Congressional Research Service Reports - 84 Matching Results

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European Union Enlargement

Description: The European Union (EU) has long viewed the enlargement process as an extraordinary opportunity to promote political stability and economic prosperity in Europe. U.S. Administrations and many Members of Congress have long backed EU enlargement, believing that it serves U.S. interests by advancing democracy and economic prosperity throughout the European continent. Some U.S. officials are concerned that "enlargement fatigue" as well as the EU's ongoing financial crisis could hinder EU expansion. The status of EU enlargement and its implications for both the EU itself and U.S.-EU relations may be of interest to the second session of the 112th Congress.
Date: April 4, 2012
Creator: Archick, Kristin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law

Description: Crime is ordinarily proscribed, tried, and punished according to the laws of the place where it occurs. American criminal law applies beyond the geographical confines of the United States, however, under certain limited circumstances. A surprising number of federal criminal statutes have extraterritorial application, but prosecutions have been few. This may be because when extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction does exist, practical and legal complications, and sometimes diplomatic considerations, may counsel against its exercise.
Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iran Sanctions

Description: The objective of sanctions-to compel Iran to verifiably demonstrate that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful uses-has not been achieved to date. The international coalition that is imposing progressively strict economic sanctions on Iran is broadening and deepening, with increasingly significant effect on Iran's economy. U.S. officials believe that these sanctions might yet cause Iran to return to the nuclear bargaining table with greater seriousness and intent toward peaceful resolution. The report discusses the effect of these sanctions as well as the pros and cons of increasing sanction.
Date: March 28, 2012
Creator: Kenneth Katzman
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Latin America: Terrorism Issues

Description: U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. Over the past several years, policymakers have been concerned about Iran's increasing activities in Latin America, particularly its relations with Venezuela, although there has been disagreement over the extent and significance of Iran's relations with the region. In the 112th Congress, several initiatives have been introduced related to terrorism issues in the Western Hemisphere regarding Mexico, Venezuela, and the activities of Iran and Hezbollah, and several oversight hearings have been held.
Date: March 2, 2012
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2012 Budget and Appropriations

Description: This report analyzes the FY2012 request and congressional action related to FY2012 State- Foreign Operations legislation. This report focuses on only the accounts funded through the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill, but provides appropriations figures for the entire international affairs (Function 150) budget in Appendix E.
Date: January 6, 2012
Creator: Epstein, Susan B. & Lawson, Marian Leonardo
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Western Sahara

Description: This report discusses how Morocco and the independence-seeking Popular Front for the Liberation of Saqiat al Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario) have been vying for control of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory, since the 1970s. The report discusses recent settlement attempts, as well as how the Western Sahara issue has affected Algerian-Moroccan bilaterial relations, Moroccan relations with the African Union, and regional cooperation on economic and security issues. The report also discusses the United States' involvement in and stance on the issue.
Date: April 5, 2012
Creator: Arieff, Alexis
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iran Sanctions

Description: This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain.
Date: March 6, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iran Sanctions

Description: The objective of sanctions may be on its way to achievement but has not been accomplished to date. U.S. officials believe that these sanctions caused Iran to return to the nuclear bargaining table in April 2012 with greater seriousness and intent toward peaceful resolution. Despite the imposition of what many now consider to be "crippling" sanctions, some in Congress believe that economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran needs to increase further and faster. In the 112th Congress, legislation would enhance both the economic sanctions and human rights-related provisions of a previous Iran sanctions laws However, movement on new sanctions might be on hold pending the outcome of a second round of nuclear talks slated for May 23 in Baghdad.
Date: April 26, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Burma's Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions

Description: The installation of the Union Government in 2011 and the undertaking of initial reforms have raised the prospects for the resumption of a democratically elected civilian government in Burma after five decades of military rule. The release of Burma's political prisoners has a central role in U.S. policy and Burma's political future. Many of the U.S. sanctions on Burma were implemented after Burma's ruling military junta suppressed protests and detained many political prisoners. In addition, the removal of many of the existing U.S. sanctions requires the release of all political prisoners in Burma.
Date: April 24, 2012
Creator: Martin, Michael F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress

Description: This report explores current foreign policy issues confronting U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, the interrelationship among existing polices, and the historical and current role of Congress in such efforts. The 112th Congress has introduced and taken action on several bills related to human trafficking. Given recent challenges in balancing budget priorities, the 112th Congress may choose to consider certain aspects of this issue further, including the effectiveness of international anti-trafficking projects, interagency coordination mechanisms, and the monitoring and enforcement of anti-trafficking regulations, particularly as they relate to the activities of U.S. government contractors and subcontractors operating overseas.
Date: April 20, 2012
Creator: Wyler, Liana Sun
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union

