Immigration

Summary

Illegal immigration has become one of the most powerful issues in the US. Congressional representatives and candidates are in office that represent both extremes, ranging from those that want all illegal aliens granted full and immediate citizenship to those who want to enforce US immigration laws. Recent immigration laws in the US involve seven pieces of legislation.

  • Simpson-Mazzoli
  • Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996
  • The DREAM Act
  • The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Acts of 2005 and 2006
  • The Secure Fence Act
  • The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 

This page first addresses the number of illegal aliens present in the US, remittances sent to Mexico, sanctuary cities, and birthright citizenship. All these topics are frequently commented on by candidates or representatives, and the information here is meant to provide a small basis to place those comments in context.

The writeup then covers several major pieces of legislation relevant to immigration. Although electronic voting records are not available for the time in which it passed, the 1986 Simpson-Mizzoli legislation is discussed as it has had massive effect on immigration in the US. The legislation granted amnesty to all illegal aliens present in the US in exchange for future enforcement of immigration laws.

The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act is then addressed and the enforcement and punishment provisions it placed on immigration are highlighted. 

After the 1996 legislation, the primary immigration related legislation has involved attempts to pass the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would grant amnesty to any person who meets a set criteria. That criteria has slightly evolved throughout time, and all major attempts to pass the bill are detailed. The main focus of each version of the bill sets the criteria for receiving citizenship is being present in the US before the age of 16, having earned a diploma or GED, and attending or planning to attend an institution of higher learning. Major attempts were made to pass the legislation separately in 2007 and 2010, and the bill was enrolled in some versions of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform policies.

Two major attempts were made in 2005-2006 and 2007 to pass what is called Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In 2005 the House passed a version that consisted entirely of enforcement provisions. In 2006, the Senate passed a version that consisted almost entirely of mechanisms to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. The conference committee could not agree on a unified version before the end of the session. In the new session in 2007, Congress made an attempt to pass a version that contained both amnesty provisions from the previous Senate version and law enforcement provisions from the previous House version. In the end, the measure was not brought up for a vote in the Senate.

In 2010, the state of Arizona enacted legislation that would allow state law enforcement officials to ascertain the immigration status of people whom they have already come into lawful contact with. It also allows officers to stop vehicles that they believe are smuggling people.

 

Legislation

 

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 Official Summary Bill Text
The DREAM Act of 2007 Official Summary Bill Text
The DREAM Act of 2009 Official Summary Bill Text
Secure Fence Act of 2006 Official Summary Bill Text
Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 Official Summary Bill Text

 

Outline

This writeup covers the number of illegal aliens in the US, discusses the policy of sanctuary cities, and then addresses the relevant legislation, and the various versions of the DREAM Act, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform Acts.

Display_Outline

 

Number of Illegal Aliens

It is not possible to determine the exact number of illegal immigrants in the US. Every organization that tracks this number has an incentive to make the number appear larger or smaller than reality. The Pew Hispanic Research center has tracked the number of illegal immigrants in the US and places the 2010 number at 11.2 million. This is taken as a low end estimate. The highest estimate for 2010 would place the number of illegal aliens at over 30 million (10% of the US population).  A normal high end estimate placed the total number of illegal aliens in the US at 12 million in 2000 and illegal aliens entering the country at a rate of 700,000 people a year. That estimate places the number at a more generally accepted level of 19-20 million people.

 

Remittances

A remittance is money a legal or illegal immigrant earns in the US and then sends back to their native country to assist their family or save for future use. It is money that leaves the US economy after that money is earned in the US. A Banco de Mexico study found that the amount of remittances solely to Mexico grew from $3.6 billion in 1995 to $20 billion in 2005.

 

Sanctuary Cities

Sanctuary city policies are discussed often by politicians and candidates. "Sanctuary city" is a term given to a city in the United States that follows certain practices that protect illegal immigrants. These practices can be by law (de jure) or they can be by habit (de facto). The term generally applies to cities that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about one's immigration status. The designation has no legal meaning. (Text from wiki)

Sanctuary city policies began in 1979 when Los Angeles initiated "Special Order 40." Special order 40 states that "Officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person. Officers shall not arrest nor book persons for violation of title 8, section 1325 of the United States Immigration code (Illegal Entry)."

No less than 30 US cities have policies preventing workers from inquiring about a person's immigration status. These cities include: New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Santa Ana; San Diego; San Jose; Salt Lake City; Dallas; Houston; Austin; Detroit; Jersey City; Minneapolis; Miami; Denver; Baltimore; Seattle; Portland; New Haven; Somerville, Cambridge and Portland, Maine.

 

Birthright Citizenship

The phrase "birthright citizenship" refers to the practice of granting citizenship to anyone born within the territorial boundaries of the US. Supporters of this practice claim that the 14th amendment was intended to be interpreted in this manner. Opponents claim the original intent of the 14th amendment was not to apply to aliens living in the US illegally.

The 14th amendment

In the wake of the Dred Scott decision which found that black slaves could not be considered citizens, Congress passed the Civil Rights act of 1866. Congress passed the 14th amendment, in part, to give the law Constitutional backing. Section one of the amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Original Intent

A great deal of debate is currently ongoing addressing the original intent of the 14th amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The main focus concerns what is meant by the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof." The arguments in Congress discussing the meaning of the phrase and its application to Native American Tribes, Chinese immigrants in California, and other areas are shown below.

Alternate Version - Foreign Power

In January of 1866, an alternate version of the 14th amendment was proposed. The alternate version proposed replaced the phrase "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States" with the phrase "All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States."

This change in language prompted a discussion in which some Senators asked if the new version would allow the children of "gypsies" and other people which we now consider to be illegal aliens would be granted citizenship. The agreed conclusion would be that it would indeed do this. This discussion is important for three reasons.

  1. Given that the alternate wording would provide that people born illegally would receive citizenship implies that the version which was eventually instituted does not grant citizenship to illegal aliens
  2. Within the discussion, the Senators describe exactly why birthright citizenship should not be granted. They note that doing so would invite an invasion by population from the Chinese or other nations that could simply move to the US and then have children who could manipulate the political process
  3. This discussion is often used as justification that the 14th amendment does indeed grant citizenship to illegal aliens, without noting that the discuss covers an proposed alternate version

Mr. Trumball: No action having been taken upon the amendment, I desire to withdraw it and to offer another in lieu of it to the same purport, changing the phraseology. In the third line of the first section, after the word "that," I move to insert these words 

"All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States, without the distinction of color and."

...

Mr Cowan: I will ask wehter it will not have the effect of naturalizing the children of Chinese and Gypsies born in this country?

Mr Trumball: Undoubtedly.

Mr Cowan: Then I think it would be proper to hear the Senators from California on that question, because that population is now becoming very heavy upon the Pacific Coast; and when we consider that it is in proximity to an empire containing four hundred million people, very much given to emigrating, very rapacious in their character, and very astute in their deailings, if they are to be made citizens and to enjoy political power in California, then sir, the day may not be very far distant when California, instead of belonging to the Indo-Eurpoean race, may belong to the Mongolian, may belong to the Chinese; because it certainly would not be difficult for that empire with her resources, and with the means she has, to throw a population upon California and the mining districts of that country that would overwhelm our race and wrest from them the domination of that country. 

Alternate Version - Native Americans

On May 30, 1866 Senator Howard of Michigan spoke about the citizenship clause of the 14th amendment. Senator Howard was the author of the citizenship clause, and states that it would not apply to aliens. In response to these statements, Senator Doolittle speaks about an alternate version which would specifically eliminate citizenship for Native Americans. Senator Howard then argues against the change to the 14th amendment by stating it is not necessary to specifically state that the amendment does not apply to Native Americans as they are not regarded as falling under ht e jurisdiction of the United States. Senator Cowan then discusses his views on citizenship.

Mr Howard: The first amendment to section one declaring that "all persons persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

I do not propose to say anything on that subject except to state that the question of citizenship has been so fully discussed in this body as not to need any further elacidation, in my opinion. This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.

