclear commerce and ensures that such commerce does not contribute to clandestine nuclear weapons programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491065/
Attorney General Nominations Since the Reagan Administration
On November 9, 2014, President Obama announced his intention to nominate U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch to replace Eric H. Holder Jr. as Attorney General (AG). Presidents have nominated a total of 11 individuals, including Lynch, for the position of AG since the beginning of the Reagan Administration in 1981. This report provides a table with information regarding these 11 nominations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490978/
EPA Delays Decision on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to 2015
This report discusses the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that sets the annual minimum use requirements for biofuels in the nation's transportation fuel supply. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491020/
Iran: Interim Nuclear Agreement and Talks on a Comprehensive Accord
This report discusses the nuclear agreement talks between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the "P5+1, which finalized an interim agreement ("Joint Plan of Action," JPA) requiring Iran to freeze many aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some international sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491254/
U.S. Secret Service Protection Mission Funding and Staffing: Fact Sheet
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) has two broad missions, criminal investigations and protection. The protection mission, which is the focus of this fact sheet, covers the President, Vice President, their families, and candidates for those offices, along with the White House and Vice President's residence, through the Service's Uniformed Division. Protective duties also extend to foreign missions in the District of Columbia and to designated individuals, such as the DHS Secretary and visiting foreign dignitaries. This fact sheet provides information on USSS funding and staffing because congressional attention has turned to the USSS and its operations due to several recent incidents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491664/
Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources
This report discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491264/
The Obama Administration's November 2014 Immigration Initiatives: Questions and Answers
On November 20, 2014, President Obama delivered a televised address wherein he broadly described the steps that his administration is taking to "fix" what he has repeatedly described as a "broken immigration system."1 Following the President's address, executive agencies made available intra-agency memoranda and fact sheets detailing specific actions that have already been taken, or will be taken in the future.2 These actions generally involve either border security, the current unlawfully present population, or future legal immigration. This report provides the answers to key legal questions related to the various immigration-related actions announced by the Obama Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491342/
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the March 25, 2014 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491404/
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491532/
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. In doing so, it outlines a brief history of U.S. family-based immigration policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491047/
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
"Section 32" is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has set aside the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through the purchase of surplus commodities and a variety of other activities. This report first describes how the Section 32 account operates by tracing funds flowing into and out of the account. Second, a more detailed discussion is provided for each type of use, including historical policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490981/
Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of the three broad types of discretion that the Executive can be seen to have as to immigration: (1) express delegations of discretionary authority; (2) discretion in enforcement (commonly known as prosecutorial or enforcement discretion); and (3) discretion in interpreting and applying statutes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490953/
Voter Identification Requirements: Background and Legal Issues
Since 2008, more than 30 states have enacted laws relating to voter identification, with several containing photo ID requirements. Several states enacted voter identification laws that have either been struck down by courts or are not yet in effect. A number of bills with voter identification provisions have been introduced in the 113th Congress and one (S. 1945) has received committee consideration. This report examines this type of legislation and the legal issues regarding it. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491351/
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 113th Congress
Immigration reform was an active legislative issue in the first session of the 113th Congress. The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes provisions on border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, legalization of unauthorized aliens, immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, and humanitarian admissions. For its part, the House took a different approach to immigration reform. Rather than considering a single comprehensive bill, the House acted on a set of immigration bills that address border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, and nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. House committees reported or ordered to be reported the following immigration bills: Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417); Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2278); Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772); Agricultural Guestworker (AG) Act (H.R. 1773); and Supplying Knowledge-based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas (SKILLS Visa) Act (H.R. 2131). This report discusses these and other immigration-related issues that received legislative action or have been of significant congressional interest in the 113th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491280/
Aiding, Abetting, and the Like: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2
This report discuses the issues that virtually every federal criminal statute has a hidden feature; helpers and hands-on offenders face the same punishment. This results from 18 U.S.C. 2, which visits the same consequences on anyone who orders or assists in the commission of a federal crime. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491192/
