Check back with us as we keep track of House and Senate immigration legislation and immigration reform legislation, as bills are introduced, move through committee, and onto the floor.
Status: Passed House
Passed 06/07/2017 by a 282-137 vote. The bill would fast-track hiring and grow Trump’s deportation force by weakening Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hiring standards. This would eliminate critical polygraph requirements that are widely used in federal law enforcement. Eliminating these requirement will make it much easier for Trump to hire the additional 5000 agents he has requested in his Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request. This is on top of the existing 21,000 agents already authorized by Congress. This bill was scheduled for a floor vote on May 16, 2017, but was postponed; the Senate version (the Boots on the Border Act) was passed out of committee on the same day. Read more here.
Passed House on June 29, 2017. The vote was 224-195, with 3 Dem voting yes and 7 Republicans voting no. The bill:
- Strips law enforcement funding from state/localities.
- The bill prohibits localities from declining to comply with ICE detainer requests.
- Mandates the detention of new classes of immigrants with no chance for bond or parole and expands the government’s ability to indefinitely detain immigrants.
House H.R. 3004: Kate’s Law (introduced June 2017 by Rep. Goodlatte) [ANTI-IMMIGRANT]
Passed House on June 29, 2017. The vote was 257-167, with 1 GOP “no” vote and 24 Democrats voting yes. The bill:
- Expands the government’s ability to prosecute illegal re-entry cases and heightens the penalties in these cases.
- Does not include adequate protections for people who reenter the U.S. for humanitarian reasons or who seek protection at the border.
- Gives prosecutors more power to shove even more individuals into the prison pipeline by making the re-entry law overly broad, at a time when more than half of all federal criminal prosecutions are for illegal entry and reentry.
- The bill also limits certain legal challenges against removal orders, limiting the ability of immigrants to challenge their removal.
Status: Approaching Vote
Status: Out of Committee
A bill that would fast-track hiring and grow Trump’s deportation force by weakening Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hiring standards. This would eliminate critical polygraph requirements that are widely used in federal law enforcement. Eliminating these requirement will make it much easier for Trump to hire the additional 500 agents he has requested in his Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request. This is on top of the existing 21,000 agents already authorized by Congress. The bill was passed out of the Homeland Security Committee on May 16, 2017 by a 9-3 vote. A House version (H.R. 2213) was scheduled for a floor vote the same day but was postponed. Read more here.
Passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 15-11 on June 28, 2017. The bill would set a 50,000-person annual cap on refugee resettlement, taking away the president’s discretion to set the cap each fiscal year. In addition, the legislation would give state and local governments the power to refuse refugee resettlement in their communities.
House H.R. 2406: “To amend section 442 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and for other purposes.” (introduced May 2017 by Rep. Goodlatte) [ANTI-IMMIGRANT]
House H.R. 2407: “To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and for other purposes.” (introduced May 2017 by Rep. Goodlatte) [ANTI-IMMIGRANT]
These three bills were passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on May 23, 2017. They would facilitate mass deportations, give Trump more resources to deport immigrants, and make it easier to do so. They would:
- Criminalize all undocumented immigrants living in the US
- Requires mandatory detention for children seeking asylum in the US
- Require Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers to have access to not just standard-issue handguns and stun guns, but also M-4 rifles or equivalents.
- Add 10,000 officers focused on deportation, 2,500 in detention, and 60 trial attorneys.
- Authorize officers to make arrests without a warrant if they had reasonable grounds to believe the person had committed a felony, and would allow ICE to arrest people for civil offenses without a warrant, even if they are not considered “likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained,” which is the case under current law.
- Codify the president’s new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or VOICE, office, which frames all immigrants as being criminals.
- Restrict lawmakers’ ability to influence individual immigration cases by barring “preferential treatment” or sharing information with elected officials and stakeholders on individual cases.
- Authorize E-Verify, the program for employers to check whether their employees are eligible to work in the U.S. The program would be crippling to the US agricultural industry and the farm workers who work in it.