This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.

It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country. 

Mr. Doolittle: I presume the honorable Senator from Michigan does not intend by this amendment to include the Indians. I move, therefore, to amend the amendment - I presume he will have no objection to it - by inserting after the word "thereof" the words "excluding Indians not taxed." The amendment would then read:

All persons born in the United States, and subject to all jurisdiction thereof, excluding Indians not taxed, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside.

Mr Howard: I hope the amendment to the amendment will not be adopted. Indians born within the limits of the United States, and who maintain their tribal relations, are not, in the sense of the amendment, born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. They are regarded, and always have been in our legislation and jurisprudence, as being foreign nationals.

Mr. Cowan: The honorable Senator from Michigan has given this subject, I have no doubt, a good deal of his attention, and I am really desirous to have a legal definition of "citizen of the United States." What does it mean? What is it's length and breadth? I would be glad if the honorable Senator in good earnest would would favor us with some such definition. Is the child of a Chinese immigrant in California a citizen? Is the child born to a Gypsy in Pennsylvania a citizen? If so, what rights have they? Have they any more rights than a sojourner in the United States? If a traveler comes here from Ethiopia, from Australia, or from Great Britain, he is entitled, to a certain extent, to the protection of the laws. You cannot murder him with impunity. It is murder to kill him, the same as it is to kill another man. You cannot commit an assault and battery on him, I apprehend. He has a right to the protection of the laws; but is not a citizen in the ordinary acceptation of the word. 

It is perfectly clear that the mere fact that a man is born in the country has not heretofore entitled a him to the right to exercise political power, He is not entitled, by virtue of that, to be an elector. An electoris one who is chosen by the people to perform that function, just the same as an officer is one chosen by the people to perform that function, just the same as an officer is one chosen by the people to exercise the franchises of an office. Now I should like to know, because really I have been puzzled for a long while and have been unable to determine exactly, wither from conversation with those who ought to know, who have given this subject their attention, or from the decisions of the Supreme Court, the lines and boundaries which circumscribe that phrase, "citizen of the United States." What is it?

So far as the courts and the administration of the laws are concerned, I have supposed that every human being within their jurisdiction was on one sense of the word a citizen, that is, a person entitled to protection; but in so far as the right to hold property, particularly the right to acquire title to real estate, was concerned, that was a subject entirely within the control of the States.

 

1983 Amnesty - Simpson-Mazzoli

In response to growing public demand to stop illegal immigration into the US, Congress passed and President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This legislation is more commonly known by the two prime sponsors as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. The legislation was seen as a compromise between those seeking amnesty for illegal aliens and those seeking to enforce US immigration laws. Essentially, the legislation granted amnesty to all illegal aliens present in the US in exchange for the agreement that illegal immigration would be stopped at that point with penalties on employers.

The legislation is arranged in seven parts. The four main parts are the control of illegal immigration, legalization of aliens in the US, reform of legal immigration, and federal assistance to states to pay for the costs of illegal immigration.

Control of Illegal Immigration

The Simpson-Mazzoli act made it illegal to hire or refer to hire someone in the US that is a known unauthorized alien. It also makes it illegal to continue to employ, or employ through contract, someone that the employer has discovered is not in the US legally.

To enforce this rule, the legislation establishes an employment verification system in which the employer must attest under penalty of perjury that he has examined the documentation provided by the employee and that it reasonable appears to be genuine. 

The legislation establishes three categories of employment. The first is documents establishing both employment authorization and identity, and includes in those a United States passport, a certificate of United States citizenship, a certificate of naturalization, an unexpired foreign passport, or a resident alien card or other alien registration card.  The second category is documents evidencing employment authorization and includes a social security account number card, a certificate of birth in the United States or establishing United States nationality at birth, or other documentation evidencing authorization of employment in the United States. The third category notes documents that establish the identity of individuals as a driver's license or similar document issued for the purpose of identification by a State, or documentation of personal identity of such other type as the Attorney General finds, by regulation, provides a reliable means of identification.

The legislation also requires the individual to attest, under penalty of perjury on the same form as the employer that the individual is a citizen or national of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or an alien who is authorized under this Act or by the Attorney General to be hired, recruited, or referred for such employment.

If a person or entity  engages in a pattern or practice of violations, they shall be fined not more than $3,000 for each unauthorized alien with respect to whom such a violation occurs, imprisoned for not more than six months for the enitre pattern or practice, or both, notwithstanding the provisions of any other Federal law relating to fine levels.

The legislation increases funds for border patrol, makes it illegal to discriminate against someone for employment on the basis of race, and creates penalties for people who smuggle immigrants.

As part of this section, it is expressed that the sense of congress is that the immigration laws of the United States should be enforced vigorously and uniformly, and in the enforcement of such laws, the Attorney General shall take due and deliberate actions necessary to safeguard the constitutional rights, personal safety, and human dignity of United States citizens and aliens.

Legalization

The legislation established steps for illegal aliens to be granted temporary residence and then progress to permanent residence status. To be granted temporary residence, the alien must apply within a year and must have resided in the country since 1982 and remain in the country after the program is enacted. The alien must also not have been convicted of  any felony or of three or more misdemeanors committed in the United States, and not assisted in the persecution of any person or persons on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. To receive permanent legal residence status, the alien must apply within a year of the enactment of the legislation and must have good basic citizenship skills.

 

Reform of Legal Immigration

This legislation creates the H-2A visa for aliens to perform agricultural labor or services  of a temporary or seasonal nature. It allows the employer to provide housing for the employee provided it is adequate.

Allows the alien on the H-2A visa to apply for temporary residence status, and then has their status changed to lawful permanent residence. To avoid deportation, the alien must prove that they performed 90 days of seasonal agricultural labor in the year they obtained the temporary status. To become a citizen, they must remain in the country 5 years and perform 90 days of seasonal agricultural labor in the year they apply for adjustment of their status.

 

Official Summary

SUMMARY AS OF: 10/14/1986--Conference report filed in House. 

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Title I: Control of Illegal Immigration

Part A: Employment - Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to make it unlawful for a person or other entity to: (1) hire (including through subcontractors), recruit, or refer for a fee for U.S. employment any alien knowing that such person is unauthorized to work, or any person without verifying his or her work status; or (2) continue to employ an alien knowing of such person's unauthorized work status.

Makes verification compliance (including the use of State employment agency documentation) an affirmative defense to any hiring or referral violation.

Establishes an employment verification system. Requires: (1) the employer to attest, on a form developed by the Attorney General, that the employee's work status has been verified by examination of a passport, birth certificate, social security card, alien documentation papers, or other proof; (2) the worker to similarly attest that he or she is a U.S. citizen or national, or authorized alien; and (3) the employer to keep such records for three years in the case of referral or recruitment, or the later of three years or one year after employment termination in the case of hiring.

States that nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize a national identity card or system.

Directs the President to monitor and evaluate the verification system and implement changes as necessary within 60 days after notifying the appropriate congressional committees (within two years for a major change). Prohibits implementation of a major change unless the Congress provides funds for such purpose. Authorizes related demonstration projects of up to three years.

Limits the use of such verification system or any required identification document to enforcing this Act and not for other law enforcement purposes.

Directs the Attorney General to establish complaint and investigation procedures which shall provide for: (1) individuals and entities to file written, signed complaints regarding potential hiring violations; (2) INS investigations of complaints with substantial probability of validity; (3) Department of Justice-initiated investigations; and (4) designation of a specific INS unit to prosecute such violations.

Sets forth employer sanction provisions. Provides for a six-month period of public education during which no employment violation penalties shall be imposed.

Provides for a subsequent 12-month period during which violators shall be issued warning citations. Defers enforcement for seasonal agricultural services.

Provides, at the end of such citation period, for graduated first and subsequent-offense civil penalties, injunctive remedies, or criminal penalties (for pattern or practice violations). Subjects violators to graduated civil penalties for related paperwork violations.