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran. U.S. sanctions have been a major feature of U.S. Iran policy since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, but U.N. and worldwide bilateral sanctions on Iran are a relatively recent (post-2006) development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491611/
Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
Policy makers have recently been considering several legislative options to help finance water infrastructure projects, including projects to build and upgrade wastewater and drinking water treatment systems. This report examines one particular option, a "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act," or WIFIA, program, which Congress included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA). As enacted (P.L. 113-121), the legislation creates a WIFIA pilot program based on provisions in Senate-passed S. 601 with some additions and modifications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491030/
House and Senate Floor and Committee Action to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: 1966 to Present
The report provides vote information on comprehensive Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bills that have been considered in the committees of jurisdiction or on the House or Senate floors since the enactment of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491250/
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491487/
Cybercrime: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 1030 and Related Federal Criminal Laws
This report discusses the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, which is a cyber security law that outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet by shielding them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491537/
Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority
This report provides an overview of federal and state public health laws as they relate to the quarantine and isolation of individuals and a discussion of constitutional issues that may be raised should individual liberties be restricted in a quarantine or isolation situation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462930/
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report focuses on enforcement of federal environmental pollution control requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA); the Clean Water Act (CWA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund); and other statutes for which EPA is the primary federal implementing agency.1 The report provides a brief synopsis of the statutory framework that serves as the basis for pollution control enforcement, including an overview of the key players responsible for correcting violations and maintaining compliance. Implementation and enforcement of pollution control laws are interdependent and carried out by a wide range of actors including federal, state, tribal, and local governments; the regulated entities themselves; the courts; interest groups; and the general public. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462002/
Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues
"This report surveys the various authorities governing immigration detainers, including the standard detainer form (Form I-247) sent by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to other law enforcement agencies. The report also discusses key legal issues raised by immigration detainers, including whether Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) detainer regulations and practices are beyond its statutory authority; whether states and localities are required to comply with immigration detainers; who has custody of aliens subject to detainers; and whether detainer practices violate aliens' constitutional rights. In considering these topics, it is important to note that Form I-247 and DHS's detainer practices have changed several times since 2010, and that decisions on the merits have not yet been issued in many cases challenging the use of detainers in conjunction with the Secure Communities program" (p. 6). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462021/
Drug Enforcement in the United States: History, Policy, and Trends
This report reviews federal domestic drug enforcement. First, it provides a history and background of drug enforcement in the United States including how drugs came under the control of federal justice authorities and how legislation and administrative actions changed domestic drug enforcement. It then provides a brief overview of drug enforcement in the United States and summarizes U.S. drug policy. Finally, the report presents trends in federal drug enforcement and concludes with a discussion of drug enforcement issues going forward. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463078/
Congressional Power to Create Federal Courts: A Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of this often difficult and misunderstood area of law, beginning with a discussion of the various types of federal tribunals. The report continues by noting the rationales for why Congress established the breadth of different courts that exist today and concludes with a discussion of the various factors and relevant issues that limit Congress's discretion in establishing federal courts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463358/
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. It also discusses ways in which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463171/
Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework
This report explains the nature of U.S. authority over offshore areas pursuant to international and domestic law. It also describes the laws, at both the state and federal levels, governing the development of offshore oil and gas and the litigation that has flowed from development under these legal regimes. Also included is an outline of recent changes to the authorities regulating offshore development, as well as a discussion of recent executive action and legislative proposals concerning offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462444/
Unaccompanied Alien Children: Demographics in Brief
This report discusses children coming to the United States who are not accompanied by parents or legal guardians and who lack proper immigration documents has raised complex and competing sets of humanitarian concerns and immigration control issues. This report focuses on the demographics of unaccompanied alien children while they are in removal proceedings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462514/
Energy Policy: 113th Congress Issues
This report discusses the energy policy in the United States that is focused on three major goals: assuring a secure supply of energy, keeping energy costs low, and protecting the environment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463161/
The No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation
This report provides an overview of the operation of the government's watchlists, examine some of the legal issues implicated by challenges to the No Fly list, and describe recent case law on the matter. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462385/
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462256/
Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 113th Congress
This report discusses the legislation in the 113th Congress regarding insurance regulation. Among the insurance regulatory issues addressed by legislation in the 113th Congress are the application of federal orderly liquidation authority to insurers (addressed in H.R. 605); the supervision of some insurers by the Federal Reserve (addressed in H.R. 2140, H.R. 4510, H.R. 5461, S. 2102, and S. 2270); and the licensing of insurance agents and brokers (addressed in S. 534, S. 1926, S. 2244, H.R. 1155/H.R. 1064, and H.R. 4871). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462626/
U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia
This report discusses the United States, and European Union policies with Russia in response to the crisis in Ukraine. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462586/
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visa (SIV) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuance, and considers challenges facing the programs today. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462255/
Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources
This report discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462493/
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462853/
Offices of Inspectors General and Law Enforcement Authority: In Brief
This report identifies the laws and regulations that vest certain offices of inspector general (OIGs) with law enforcement authority, which permits the use of guns and ammunition. This report also describes some of the requirements and expectations of OIGs that have law enforcement authority, and includes some reasons that OIGs have expressed a need for law enforcement authority. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462481/
Asylum and Gang Violence: Legal Overview
This report discusses the basis for asylum in International and U.S. Law. The recent increase in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) apprehended at the border between Mexico and the United States has raised questions about the role that gang-related violence in Central America may play in determining whether such children are eligible for refugee status and asylum. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462856/
Congressional Participation in Article III Courts: Standing to Sue
This report seeks to provide an overview of Congress's ability to participate in litigation before Article III courts. The report is limited to a discussion of Congress's participation in litigation as either a plaintiff (e.g., the party initiating the suit alleging some sort of harm or violation of law) or as a third-party intervener (e.g., a party who is seeking to join litigation already initiated by another plaintiff). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462327/
A Primer on the Reviewability of Agency Delay and Enforcement Discretion
This report discusses the general legal principles applied in determining whether administrative delays are reviewable in court in these two different contexts and then address whether the procedures outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) are applicable to these delays. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462102/
The Take Care Clause and Executive Discretion in the Enforcement of Law
This report addresses the President's general obligation to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." The report then discusses the limited role the judicial branch has traditionally adopted in reviewing discretionary enforcement decisions, including the decision to initiate a criminal prosecution or an administrative enforcement action. The report concludes with a discussion of Congress's authority to restrict executive discretion in the enforcement of federal law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461965/
The Doctrine of Constitutional Avoidance: A Legal Overview
This report discusses select issues regarding judicial review, and offers some contemporary views on the Ashwander Doctrine, under which the Supreme Court avoids ruling decisively in cases that it deems able to be resolved outside of the court, non-constitutionally (Constitutional Avoidance). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462944/
Special Immigrant Juveniles: In Brief
This report provides a brief explanation of the statutory basis of special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status and how it has evolved. It also presents statistics on the number of children who have applied for and received SIJ status since FY2005. The report concludes with a discussion of the applicability of SIJ status for unaccompanied alien children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462914/
Can Body Worn Cameras Serve as a Deterrent to Police Misconduct?
This report discusses various issues regarding body worn cameras (BWCs), including the potential merits, concerns, and financial costs of use. The report also briefly states a possible method for allotting federal funds to help law enforcement agencies purchase BWCs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462415/
Bills of Attainder: The Constitutional Implications of Congress Legislating Narrowly
This report discusses congressional bills of attainder, defined by the Supreme Court as "law[s] that legislatively determine guilt and inflict punishment upon an identifiable individual without provision of the protections of a judicial trial." The report specifically examines the two main criteria courts use to determine whether legislation is a bill of attainder: specificity and punishment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462919/
The "Militarization" of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense's "1033 Program
This report discusses the response of SWAT teams to extraordinary cases that has raised questions about the so called "militarization" of law enforcement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491646/
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses the recent development regarding the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. It provides background information on Iranian nuclear program and debates the November 24 Joint Plan of Action Elements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463077/
Securities Fraud Class Action Certification: Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc.
This report discusses requirements for securities fraud class action certification. The report also specifically examines each of the decisions made in the Halliburton cases, which proceeded through two complete rounds in federal district court, court of appeals, and the Supreme Court. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462069/
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