- Authorize state and local law enforcement to get more involved in detention and deportation efforts. The bill is broadly aimed at combating so-called sanctuary city policies restricting local law enforcement cooperation with ICE, which the Trump administration has promised to eliminate.
Status: Scheduled for Markup
The bill would severely undermine access to asylum in the United States and reduce critical protections for children under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). The bill would lead to the deportation of legitimate refugees with well-founded fears of persecution, leave others in immigration detention for months, and put children at risk of return to trafficking, death, and persecution in their home countries. Various provisions would deny asylum to refugees even if they are credible and have well-founded fears of persecution. Scheduled for markup June 28, 2017.
Senate: Dream Act (introduced July 2017 by Sens. Durbin, Graham) [PRO-IMMIGRANT]
House: American Hope Act (introduced July 2017 by Rep. Gutierrez) [PRO-IMMIGRANT]
A bill to protect DACA beneficiaries and Dreamers from deportation.
A bill to create a “blue card” that would protect farm workers from deportation and put them on a pathway to legalization and citizenship. Employees must have worked a minimum of 100 days over the past two years to qualify for temporary residency. To qualify for permanent residency, they would need to work for an additional three to five years in the agriculture industry. Read more here, here, and here.
House H.R. 1469: Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act (introduced March 2017 by Reps. Curbelo, Coffman, Diaz-Balart, Ros-Lehtinen, Amodei, Valadao, González-Colón, Upton, Reichert) [PRO-IMMIGRANT]
RAC would grant conditional legal permanent status to immigrants who have arrived before the age of 16, have been in the United States since January 1, 2012, have graduated high school, and have either been accepted into college or vocational school, applies to enlist in the military, or works with an existing valid work authorization. The conditional status will be cancelled if they become dependent on government, are dishonorably discharged from the military, or are unemployed for more than a year. The conditional status would become permanent after 5 years if they graduate from college or vocational school, are honorably discharged from the military or has served for 3 years, or have been employed for at least 48 months.
The “Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream of Growing Our Economy” (BRIDGE Act, S. 128/H.R. 496) is a bipartisan piece of legislation which would allow DACA recipients and those eligible for DACA to apply for “provisional protected presence” and work authorization for a renewable three-year period. The bill would also impose restrictions on the sharing of information in DACA and provisional protected presence applications with ICE and CBP for purposes of immigration enforcement. The Bridge Act does not offer a pathway to citizenship, but it does allow Dreamers the ability to work and participate in American society without fear of deportation. Read more here.
A bill that would slash legal immigration levels and eliminate multiple categories of family-based legal immigration and diversity visas. The bill would cap refugee admissions at 50,000, thereby reducing the admission of refugees. The bill would eliminate 85% of family-based immigrants and overall cut legal immigration 50%. Read more here.
Would authorize the border wall and 10,000 new Customs and Border Protection Agents.
House H.R. 2459: (introduced May 2017 by Rep. King) [ANTI-IMMIGRANT]
To require a threat assessment regarding the exploitation by transnational criminal organizations of the unaccompanied alien children services program within the United States, and for other purposes.
A bill that would mandate E-Verify for all employers, require federal contractors and agencies to use the program immediately, and increase penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers. Read more about E-Verify here.
Border bill (by Rep. McCaul) [ANTI-IMMIGRANT]
The bill is rumored to expand the use of mandatory detention, especially for immigrants detained within 100 miles of a border. One of the bill’s more draconian provisions deals with children who arrive at the border without a parent or guardian. To keep track of an unaccompanied minor aged 15-17, the child’s sponsors, typically family members, would be required to wear an ankle bracelet while the child remained in removal proceedings.
The draft legislation would provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection with numerous upgrades for infrastructure and technology, but no “big, beautiful” border wall. The draft measure would replace 71 miles of border fence, mostly with “bollard-style” fence (i.e., posts that allow agents to see through to the other side). The draft bill would also build 30 miles of “levee wall” in the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector and six miles of new “vehicle” fence (i.e., fencing meant primarily to deter cars and trucks) in the Big Bend sector. Read more here and here.