Directs the Attorney General to provide notice and, upon request, an administrative hearing in the case of a disputed penalty. States that: (1) judicial review of a final administrative penalty shall be in the U.S. court of appeals; and (2) suits to collect unpaid penalties shall be filed in U.S. district courts.

Makes it unlawful for an employer to require an employee to provide any type of financial guarantee or indemnity against any potential employment liability. Subjects violators, after notice and hearing opportunity, to a civil penalty for each violation and the return of any such amounts received.

States that such employer sanction provisions preempt State and local laws.

Requires the General Accounting Office (GAO) to submit to the Congress and to a specially created task force three annual reports regarding the operation of the employer sanction program, including a determination of whether a pattern of national origin discrimination has resulted. States that if the GAO report makes such a determination: (1) the task force shall so report to the Congress; and (2) the House and the Senate shall hold hearings within 60 days.

Terminates employer sanctions 30 days after receipt of the last GAO report if: (1) GAO finds a widespread pattern of discrimination has resulted from the employer sanctions; and (2) the Congress enacts a joint resolution within such 30-day period approving such findings.

Amends the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act to subject farm labor contractors to the requirements of this Act, beginning seven months after enactment.

Directs the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to conduct a study of the use of a telephone system to verify the employment status of job applicants. Requires related congressional reports.

Directs the Comptroller General to: (1) investigate ways to reduce counterfeiting of social security account number cards; and (2) report to the appropriate congressional committees within one year.

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Social Security Administration and in cooperation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Labor, to: (1) conduct a study of the feasibility of establishing a social security number validation system; and (2) report to the appropriate congressional committees within two years.

Makes it an unfair immigration-related employment practice for an employer of three or more persons to discriminate against any individual (other than an unauthorized alien) with respect to hiring, recruitment, firing, or referral for fee, because of such individual's origin or citizenship (or intended citizenship) status. States that it is not an unfair immigration-related employment practice to hire a U.S. citizen or national over an equally qualified alien.

Requires that complaints of violations of an immigration-related employment practice be filed with the Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (established by this Act) within the Department of Justice. Prohibits the overlap of immigration-related discrimination complaints and discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Authorizes the Special Counsel to: (1) investigate complaints and determine (within 120 days) whether to bring such complaints before a specially trained administrative law judge; and (2) initiate investigations and complaints. Permits private actions if the Special Counsel does not file a complaint within such 120-day period. Sets forth related administrative provisions.

Makes it illegal to fraudulently misuse or manufacture entry or work documents.

Part B: Improvement of Enforcement and Services - States that essential elements of the immigration control and reform program established by this Act are increased enforcement and administrative activities of the Border Patrol, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and other appropriate Federal agencies.

Authorizes increased FY 1987 and 1988 appropriations for: (1) INS; and (2) the Executive Office of Immigration Review. Obligates increased funding in FY 1987 and 1988 for the border patrol.

Directs the Attorney General, from funds appropriated to the Department of Justice for INS, to provide for improved immigration and naturalization services and for enhanced community outreach and in-service personnel training.

Authorizes additional appropriations for wage and hour enforcement.

Revises the criminal penalties for the unlawful transportation of unauthorized aliens into the United States.

Authorizes a $35,000,000 immigration emergency fund to be established in the Treasury for necessary enforcement activities and related State and local reimbursements.

Permits the owner or operator of a railroad line, international bridge, or toll road to request the Attorney General to inspect and approve measures taken to prevent aliens from illegally crossing into the United States. States that such approved measures shall be prima facie evidence of compliance with obligations under such Act to prevent illegal entries.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the immigration laws of the United States should be vigorously enforced, while taking care to protect the rights and safety of U.S. citizens and aliens.

Requires INS to have an owner's consent or a warrant before entering a farm or outdoor operations to interrogate persons to determine if undocumented aliens are present.

Prohibits the adjustment of status to permanent resident for violators of (nonimmigrant) visa terms.

Title II: Legalization - Directs the Attorney General to adjust to temporary resident status those aliens who: (1) apply within 18 months; (2) establish that they entered the United States before January 1, 1982, and have resided here continuously in an unlawful status (including Cuban/Haitian entrants) since such date; and (3) are otherwise admissible.

Authorizes similar status adjustment for specified aliens who entered legally as nonimmigrants but whose period of authorized stay ended before January 1, 1982. (States that in the case of exchange visitors the two-year foreign residence requirement must have been met or waived.)

Prohibits the legalization of persons: (1) convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors in the United States; or (2) who have taken part in political, religious, or racial persecution. Requires an alien applying for temporary resident status to register under the Military Selective Service Act, if such Act so requires.

Directs the Attorney General to adjust the status of temporary resident aliens to permanent resident if the alien: (1) applies during the one-year period beginning with the 19th month following the grant of temporary resident status; (2) has established continuous residence in the United States since the grant of temporary resident status; (3) is otherwise admissible and has not been convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors committed in the United States; and (4) either meets the minimum requirements for an understanding of English and a knowledge of American history and government, or demonstrates the satisfactory pursuit of a course of study in these subjects. (Authorizes an exemption from such language and history requirement for individuals 65 years of age or older.)

Specifies circumstances in which the Attorney General may terminate an alien's temporary resident status. Permits travel abroad and employment during such period.

Authorizes the filing of status adjustment applications with the Attorney General or designated voluntary or governmental agencies. Directs the Attorney General to work with such agencies to: (1) disseminate program information; and (2) process aliens. Provides for the confidential treatment of application records. Establishes criminal penalties (fines, imprisonment, or both) for: (1) violations of such confidentiality; and (2) false application statements. Provides for application fees.

Waives numerical limitations, labor certification, and other specified entry violations for such aliens. Permits the Attorney General to waive other grounds for exclusion (except criminal, most drug-related, and security grounds) to assure family unity or when otherwise in the national interest.

Requires the Attorney General to provide an alien otherwise eligible but unregistered who is apprehended before the end of the application period, an opportunity to apply for the legalization program before deportation or exclusion proceedings are begun. States that such alien shall be authorized to work in the United States pending disposition of the case.

Provides for administrative and judicial review of a determination respecting an application for adjustment of status under this Act.

Makes legalized aliens (other than Cuban/Haitian entrants) ineligible for Federal financial assistance, Medicaid (with certain exceptions), or food stamps for five years following a grant of temporary resident status and for five years following a grant of permanent resident status (permits aid to the aged, blind, or disabled). States that programs authorized under the National School Lunch Act, the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, the Vocational Education Act of 1963, chapter 1 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981, the Headstart-Follow Through Act, the Job Training Partnership Act, title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Public Health Service Act, and titles V, XVI, and XX of the Social Security Act shall not be construed as prohibited assistance. Continues assistance to aliens under the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 without regard to adjustment of status.

Requires the Attorney General to disseminate information regarding the legalization program.

Establishes procedures for the status adjustment to permanent resident of certain Cuban and Haitian entrants who arrived in the United States before January 1, 1982.

Updates from June 30, 1948, to January 1, 1972, the registry date for permanent entry admissions records.

Authorizes FY 1988 through 1991 appropriations for State legalization impact assistance grants. Permits States to spend unused funds through FY 1994. Prohibits offsets for Medicaid and supplemental security income costs. Bases State amounts on the number of legalized aliens and related expenditures. Permits States to use such funds to reimburse public assistance, health, and education costs. Limits reimbursement to actual costs.

Title III: Reform of Legal Immigration - Part A: Temporary Agricultural Workers - Separates temporary agricultural labor from other temporary labor for purposes of nonimmigrant (H-2A visa) worker provisions.

Requires an employer H-2A visa petition to certify that: (1) there are not enough local U.S. workers for the job; and (2) similarly employed U.S. workers' wages and working conditions will not be adversely affected. Authorizes the Secretary of Labor to charge application fees.

