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ICE views Secure Communities as an efficient way to carry out the agency's mandate to identify aliens who have been convicted of crimes and to make the removal of these criminal aliens an enforcement priority. The program has generated controversy, however, because some aliens identified and removed through Secure Communities have not been convicted of "serious" crimes or any criminal offense and because of concerns that state and local involvement in enforcing federal immigration law could lead to racial profiling or strain police-community relations.

Under the g program, state and local law enforcement agencies may enter into agreements with ICE to allow state and local law enforcement officials to receive ICE training and to perform certain immigration enforcement activities under ICE supervision. Some g programs "jail screening" programs allow local law enforcement officials to conduct migration screening as persons are being booked into prisons or jails. Other g programs "task force" programs allow them to conduct migration screening during the course of their regular police work outside of the booking process.

Legislation related to Secure Communities and the g program has been introduced in the th Congress. In line with efforts to expand Secure Communities, several bills would deny funding for various Department of Justice programs, including the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program discussed below , to jurisdictions that do not participate fully in Secure Communities.

Congress also may address proposed changes to Secure Communities and g funding through the appropriations process. For example, the Senate-reported S. In recent years, several states and localities have sought to deter the presence of unauthorized aliens within their jurisdictions through a variety of enforcement measures, with Arizona's S. The Supreme Court recently held in Arizona v.

United States that some aspects of S. Given the unsettled state of the law in this area, particularly prior to the Court's recent decision in Arizona , some legislation introduced in the th Congress would purport to recognize that state and local officers have "inherent authority" to enforce federal immigration law, 81 or conversely, would establish that state and local officers may only enforce federal immigration law pursuant to a written agreement authorized under Section g of the INA. The Obama Administration has observed that ICE does not have the funding or capacity to deport every potentially removable alien identified by DHS, especially with the increased number of such aliens identified through Secure Communities.

In March and June , ICE published a pair of updated agency guidance memoranda governing the use of prosecutorial discretion during immigration enforcement to ensure that removal resources go to high-priority cases. Some Members of Congress object to the Administration's prosecutorial discretion policies and have argued that for the Administration explicitly to identify certain types of cases that may be closed amounts to an "administrative amnesty"; others describe prosecutorial discretion as a critical tool to prevent misallocation of agency resources.

The INA includes provisions to assist foreign national victims of domestic abuse. They afford benefits to abused foreign nationals and allow them to self-petition for LPR status independently of their U.

Immigration Reform

This title created the nonimmigrant U visa for foreign national victims of certain crimes—including domestic abuse—who assist law enforcement. A second VAWA reauthorization in added protections and expanded eligibility for abused aliens. Program authorizations in VAWA expired in The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported S. The bill would require DHS to conduct additional background checks of U. It would prohibit international marriage brokers from marketing information about foreign nationals under age 18 and would clearly define penalties for doing so.

It also would extend VAWA coverage to derivative children whose self-petitioning parent died during the petition process. In addition, the bill would include "stalking" in the definition of criminal activity covered under the U visa. It would exempt VAWA self-petitioners, U visa petitioners, and battered foreign nationals from being classified as inadmissible for LPR status if their financial circumstances raised concerns about their potentially becoming public charges.

However, H. Petition adjudication would be stayed until pending investigations or prosecutions of abusive conduct alleged by the petitioning alien were concluded. Likewise, the bill would require USCIS to consider previous applications for immigration benefits and their outcomes. The bill would maintain the current annual allocation of U visas at 10, and restrict circumstances under which U visa petitions could be certified by law enforcement. Two sets of concerns for Congress may arise regarding the immigration provisions of the VAWA reauthorization legislation.

The first is whether the proposed legislation provides sufficient relief to foreign nationals who are abused by their U. Advocates for battered immigrants suggest that additional provisions are needed to assist this population obtain legal and economic footing. Others have expressed concern over the extent to which these provisions may expand eligibility and incur costs to U.

The second concern centers on alleged immigration fraud perpetrated through VAWA and the extent to which the reported legislation should address this issue. While some suggest that VAWA provides opportunities for dishonest and enterprising immigrants to circumvent U. It is an international and a domestic crime to engage in trafficking in persons TIP for the purposes of exploitation.