Description: Congress passed the Nunn-Lugar amendment, authorizing U.S. threat reduction assistance to the former Soviet Union, in November 1991, after a failed coup in Moscow and the disintegration of the Soviet Union raised concerns about the safety and security of Soviet nuclear weapons. It has evolved from an emergency response to impending chaos in the Soviet Union, to a more comprehensive threat reduction and nonproliferation effort, to a broader program seeking to keep nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons from leaking out of the former Soviet Union and into the hands of rogue nations or terrorist groups, to a global program to address the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Analysts have debated numerous issues related to U.S. nonproliferation and threat reduction assistance. These include questions about the coordination of and priority given to these programs in the U.S. government, questions about Russia's willingness to provide the United States with access to its weapons facilities, questions about the President's ability to waive certification requirements so that the programs can go forward, and questions about the need to expand the efforts into a global program that receives funding from numerous nations and possibly extends assistance to others outside the former Soviet Union.
Date: March 6, 2012
Creator: Woolf, Amy F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Interplay of Borders, Turf, Cyberspace, and Jurisdiction: Issues Confronting U.S. Law Enforcement

Description: Globalization and technological innovation have fostered the expansion of both legitimate and criminal operations across physical borders as well as throughout cyberspace. U.S. law enforcement has increasingly relied on intelligence-led policing, enhanced interagency cooperation, and technological implementation to confront 21st century crime. Issues for Congress are how it can leverage its legislative and oversight roles to bolster U.S. law enforcement's abilities to confront modern-day crime. It may also examine whether federal law enforcement is utilizing existing mechanisms to effectively coordinate investigations and share information.
Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA): What Is It, and How Has It Been Utilized?

Description: The deadly attacks on Afghan civilians allegedly by a U.S. service member have raised questions regarding the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in place between the United States and Afghanistan that would govern whether Afghan law would apply in this circumstance. In the case of Afghanistan, the SOFA, in force since 2003, provides that U.S. Department of Defense military and civilian personnel are to be accorded status equivalent to that of U.S. Embassy administrative and technical staff under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations of 1961. Accordingly, U.S. personnel are immune from criminal prosecution by Afghan authorities and are immune from civil and administrative jurisdiction except with respect to acts performed outside the course of their duties. Under the existing SOFA, the United States would have jurisdiction over the prosecution of the service member who allegedly attacked the Afghan civilians.
Date: March 15, 2012
Creator: Mason, Chuck R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Russia's March 2012 Presidential Election: Outcome and Implications

Description: Challenges to Russia's democratic development have long been of concern to Congress as it has considered the course of U.S.-Russia cooperation. Some in Congress have criticized the conduct of the election, but have endorsed continued engagement, while others have called for stepping back and reevaluating the Obama Administration's engagement policy which assists in solving mutual strategic concerns. Congress may consider the implications of another Putin presidency, lagging democratization, and human rights abuses in Russia as it debates possible future foreign assistance and trade legislation and other aspects of U.S.-Russia relations.
Date: March 14, 2012
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues

Description: During discussions about the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, Congress reviewed and discussed the plans for maintaining and modernizing U.S. strategic nuclear forces. Although the United States plans to reduce the number of warheads deployed on its long-range missiles and bombers, consistent with the terms of the New START Treaty, it also plans to develop new delivery systems for deployment over the next 20-30 years. As a result, the 112th Congress will continue to review these programs during the annual authorization and appropriations process.
Date: February 22, 2012
Creator: Woolf, Amy F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: Background and Key Issues

Description: The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a new agreement for combating intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement. The ACTA negotiation concluded in October 2010, nearly three years after it began, and negotiating parties released a final text of the agreement in May 2011. Negotiated by the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union and its 27 member states, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and Switzerland, the ACTA is intended to build on the IPR protection and enforcement obligations set forth in the 1995 World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).
Date: March 1, 2012
Creator: Ilias, Shayerah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress

Description: This report synthesizes immigration issues as a multi-tiered debate. It breaks down the U.S. immigration law and policy into key elements: border control and visa security; legal immigration; documentation and verification; interior immigration enforcement; integration, status, and benefits; and refugees and other humanitarian populations. This report also delineates the debate in the 112th Congress for a range of issues, including border security, criminal aliens, and worksite enforcement.
Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department