Prohibits the Secretary from approving such petition if: (1) the job is open because of a strike or lock-out; (2) the employer violated temporary worker admissions terms; (3) in a case where such workers are not covered by State workers' compensation laws, the employer has not provided equivalent protection at no cost to such workers; or (4) the employer has not made regional recruitment efforts in the traditional or expected labor supply.

Provides with regard to agricultural worker applications that: (1) the Secretary may not require such an application to be filed more than 60 days before needed; (2) the employer shall be notified in writing within seven days if the application requires perfecting; (3) the Secretary shall approve an acceptable application not later than 20 days before needed; and (4) the employer shall provide or secure housing meeting appropriate Federal, State, or local standards, including making provision for family housing for employees principally engaged in the range production of livestock.

Provides that for three years, labor certifications for specified employers shall require such an employer to hire qualified U.S. workers who apply until the end of 50 percent of the H-2A workers' contract work period. Requires the Secretary, six months before the end of such period, to consider the advisability of continuing such requirement and to issue regulations (in the absence of enacting legislation) three months before the end of such period.

States that employers shall not be liable for specified employment penalties if H-2A workers are dismissed in order to meet such 50 percent requirement.

Permits agricultural producer associations to file H-2A petitions.

Provides for expedited administrative appeals of denied certifications.

Prohibits the entry of an alien as an H-2A worker if he or she has violated a term of admission within the previous five years.

Authorizes permanent appropriations beginning with FY 1987 for the purposes of: (1) recruiting domestic workers for temporary labor and services which might otherwise be performed by nonimmigrants and agricultural transition workers; and (2) monitoring terms and conditions under which such individuals are employed.

Authorizes permanent appropriations beginning in FY 1987 to enable the Secretary to make determinations and certifications.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the President should establish an advisory commission to consult with Mexico and other appropriate countries and advise the Attorney General regarding the temporary worker program.

Establishes a special agricultural worker adjustment program. Provides for permanent resident adjustment for aliens who: (1) apply during a specified 18-month period; (2) have performed at least 90 man-days of seasonal agricultural work during the 12-month period ending May 1, 1986; and (3) are admissible as immigrants. Sets forth adjustment dates based upon periods of work performed in the United States. Authorizes travel and employment during such temporary residence period.

Authorizes applications to be made inside the United States with the Attorney General or designated entities and outside the United States through consular offices. Provides for confidentiality and limited access to such information. Establishes criminal penalties for false application information, and makes an alien so convicted inadmissible for U.S. entry.

Exempts such admissions from numerical entry limitations.

Permits waiver of exclusion (except for specified criminal, drug offense, public charge, Nazi persecution, and national security grounds) for humanitarian or family purposes, or when in the national interest.

Provides for a temporary stay of exclusion or deportation (and authority to work) for apprehended aliens who are able to establish a nonfrivolous claim for status adjustment.

Provides for a single level of administrative appellate review of such status adjustment applications. Limits such review of the order of exclusion or deportation.

Defines "seasonal agricultural services" as the performance of field work related to growing fruits and vegetables of every kind and other perishable commodities as defined in regulations by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Directs the Secretaries of Agriculture and of Labor, jointly before each fiscal year (beginning in FY 1990 and ending in FY 1993) to determine whether additional special agricultural workers should be admitted because of a shortage of such workers in the United States. Sets forth factors to be considered in making such determinations.

Authorizes associations and groups of employers to request additional admissions due to emergency or unforeseen circumstances. Authorizes groups of special agricultural workers to request decreased admissions due to worker oversupply. Requires the Secretaries to make request determinations within 21 days.

Sets forth numerical limitations for such admissions beginning with FY 1990.

Provides for the deportation of newly admitted special agricultural workers who do not perform 60 man-days of seasonal agricultural work in each of the first two years after entry. Prohibits naturalization of such workers unless they have performed 60 man-days of such work in each of five fiscal years.

Treats temporary agricultural workers and special agricultural workers as "eligible legalized aliens" for purposes of Federal assistance to State and local entities for specified costs associated with such workers during their first five years in the United States.

Establishes a 12-member Commission on Agricultural Workers to review the special agricultural worker provisions, the impact of the legalization and employer sanctions on agricultural labor, and other aspects of agricultural labor. Requires a report to the Congress within five years. Authorizes appropriations. Terminates the Commission at the end of the 63-month period beginning with the month after the month of enactment of this Act.

States that specified agricultural workers shall be eligible for legal assistance under the Legal Service Corporation Act.

Part B: Other Changes in the Immigration Law - Increases the annual colonial quota from 600 visas to 5,000 visas.

Includes within the definition of "special immigrant": (1) unmarried sons and daughters and surviving spouses of employees of certain international organizations; and (2) specified retirees of such organizations ("I" status) and their spouses.

Grants nonimmigrant status to: (1) parents of children receiving "I" status while they are minors; and (2) other children of such parents or a surviving "I" status spouse.

Authorizes the three-year pilot visa waiver program for up to eight countries providing similar benefits to U.S. visitors. Requires such visitors to the United States to: (1) have a nonrefundable roundtrip ticket; and (2) stay in the United States for not more than 90 days.

Authorizes an additional 5000 nonpreference visas in each of FY 1987 and 1988 with preference being given to nationals of countries who were adversely affected by Public Law 89-236 (1965 immigration amendments).

Includes the relationship between an illegitimate child and its natural father within the definition of "child" for purposes of status, benefits, or privilege under such Act.

States that for suspension of deportation purposes, an alien shall not be considered to have failed to maintain continuous physical presence in the United States if the absence did not meaningfully interrupt the continuous physical presence.

Prohibits for one year the admission of nonimmigrant alien crew members to perform services during a strike against the employer for whom such aliens intend to work.

Title IV: Reports - Directs the President to transmit to the Congress: (1) not later than January 1, 1989, and not later than January 1 of every third year thereafter, a comprehensive immigration-impact report; and (2) annual reports for three years on unauthorized alien employment and the temporary agricultural worker (H-2A) program.

Directs the Attorney General and the Secretary of State to jointly monitor the visa waiver program established by this Act, and report to the Congress within two years.

Directs the President to submit to the Congress an initial and a second report (three years after the first report) on the impact of the legalization program.

Directs the Attorney General to report to the Congress within 90 days regarding necessary improvements for INS.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the President should consult with the President of Mexico within 90 days regarding the implementation of this Act and its possible effect on the United States or Mexico.

Title V: State Assistance for Incarceration Costs of Illegal Aliens and Certain Cuban Nationals - Directs the Attorney General to reimburse States for the costs incurred in incarcerating certain illegal aliens and Cuban nationals convicted of felonies. Authorizes appropriations.

Title VI: Commission for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development - Establishes a 12-member Commission for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development to examine, in consultation with Mexico and other Western Hemisphere sending countries, conditions which contribute to unauthorized migration to the United States and trade and investment programs to alleviate such conditions. Requires a report to the President and to the Congress within three years. Terminates the Commission upon filing of such report, except that the Commission may function for up to 30 additional days to conclude its affairs.

Title VII: Federal Responsibility for Deportable and Excludable Aliens Convicted of Crimes - Provides for the expeditious deportation of aliens convicted of crimes.

Provides for the identification of Department of Defense facilities that could be made available to incarcerate deportable or excludable aliens. 

 

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, also known as IIRIRA was passed as part of the Omnibus appropriations act. 

Border control, legal entry, and interior enforcement

The first section of the legislation increased the the number of positions for full-time, active-duty border patrol agents within the INS above the number funded for the previous year for years 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. The same increase was done for support personnel by 300 each year. It also funded the building of 14 miles of fence along the border in San Diego. The bill also allowed the use of technology such as aircraft, sensors, and night vision goggles, as well as the use of an ID card that had biometric data embedded into it.

The legislation established a penalty of $50 to $250 for each attempting illegal entry and double that for repeated attempts. If the alien is caught after a high speed chase, they can be subjected to additional fines and up to 5 years in prison.