TIP involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards. The current program authorizations expired at the end of FY Domestically, TVPA and its subsequent reauthorizations 91 created two nonimmigrant visa categories: the T visa for victims of severe forms of trafficking and, as discussed above, the U visa for victims of certain specified crimes. Both H. In addition, both bills would make several changes to the INA related to the custody and care of unaccompanied alien children.

The Senate bill would further specify that children who receive U status and are in the custody of HHS are eligible for programs and services to the same extent as refugees. There is currently one immigrant visa category specifically for foreign investors LPR investors coming to the United States. LPR investors comprise the fifth preference category under the employment-based immigration system in the INA, and this immigrant visa is commonly referred to as the EB-5 visa. Employment-based LPR investor visas are designated for individuals wishing to develop a new commercial enterprise in the United States.

In , a pilot program was authorized under the EB-5 visa category to achieve the economic activity and job creation goals of that category by encouraging investment in economic units known as Regional Centers. The majority of EB-5 immigrant investors come through the pilot program. In addition, there are bills in the th Congress that would amend the requirements for EB-5 visas 98 or create a new, sixth employment-based preference EB-6 for sponsored alien entrepreneurs. Special immigrants comprise the fourth preference category under the employment-based immigration system in the INA.

Ministers of religion and religious workers make up the largest number of special immigrants. Religious work is currently defined as habitual employment in an occupation that is primarily related to a traditional religious function and that is recognized as a religious occupation within the denomination.

While the INA provision for the admission of ministers of religion is permanent, the provision admitting religious workers has always had a sunset date. There is interest in Congress in promoting international tourism to the United States. Section of the act requires the Secretary of State to "implement the necessary steps" e. Under current law, an in-person interview by a consular officer is required for visa applicants age 14 through 79 years, with few exceptions. An interview may be waived if the alien is applying for a new visa within 12 months of the old visa's expiration and certain other conditions are met.

In addition, there have been two hearings related to promoting tourism to the United States. During the hearing, there were discussions of S. Among other provisions, the Jolt Act would allow premium processing for B visas and lower the fees charged in select countries during periods of low demand for B visas. As with other bills introduced in this Congress, S. The bill would also require that the Secretary of State conduct a pilot program for processing B visas using videoconferencing technology to conduct interviews of the applicants, and work with other federal agencies to ensure the security of the videoconferencing transmissions.

Under current law, there is one program that provides for the admission of foreign temporary agricultural workers to the United States: the H-2A nonimmigrant visa program. This program allows for the temporary admission of foreign workers to the United States to perform agricultural labor or services of a seasonal or temporary nature, provided that U. An approved H-2A visa petition is generally valid for an initial period of up to one year. An employer can apply to extend an H-2A worker's stay in increments of up to one year, but an alien's total period of stay as an H-2A worker may not exceed three consecutive years.

The Obama Administration issued new final rules on the H-2A program in An employer who wants to import H-2A workers must first apply to DOL for a certification that 1 there are not sufficient U. Prospective H-2A employers must attempt to recruit U. In addition, under the "50 percent rule," H-2A employers are required to hire any qualified U. H-2A employers must pay their H-2A workers and similarly employed U. Unlike the H-2A visa, the H-2C visa would not be limited to agricultural labor of a temporary or seasonal nature and could be used to bring in workers to perform non-seasonal agricultural work.

An H-2C worker's continuous period of stay would be limited to 10 months, and the program would be capped at , annually. The new program would be administered by USDA and would not be subject to the same labor certification process as the H-2A visa. Instead, prospective H-2C employers would attest in their applications that they had satisfied applicable recruitment, wage, and benefit requirements, which would differ from those under the H-2A visa.

With respect to wages, the H-2C visa would not be subject to the adverse effect wage rate; H-2C employers would be required to pay the higher of the prevailing wage rate or the applicable minimum wage rate. Other bills would establish different new foreign agriculture worker programs or would amend the existing H-2A program. Unauthorized alien students are a subpopulation of the larger unauthorized alien population in the United States. Legislation commonly referred to as the "DREAM Act" whether or not a particular bill carries that name has been introduced in the past several Congresses to provide unauthorized alien students with access to both educational opportunities and immigration status.

