The House of Representatives will vote on two broad immigration proposals on Thursday, neither of which are likely to pass. Below is a summary of the first of two proposals.
Securing America’s Future Act
Introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, the formally titled Securing America’s Future Act takes a hardline position on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), border security, and cutting legal immigration.
On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced the end of the DACA program, an Obama era executive order that provided certain benefits to some individuals who illegally came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday. To learn more about the DACA program please click here. Under this Act, individuals who received deferred action will get a 3-year renewable legal status allowing them to work and travel overseas (without advanced parole). There is no special path to a green card, although recipients may make use of existing paths to green cards. No gang members or those with criminal convictions for serious crimes are eligible. There will also be strong anti-fraud measures.
Border security has been in the news lately. This Act would authorize a wall to be constructed along the Mexico border, with additional technology, roads, and other tactical infrastructure to secure the southern border. 10,000 Border Patrol Agents and CBP officers along with the National Guard will be added to provide ground, aviation, and intelligence support. A biometric entry-exist system (fingerprinting) will be fully implemented at all air, land, and sea ports of entry.
Several legal immigration methods will be terminated including the Diversity Visa. Family immigration, or “Chain Migration” as the administration has pejoratively named it, will be limited only to spouses and minor children. A renewable temporary visa will be created for parents of citizens to unite families that does not lead to a green card. These methods will see immigration levels decrease about 25% a year.
Green cards for skilled workers will be increased from about 120,000 a year to 175,000 a year, an increase of 45%. An agriculture guest worker program will be created to increase the economy. ICE agents will be sent overseas to high risk embassies to vet visitors and immigrants.
The “credible fear” standards for asylum claims will be tightened to root out frivolous claims and penalties for fraud will be increased. Individuals who have applied for asylum but voluntarily returns home will have their applications automatically terminated.
The Act also introduces national, interior methods to prevent future illegal immigration. All employers have to e-verify potential employees. E-verify is a Department of Homeland Security website that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees, both U.S. citizens or foreign citizens, to work in the U.S. With this, employers must check that they are only hiring legal workers.
The government will crack down on Sanctuary Cities, authorizing the Department of Justice to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities and allows victims to sure the cities that released their attackers. This will facilitate co-operation with local law enforcement. Furthermore, dangerous criminals will be held by the Department of Homeland Security, while enhanced criminal penalties for deported criminals that return to the country will be created. Overstayed visas leading to illegal presence will become a federal misdemeanor, something that has already been implemented for students and exchange visitors.
Unaccompanied minors, children whose parents are apprehended at the border for illegal crossings, will be safely and quickly returned to their parents and the Act will allow minors to be detained with their parents.
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