To increase interior enforcement, the legislation allows the Attorney General to enter into written agreements with state and local law enforcement entities to allow their officers to perform immigration functions. It also requires that INS allocate at least 10 full time agents.

Alien Smuggling and Document Fraud

To fight alien smuggling, the legislation allows wiretapping to conduct alien smuggling investigations, attached a racketeering charge to alien smuggling, increased criminal penalties for smuggling, and increased the number of Attorneys General.

Criminal penalties were also increased for document fraud, with new penalties for the manufacturing and distributing of immigration documents, and for knowingly presenting a false document.

The legislation also makes it a crime for an alien to vote in a federal election for a federal candidate.

Finding and Removing Deportable Aliens

In dealing with illegal aliens present in the US, the legislation finds that any alien who unlawfully overstays their visa or who illegally enters the country is unable to be admitted again for 5 to 20 years, depending on the reasons for their deportment and the number of times they are caught in the country illegally. This legislation also outlines the procedures to be taken to hold an illegal aline in custody to determine whether or not they are to be deported, and the court process the court must go through to accomplish this task. Throughout this process, are numerous places where the alien is released and asked to report back at a later date. There is also a section of illegal aliens who are allowed to self-deport.

Enforcement of Restriction Against Employment

To make it easier for employers to determine the residence status of a potential employee, the government initiates a series of pilot programs under this legislation investigating technology to accomplish this task. Among the items which resulted from this program was the E-verify program. E-verify is an internet based system which allows an employer to check the employees I-9 information.

Restrictions on Benefits for Aliens

The legislation forbids illegal aliens from having work done illegally counted towards their social security status should that person later become a permanent resident or citizen eligible for benefits. It also outlines the responsibility of the federal government to repay the costs of emergency medical treatment for illegal aliens.

 

The DREAM Act

Numerous versions of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act have been introduced since 2001. The act has been attached as an amendment to larger legislation, and voted on separately. While recent versions of the legislation have garnered a large number of cosponsors, it has not been successful in passing both the House and the Senate. The basic purpose of the DREAM Act of to adjust the status of legal and illegal immigrants who are in college or in the military to a temporary legal status. It also allows states to grant legal and illegal immigrants in state tuition rates. 

DREAM Act Attempts
Year Bill Number Title Result
2001 H R 1918 Student Adjustment Act of 2001 Not brought up for a vote
2001 S 1294 DREAM Act Not brought up for a vote
2003 H R 1684 Student Adjustment Act of 2003 Not brought up for a vote
2003 S 1545 DREAM Act of 2003 Not brought up for a vote
2005 S 2075 DREAM Act of 2005 Not brought up for a vote
2006 H R 5131 American Dream Act Not brought up for a vote
2007 H R 1275 American Dream Act Not brought up for a vote
2007 S 2205 DREAM Act of 2007 Failed to pass Senate Filibuster
2007 S 774 DREAM Act of 2007 Not brought up for a vote
2009 S 729 DREAM Act of 2009 Not brought up for a vote
2009 H R 1751 American Dream Act Not brought up for a vote
2010 S 3992 DREAM Act of 2010 Failed to pass Senate Filibuster

 

The Student Adjustment Act of 2001 allowed the Attorney General to alter the immigration status of anyone under the age of 21, was physically present in the US and had been here for at least 5 years, was a person of "good moral character", and was enrolled at or above the 7th grade in the US and pursuing admission to an institution of higher education.

Throughout the numerous incarnations of the legislation, the basic premise has remained steady with variations on who the legislation could be applied to once enacted. The DREAM Act of 2007 was voted on in the Senate. It would apply to any alien that entered before they were 16, had been in the country at least 5 years, was of "good moral character", had been admitted to an institution of higher learning or obtained a high school diploma or GED, and was under the age of 30. This version of the legislation created a waiver system for the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant a waiver to additional illegal aliens that did not meet the requirements.

The requirements of the 2007 legislation were carried over into the 2010 legislation. However, this legislation created a requirements that immigrants submit biometric and biographic data, submit to a medical test, and pass a background test. It also expressly stated that those who received the alteration to their citizenship status through this legislation would be eligible to receive citizenship later.

 

Institution of Higher Learning

The DREAM Act involves establishing a mechanism for illegal aliens to remain in the US if they are enrolled in an institution of higher learning or in the armed services. An institution of higher learning is defined by TITLE 20 > CHAPTER 28 > SUBCHAPTER I > Part A > § 1001. An institution of higher learning is defined as follows:

  1. (a) Institution of higher education. For purposes of this chapter, other than subchapter IV, the term “institution of higher education” means an educational institution in any State that—rnrn
    1. (1) admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate, or persons who meet the requirements of section 1091 (d)(3) of this title;
    2. (2) is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;
    3. (3) provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree, or awards a degree that is acceptable for admission to a graduate or professional degree program, subject to review and approval by the Secretary;
    4. (4) is a public or other nonprofit institution; and
    5. (5) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, or if not so accredited, is an institution that has been granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association that has been recognized by the Secretary for the granting of preaccreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time.
  2. (b) Additional institutions included
    1. For purposes of this chapter, other than subchapter IV, the term “institution of higher education” also includes—
    2. (1) any school that provides not less than a 1-year program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation and that meets the provision of paragraphs (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subsection (a) of this section; and
    3. (2) a public or nonprofit private educational institution in any State that, in lieu of the requirement in subsection (a)(1), admits as regular students individuals—rn
      1. (A) who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the institution is located; or
      2. (B) who will be dually or concurrently enrolled in the institution and a secondary school.
  3. (c) List of accrediting agencies. For purposes of this section and section 1002 of this title, the Secretary shall publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies or associations that the Secretary determines, pursuant to subpart 2 of part G of subchapter IV of this chapter, to be reliable authority as to the quality of the education or training offered.

 

Student Adjustment Act of 2001

The first attempt to pass a version of the DREAM act was the Student Adjustment Act of 2001 (H R 1918). The stated purpose of the legislation was to permit States to determine state residency for higher education purposes and to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to cancel the removal and adjust the status of certain alien college-bound students who are long-term U.S. residents. To accomplish this task, the legislation repealed Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Section 505 placed limitations on eligibility for preferential treatment of aliens not lawfully present on basis of residence for higher education benefits.

The legislation stated that the Attorney General shall cancel removal of, and adjust to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence or an illegal alien if the alien:

  • is at the time of application, not attained the age of 21;
  • is physically present in the United States on the date of the enactment of the Student Adjustment Act of 2001 and has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than five years immediately preceding the date of such application;
  • has been a person of good moral character during such period; and
  • is enrolled at or above the 7th grade level in a school in the United States or is enrolled in or actively pursuing admission to an institution of higher education in the United States

 

DREAM Act of 2007

The Senate version of the DREAM Act of 2007 was brought up for a vote in the Senate, but did not receive the 60 votes required to invoke cloture and pass a filibuster. The legislation was similar to the 2001 bill and allowed the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel removal of, and adjust to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence or an illegal alien if the alien demonstrates that--

  • (A) the alien has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding the date of enactment of this Act, and had not yet reached the age of 16 years at the time of initial entry;
  • (B) the alien has been a person of good moral character since the date of enactment of this Act;
  • (C) the alien--rn
    • (i) is not inadmissible under paragraph (2), paragraph (3), subparagraph (B), (C), (E), (F), or (G) of paragraph (6), or subsection (C) of paragraph (10) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)), except that if the alien is inadmissible solely under subparagraph (C) or (F) of paragraph (6) of such section, the alien had not yet reached the age of 16 years at the time the violation was committed; and
    • (ii) is not deportable under subparagraph (E) or (G) of paragraph (1), paragraph (2), subparagraph (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (3), paragraph (4), or paragraph (6) of section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1227(a)), except that if the alien is deportable solely under subparagraph (C) or (D) of paragraph (3) of such section, the alien had not yet reached the age of 16 years at the time the violation was committed;
  • (D) the alien, at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education in the United States, or has earned a high school diploma or obtained a general education development certificate in the United States;
  • (E) the alien has never been under a final administrative or judicial order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, unless the alien--rn
    • (i) has remained in the United States under color of law after such order was issued; or
    • (ii) received the order before attaining the age of 16 years; and
    • (F) the alien was had not yet reached the age of 30 years on the date of enactment of this Act.