In the first stage, aliens meeting specified criteria could go through an immigration procedure known as "cancellation of removal" to obtain a conditional legal status. In the second stage, aliens, after meeting additional requirements, could apply to become full-fledged LPRs.

Enforcing U.S. Immigration Laws: A Top Priority for the Trump Administration

DREAM Act bills have once again been introduced in the th Congress, both as stand-alone measures and as parts of larger bills. This deferred action process, however, would not grant eligible individuals a legal immigration status. Over the past decade or so, concern about illegal immigration has led some legislators to reexamine the long-established tenet of U.

This concept of birthright citizenship is codified in the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. The war on terror and the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U. In the th Congress, some Members have supported introducing legislation that would revise or reinterpret the Citizenship Clause to address concerns that 1 children born to unauthorized aliens become an avenue to legal status for their parents and siblings when they turn 21 years old, and 2 affluent pregnant foreigners come to the United States on tourist visas to give birth to their children and thus provide them with U.

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the th Congress - Digital Library

Armed Forces. Furthermore, some state legislators have voiced support for state legislation that would define state citizenship as excluding persons born to undocumented aliens and for a state compact under which states would issue a different type of birth certificate to such persons. State legislators from Arizona and 13 other states unveiled model legislation in January , intending to set the stage for a U. Supreme Court review of the Citizenship Clause. Title VII of P. Among other provisions, P. It aimed, in particular, to provide federal regulation and oversight of the admission of foreign workers to the CNMI, including by establishing a CNMI-only transitional worker visa.

Aliens who were not eligible for the transitional foreign worker visas were able to remain in the CNMI on entry permits issued under the former territorial immigration laws until the earlier of the original permit expiration date or November 28, In the th Congress, H. For example, some have U. Other long-term foreign residents were granted permanent resident status in the CNMI under former territorial immigration laws, but this status will no longer be valid under federal immigration law after November 28, As reported, H.

Parole would be granted on a case-by-case, discretionary basis and would permit recipients to stay lawfully in the CNMI. If parole is denied, unlawful presence would accrue after the expiration of the CNMI permit on November 27, A grant of parole based on an application filed after January 31, , would be valid from the date of grant, so unlawful presence would accrue after the expiration of the CNMI permit on November 27, , until the date for the grant of parole.

The maximum grant would be until December 31, In the meantime, discussions about H. The th Congress is taking renewed interest in foreign temporary workers engaged in professional occupations. As discussed above, one issue focuses on whether Congress should revise the immigration law to expand temporary visas for professional specialty occupations, particularly for graduates with degrees in STEM fields. Another issue is whether other temporary visa categories, such as those designated for foreign study, cultural exchange, and intracompany transfers, are being misused by employers unable to obtain numerically limited professional workers visas.

A corollary to these two issues is whether the wages and working conditions of U. Since , Congress has enacted a range of measures to facilitate naturalization and maintenance of LPR status for military service members and their families, particularly when such persons are posted abroad. In the th Congress, several bills have been introduced to address additional issues that have resulted from military service.

One of these bills H. The new law extends the time to qualify for non-conditional LPR status to account for military service.

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In order to have the condition removed, both spouses must jointly satisfy certain requirements during specified periods, including appearing together at a personal interview with DHS. Armed Forces and serving abroad in active-duty status. Although DHS had discretion to waive the requirements in certain circumstances before the new law, it obviates the need for discretionary waivers by tolling the time periods.

In addition, the enactment of P. Current law prohibits charging the applicants fees for such applications. There are two classes of nonimmigrant visas for investors: the E-1 visa for treaty traders and the E-2 visa for treaty investors.

Israelis have been eligible to enter under the E-1 visa category since The treaty allowed E-1 status but did not grant E-2 status. The most common nonimmigrant visa for foreign students is the F visa. This visa is for international students pursuing an education at an "established college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in an accredited language training program.