The legislation also allowed the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant waivers to allow other legal and illegal aliens to remain in the US, and to grant extensions for exceptional circumstances. The legislation calls for a particular hardship exception if the alien satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) above, demonstrates compelling circumstances for the inability to complete the requirements,  and demonstrates that the alien's removal from the United States would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien or the alien's spouse, parent, or child who is a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

A stay of removal could be granted by the Attorney General if the alien met the requirements in (A), (B), (C), (E), and (F), is at least 12 years of age, and is enrolled in school. It allows that alien to seek employment.

 

DREAM Act of 2009

In 2009, the DREAM Act was again proposed. The legislation was similar to previous versions of the DREAM Act, with a new restriction on age limits, and the ability to grant residency status retroactively to those who do not meet the age requirements. It also contained the same hardship waivers and extensions in the previous versions of the legislation. This particular form also contained a catch-all that simply allowed the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant residency status to anyone they desired on a humanitarian basis or whenever the Secretary believed it would benefit the public.

The rules of this version stated that the Secretary of Homeland Security may cancel removal of, and adjust to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, subject to the conditional basis described in section 5, an alien who is inadmissible or deportable from the United States, if the alien demonstrates that--

  • (A) the alien has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding the date of enactment of this Act, and had not yet reached the age of 16 years at the time of initial entry;
  • (B) the alien has been a person of good moral character since the time of application;
  • (C) the alien--
    • (i) is not inadmissible under paragraph (2), (3), (6)(E), or (10)(C) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)); and
    • (ii) is not deportable under paragraph (1)(E), (2), or (4) of section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1227(a));
  • (D) the alien, at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education in the United States, or has earned a high school diploma or obtained a general education development certificate in the United States;
  • (E) the alien has never been under a final administrative or judicial order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, unless the alien--
    • (i) has remained in the United States under color of law after such order was issued; or
    • (ii) received the order before attaining the age of 16 years; and
  • (F) the alien had not yet reached the age of 35 years on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2) WAIVER- Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary of Homeland Security may waive the ground of ineligibility under section 212(a)(6)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the ground of deportability under paragraph (1)(E) of section 237(a) of that Act for humanitarian purposes or family unity or when it is otherwise in the public interest.

SEC. 6. RETROACTIVE BENEFITS UNDER THIS ACT.

If, on the date of enactment of this Act, an alien has satisfied all the requirements of subparagraphs (A) through (E) of section 4(a)(1) and section 5(d)(1)(D), the Secretary of Homeland Security may adjust the status of the alien to that of a conditional resident in accordance with section 4. The alien may petition for removal of such condition at the end of the conditional residence period in accordance with section 5(c) if the alien has met the requirements of subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of section 5(d)(1) during the entire period of conditional residence. 

 

DREAM Act of 2010

The 2010 version of the DREAM Act was brought up for a vote in the Senate, but failed to reach the 60 votes required for cloture to overcome a Republican led filibuster. The legislation kept the same basic provisions of earlier versions, but with some notable changes. The waiver seen in previous versions of the legislation was present in this version. This version of the legislation defined a status of conditional nonimmigrant to be applied to those who fell under the legislation. It also required all those immigrants to submit biometric data, biographic data, pass a medical test, and pass a background check. This legislation also stated that those who were affected by this legislation would be eligible for permanent citizenship status.

As before the basic tenet of the legislation was to cancel the removal of temporary legal or illegal aliens if they entered the US as children and were enrolled in school. The legislation allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of an alien who is inadmissible or deportable from the United States, and grant the alien conditional nonimmigrant status, if the alien demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that--

  • (A) the alien has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding the date of the enactment of this Act and was younger than 16 years of age on the date the alien initially entered the United States;
  • (B) the alien has been a person of good moral character since the date the alien initially entered the United States;
  • (C) the alien--
    • (i) is not inadmissible under paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (6)(E), (6)(G), (8), (10)(A), (10)(C), or (10)(D) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a));
    • (ii) is not deportable under paragraph (1)(E), (1)(G), (2), (4), (5), or (6) of section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1227(a));
    • (iii) has not ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; and
      • (iv) has not been convicted of--
        • (I) any offense under Federal or State law punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than 1 year; or
        • (II) 3 or more offenses under Federal or State law, for which the alien was convicted on different dates for each of the 3 offenses and sentenced to imprisonment for an aggregate of 90 days or more;
  • (D) the alien--
    • (i) has been admitted to an institution of higher education in the United States; or
    • (ii) has earned a high school diploma or obtained a general education development certificate in the United States;
  • (E) the alien has never been under a final administrative or judicial order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, unless the alien--
    • (i) has remained in the United States under color of law after such order was issued; or
    • (ii) received the order before attaining the age of 16 years; and
  • (F) the alien was younger than 30 years of age on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(3) CONDITIONAL NONIMMIGRANT-

(A) DEFINITION- The term `conditional nonimmigrant' means an alien who is granted conditional nonimmigrant status under this Act.
(B) DESCRIPTION- A conditional nonimmigrant--
(i) shall be considered to be an alien within a nonimmigrant class for purposes of the immigration laws;
(ii) may have the intention permanently to reside in the United States; and
(iii) is not required to have a foreign residence which the alien has no intention of abandoning.

 

The Secure Fence Act of 2006

In 2006, Congress passed, and President Bush signed, the Secure Fence Act of 2006 into law. The legislation called for the Secretary of Homeland Security to take appropriate actions to achieve "operational control" over portions of the border within 18 months. It specifically called out portions of the US border to have a double-layer fence installed. The legislation allowed the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, ground-based sensors, satellites, radar coverage, cameras, and physical infrastructure enhancements. 

In specifically addressing sections of the border to be fortified, the legislation called for two layers of reinforced fencing, installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors extending:

  • from ten miles west of the Tecate, California, port of entry to ten miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry
  • from ten miles west of the Calexico, California, port of entry to five miles east of the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry (requiring installation of an interlocking surveillance camera system by May 30, 2007, and fence completion by May 30, 2008)
  • from five miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico, port of entry to ten miles east of El Paso, Texas
  • from five miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to five miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry
  • 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry (requiring fence completion from 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to 15 southeast of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry by December 31, 2008)

 

Comprehensive Reform Act of 2005-2006

In 2006, two separate versions of legislation were passed in the House and the Senate to address immigration. Although the Senate bill passed with a filibuster proof majority, the conference committee was unable to produce a version of the legislation that would pass both chambers. 

House Version

In 2005, the House passed HR 4437. The legislation dealt only with enforcement of immigration laws and ensuring that employers could no longer hire illegal immigrants. No provisions were included in the law that would have granted amnesty to any group of legal or illegal aliens.

Securing US Borders

The first section of the legislation dealt with securing the US / Mexico border. The legislation directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to obtain operational control of the border. It approved the use of UAVs, sensors, cameras, radar, and other devices to help the Secretary achieve that goal, and funded an increase in the number of port of entry inspectors. Additional provisions included obtaining fingerprints from all aliens caught within the US, and allowing US citizens to be reimbursed for damage caused by illegal immigration.

Combating Alien Smuggling and Illegal Entry and Presence

One of the more controversial aspects of the law was the fact that it made illegal presence in the US a crime punishable by a year in jail. To assist in enforcing this measure, the law affirmed the inherent authority of state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. It also set penalties for creating fraudulent immigrant documents.

Detention and Removal

Under this law, the Department of Homeland Security would have been required to "fully utilize" all available detention facilities operated and contracted by DHS. It required the expedited removal of illegal aliens who are apprehended within 100 miles of the border within 14 days of entry.

Effective Organization of Border Security Organization

To aid in effective border security, the legislation establishes an Office of Air and Marine Operations whose primary mission shall be to prevent the U.S. entry of terrorists, unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.

Terrorists and Criminal Aliens

A portion of the legislation deals with possible terrorists in the US and aliens who have committed crimes in addition to violation of immigration laws. The legislation permits indefinite detention of specified dangerous aliens under orders of removal who cannot be removed. It also increases penalties and sets mandatory minimum sentences for an alien who fails to depart when ordered removed, hampers removal, or fails to present himself or herself for removal. The legislation would also make ineligible for admission, and bars from seeking waiver of inadmissibility, an alien who has been convicted of misuse of Social Security numbers and cards, ID fraud, been convicted of an aggravated felony, procured citizenship unlawfully, has been convicted of a crime of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment, or has violated a protective order.

In addition, the legislation makes DWI a deportable crime, meaning that an alien's status can be changed if convicted of a DWI. It authorized any local sheriff or a coalition of sheriffs in designated counties to transfer detained illegal aliens to federal custody, and added distribution of false documents as crime.

Employment Eligibility Verification

A large portion of the legislation involved eligibility of employees and verification of that eligibility. That law required verification of all employees and all “previous hires,” and required digitized photograph on documents that establish the identity of the immigrant. The legislation expressly requires the DHS to investigate employers who submit identical social security numbers multiple times in a way that indicates fraud. To accomplish this task, the legislation establishes a phone based verification system.

As punishment, the legislation increases civil penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens. For the first offense, the penalty is increased from $250-$2,000 to $5,000-$7,500. For the second offense, the penalty is increased from $2,000-$5,000 to $10,000- $15,000. For the third offense, the penalty is increased from $3,000- $10,000 to $25,000-$40,000. These penalties are reduced for businesses of smaller sizes. Penalties for those with an average of 25 or less employees are reduced by 60%, those with an average of 26 to 100 employees are reduced by 40%, and those with an average of 101 to 250 employees are reduced by 20%. An exemption from these penalties is granted for a first violation in good faith. When a pattern of hiring unauthorized aliens is established, the fine and penalty is increased from $3,000 and up to 6 months to a fine of $50,000 and not less than one year.

Additional Items

In addition to enforcement of immigration laws, the legislation also contained provisions to reduce litigation abuse in immigration. It amended the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) to authorize the Board of Immigration Appeals to make an order of removal final. It prohibits judicial review of visa revocations after the visa holder has entered the United States.

To assist in border security, the legislation created segments of border fence (698 mi. total) along the southern border. It also eliminated an INA program to create diversity in immigration. Finally, the legislation would have required the notification of foreign embassies when one of their nationals naturalizes and takes the oath of allegiance to the United States. 

House Vote

The legislation passed the House with the support of most Republicans and a small portion of the Democrats. It passed 239-182.

 

 

Senate Version

S 2611 was the Senate version of comprehensive reform. It contained some provisions for enforcement, but mostly addressed assuring that illegal aliens received amnesty and were allowed to remain in the US as either permanent residents or citizens. It includes a section on border enforcement, a section on enforcement of the law within the US, a section on the employment of aliens, a section to legal and illegal immigration reform by creating a new H-2c visa, a provision to speed up the backlog of visas, and a section to address miscellaneous items such as international adoption. The largest and most prominent section addressed methods to establish permanent resident status or citizenship to illegal aliens through a pathway to citizenship, the DREAM Act, and the AgJOBS program.

Border Enforcement

Among the assets appropriated for border enforcement were 4,000 border patrol agents over 5 years, 2,500 point of entry inspectors over 5 years, 1,000 ICE investigators to pursue INA violations, and 1,000 new DHS investigators to detect fraud and alien smuggling. The legislation also included authorization for fencing along urban areas of the Arizona border.

The legislation also included a section on security plans and strategies. It directed the Department of Homeland Security to develop a surveillance plan for the border, and to develop a “National Strategy for Border Security”. As part of the broader border initiatives, the legislation requires the collection of fingerprints from each alien and the inclusion of biometric data in all visa and immigration documents. 

Interior Enforcement

Along with provisions to secure the border, provisions were included to enforce immigration laws in the US. The legislation included provisions for the tracking of passports, marriage fraud, and misrepresentation as an attorney. To address the illegal aliens already present in the US, the law allowed the use of expedited removal for OTMs who are apprehended within 100 miles of the border within 14 days of entry, and permitted the use of expedited removal on incarcerated aliens. The legislation also affirms state and local law enforcement authority to enforce criminal immigration laws, and required the acquisition or construction of 20 detention facilities with combined capacity of 10,000 beds.

Unlawful Employment of Aliens

Among some of the more controversial aspects of the legislation was the mandatory verification of employment status for all employers. This was not required until the funds were appropriated for the system, which could never happen. It also allowed the DHS to change those procedures for verification. It requires DHS and SSA to implement an Employer Eligibility Verification System and states that all employers must comply 18 months after the date funds are appropriated.

The penalties for hiring unauthorized aliens for the first offense was increased from $250- $2,000 to $500- $4,000, for the second offense it was increased from $2,000-$5,000 to $4,000-$10,000, and for the third offense it was increased from $3,000-$10,000 to $6,000-$20,000. For employers who fail to keep records are subject to a civil penalty for 1st offense from $200-$2,000, for the 2nd offense $400- $4,000, and for 3rd offense $6,000. The DHS is given discretion to reduce penalties.

Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Reform

A section of the legislation created a temporary guest worker program by creating a new H-2c visa program and a nonimmigrant temporary worker category. The initial visa was for three years, with a three year extension available. Illegal aliens currently living in the country would be able to enter the program, and spouses and children would be allowed to accompany the Visa holder.

To qualify for the program, the employee must be able to document their work eligibility, document their job offer, pay a $500 fee plus processing costs, go through a medical examination, and fulfill an application containing information about health, criminal and gang history, immigration history, and any terrorist involvement. Most of these provisions can be waived.

The employer must prove that specified efforts to recruit and employ U.S. workers have been made, that the hiring will not adversely affect wages and working conditions of similarly-employed U.S. workers, nor that the hiring has caused the separation of a U.S. employee of such employer within the 180 day period beginning 90 days before petition filing. The employer must provide the H-2C with wages and working conditions and benefits (including insurance if not otherwise covered by state workers' compensation law) as are provided to similarly-employed U.S. workers. The employer must also prove that there is no ongoing strike or labor dispute. The legislation annually adds 2,000 DOL compliance investigators to enforce H-2C program.

Backlog Reduction

To speed up the process of Visa grants and reduce the backlog, the legislation included the Secure Knowledge, Innovation, and Leadership Act (SKIL). This legislation increased the number of professional H1-B visas to 115,000 a year. It increases that number an additional 120% if that number is met. It also streamlined student visas, and addressed the preservation of immigration rights for Katrina victims.

Work Authorization and Legalization of Undocumented Individualism

The largest section of the legislation dealt with various programs to establish permanent resident status or blanket citizenship for illegal aliens residing in the US. The first mechanism was a pathway to citizenship for illegals meeting certain criteria, the AgJOBS program, and the DREAM Act. 