Under certain circumstances, the Secretary of Homeland Security would be able to waive the accreditation requirement. In addition, H. Furthermore, the bill would prohibit persons convicted of certain offenses—such as alien smuggling, visa fraud, and human trafficking—from being involved in a position of ownership, authority, or management with an institution allowed to accept F students. The visa waiver program VWP allows nationals from certain countries to enter the United States as temporary visitors nonimmigrants for business or pleasure without first obtaining a visa from a U.

The INA specifies the criteria that a country must meet to be designated as a VWP country, including offering reciprocal privileges to U. Countries can be terminated from the VWP if an emergency occurs that threatens U. The bill would also create a probationary period and procedures for terminating a country's participation in the VWP if that country failed to comply with any of the program's requirements. Foreign medical graduates FMGs may enter the United States on J-1 nonimmigrant visas in order to receive graduate medical education and training.

Such FMGs must return to their home countries after completing their education or training for at least two years before they can apply for certain other nonimmigrant visas or LPR status, unless they are granted a waiver of the foreign residency requirement. Established by a law, this program initially applied to aliens who acquired J status before June 1, The Conrad State Program has been extended several times, most recently by P. The H-2B visa allows for the temporary admission of foreign workers to the United States to perform temporary nonagricultural labor or service if unemployed U.

H-2B employers are required to pay workers the highest of the prevailing wage rate or the federal, state, or local minimum wage. In January , DOL issued a final rule to change the methodology for determining prevailing wage rates for the H-2B program. Congress has blocked its implementation through a series of enactments. Currently, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, P.

In response, DOL announced that it was postponing the effective date of the new wage methodology until March 27, Biometric data include fingerprints and digital photographs, and may be used to confirm an individual's identity against previously recorded biometric data i. Seghetti and [author name scrubbed]. See, for example, U. With some exceptions, all non-U.

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Also see S. Testimony of U. Borkowski, U. See U. Section of P. For a fuller discussion of immigration enforcement on federal lands and other issues related to federal lands, see CRS Report R, Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data , by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed]. DHS defined the border as being under effective control if the border patrol could detect, respond, and interdict cross-border illegal activity.

Act of June 27, , ch. The INA is the basis of current immigration law. While E-Verify is primarily a voluntary program, there are some mandatory participants. However, Whiting should not be construed to mean that all state and local E-Verify measures are permissible. See, for example, Louisiana Assoc.

Contractors, Inc. Jindal, No.

Bipartisan Measures Urge Use of a Temporary Worker Program to Admit Irish Immigrants

City of Springfield, No. See, for example, Lozano v. City of Hazleton, F. United States v. Illinois, No. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens , by [author name scrubbed]. Habeas corpus review is a legal action through which a person's detention is reviewed for legality. The INA stipulates a floor of , for the four family-sponsored preference categories. The numerical limit for the five employment-based preference categories is , However, there are circumstances when the employment based per-country limits may be exceeded.

Many of the comprehensive immigration reform bills since would have increased the total number of employment-based immigrants. Some would have revised the employment-based preference categories. A merit-based point system was also considered. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions. For further discussion, see U. Universities with Advanced Science Degrees? Other related Senate bills include S.

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Immigration Policy on Temporary Admissions , by [author name scrubbed], p. The Refugee Act P. For additional information on the U. See, for example, Refugee Protection Act of H. For a fuller discussion of these and other interior enforcement programs see CRS Report R, Interior Immigration Enforcement: Programs Targeting Criminal Aliens , by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed]. Arizona v. United States, S. Specifically, the Court struck down those provisions of S. See, for example, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v.

Governor of Alabama, F. Alabama, F. Governor of Georgia, F. South Carolina, No. City of Indianapolis, F. See, for example, H. The th Congress has, however, taken legislative action on some immigration-related measures. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, P. Legislation has also been enacted on military service-based immigration benefits P. In addition, the House and Senate have each passed other immigration-related legislation.

Both houses have passed different bills H. The House has passed bills that would reform permanent employment-based and family-based admissions H.