The pathway to citizenship put forth in the legislation was called an "earned adjustment and mandatory departure and reentry." The program creates permanent resident status for an alien that 

  • files an application and pays a $2,000 fine
  • was physically present in the United States five years before April 5, 2006,
  • was not inadmissible under specified grounds
  • has been employed in the United States for at least three years during the five-year period ending on April 5, 2006, and at least six years after the date of enactment of this subtitle
  • submits specified employment-verifying documents
  • made federal income tax payments or makes agreements to make such payments
  • demonstrates of basic citizenship skills
  • passes security and law enforcement clearances
  • meets Selective Service registration requirements

The second mechanism to achieve citizenship was the AgJOBS program for agricultural workers. The program conferred a "blue card status" on an alien who has performed agricultural employment in the United States for at least 863 hours or 150 work days during the 24-month period ending on December 31, 2005, has applied for such status during the 18-month application period beginning on the first day of the seventh month that begins after the date of enactment of this Act, and is otherwise admissible to the United States. The blue card status is changed to permanent resident status for any alien that has performed five years of U.S. agricultural employment, for at least 100 work days or 575 hours, but in no case less than 575 hours per year or three years of U.S. agricultural employment, for at least 150 work days or 863 hours, but in no case less than 863 hours per year. It exempts these recipients from social security fraud committed prior to receiving this status.

The final piece of legislation to move illegal aliens into permanent residents or citizens was the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act cancels the removal of, and adjusts to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who

  • entered the United States prior to his or her sixteenth birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act
  • is a person of good moral character
  • is not inadmissible or deportable under specified INA grounds
  • at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma
  • from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal

Miscellaneous

Additional provisions of the Comprehensive Reform Legislation included legislation to reduce litigation of immigrants as a tool to delay removal, assistance for members of the Armed Services, a program for State Court Interpreters, a program for technology enhancements at the border, and an overhaul of international adoption laws.

Senate Vote

The Senate passed this version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a filibuster proof majority which included both Republicans and Democrats.

 

 

Comprehensive Reform Act of 2007

The formal name for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 was the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007. The legislation was billed as a compromise to the 2005 and 2006 bills that passed the House and Senate, but failed to achieve a joined version. In this manner, the bill contained provisions of both pieces of legislation, including border enforcement and provisions for amnesty to illegal aliens. 

Border Enforcement

The legislation provides assets for controlling the US borders. It would have increased by not less than 500 the number of full-time active duty port of entry inspectors and provide related training, equipment, and support, and increased by not less than 200 the number of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) positions assigned to investigate alien smuggling. It provides for technological assets including a virtual fence, UAVs, and sensors. It allocates assets to increase the number of ports of entry and update existing ones.

The legislation directs the DHS Secretary to develop a systematic surveillance plan for the U.S. international land and maritime borders, and to develop a National Strategy for Border Security that describes actions to achieve operational control over all U.S. ports of entry and the U.S. land and maritime borders.

The legislation also authorizes the Secretary to require departing aliens to provide biometric data and other immigration-status information. The biometric data is to be collected from any applicant for admission or alien seeking to transit through the United States, any lawful permanent resident entering the United States who is not subject to questions of illegal activity or removal, relinquishment of status, length of absence, or other than designated place of entry, and any alien crewmen.

The legislation requires mandatory detention of an alien apprehended illegally seeking to enter the United States at a U.S. port of entry or land or maritime border. To address smuggling, the legislation amends federal criminal law to make it unlawful for a person to elude customs, immigration, or agriculture inspection or fail to stop at the command of a U.S. enforcement officer or employee at a port of entry or customs or immigration checkpoint. As punishment, it states that any person smuggling aliens can be fined and/or imprisoned.

Interior Enforcement

In addressing the application of immigration laws within the US, and interior enforcement section is included. The legislation revises provisions respecting detention and removal of aliens under order of removal. It permits extension of the 90-day detention period for an alien under order of removal. It authorizes the Secretary to detain an alien beyond such 90-day period until removal if the Secretary certifies in writing that it is likely that the alien will be removed in the foreseeable future, or the alien has a highly contagious disease that poses a public safety threat, release of the alien would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences, or would threaten U.S. national security, or the alien's release would threaten the community or an individual because of the alien's criminal history. The legislation authorizes the Secretary to renew detention by certification every six months.

The legislation makes an alien inadmissible or deportable if the Attorney General or the Secretary knows or has reason to believe that such alien: (1) is or has been a member of a criminal street gang; or (2) has participated in a criminal street gang's activities, knowing or having reason to know that such activities furthered the criminal gang's illegal activity.

The legislation also makes it illegal to knowingly: (1) enter or cross the U.S. border at a time or place other than as designated by DHS; (2) elude examination or inspection; or (3) enter by means of a false or misleading representation or concealment of a material fact. It revises criminal penalties for reentry of a removed alien.

Within the legislation are provisions to encourage aliens to willingly return home, and it also establishes a 10 year statute of limitations for immigration, naturalization, and peonage offenses.

To address the costs of illegal aliens, the legislation directs the Secretary to reimburse states and local governments for costs associated with processing undocumented criminal aliens, including: (1) indigent defense; (2) criminal prosecution; (3) autopsies; (4) translators and interpreters; and (5) courts costs.

To assist in enforcing the law, the legislation affirms state law enforcement authority to assist the federal government in enforcing U.S. immigration laws during the normal course of law enforcement duties. States that such provision shall not be construed to require state or local law enforcement personnel to assist in immigration law enforcement. Directs the Secretary upon state law enforcement request to take an apprehended alien into federal custody to verify and inform state authority of the alien's immigration status, and if the individual is unlawfully in the United States, take such individual into federal custody, or request temporary state or local detention or transfer to a location for transfer to federal custody.

To house illegal immigrants prior to deportation, the legislation directs the Secretary to construct or acquire 20 additional detention facilities (20,000 capacity) for aliens detained pending removal (or a decision on removal), utilize cost-effective alternatives, including federal facilities, and consider the transfer of military installations under base closure laws for such purposes.

Unlawful Employment of Aliens

In attempting to prevent US companies from hiring illegal aliens the legislation makes it unlawful for an employer to hire or to recruit or refer for a fee for U.S. employment. It makes it unlawful for an employer, after lawfully hiring an alien, to continue to employ the alien knowing that the alien is (or has become) an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment. Makes it unlawful for an employer who uses a contract, subcontract, or exchange to obtain the labor of an alien in the United States knowing, or with reckless disregard that the alien is an unauthorized alien with respect to such labor.

The legislation provides that the person hiring the alien shall provide the employer with his or her employer identification number, and make a good faith compliance by an employer with document certification and Electronic Employment Verification System. Authorizes the Secretary, upon reasonable cause to believe that an employer has failed to comply with this section, to require that the employer certify within 60 days (with a discretionary extension) that the employer is in compliance or has instituted a compliance program.

The legislation directs the Secretary, in cooperation with the Commissioner of Social Security, to implement an Electronic Employment Verification System to determine whether the identifying information submitted by an individual is consistent with information maintained by the Secretary or the Commissioner, and such individual's eligibility for U.S. employment. It requires all employers in the United States to participate in the System, with respect to employees hired on or after the date that is 18 months after the date that not less than $400 million has been appropriated and made available to implement the System.

Employers would be required to register as a System participant. Considers the failure of an employer required to participate in the System to do so as an employment violation. Provides that a participating employer, upon request, shall be provided with an individual's identity and employment eligibility. As part of participation in the system, employers are required to record specified information from the individual, including employer identification numbers (EIN) from any of the past five years, confirm identity and employability no later than three days after hiring, recruiting, or referring, or as the Secretary designates in the case of a critical employer, and upon request, provide the individual with the employer's EIN.

The legislation would require system response to an employer inquiry within ten days with confirmation or tentative nonconfirmation of an individual's identity or employability. The employer would be required to notify an ineligible individual, and give the individual ten days to contest such nonconfirmation or it becomes final.

The system would state that an employer shall not terminate employment of an individual based upon nonconfirmation until final notice of nonconfirmation. An individual terminated from employment would have administrative and judicial appeal rights, including recoupement of lost wages. 

Sets forth civil penalties for first-time and previously-fined violators prohibits an employer from requiring an individual to provide a financial guarantee or indemnity against any potential employment-related liability. Bars employers who are repeat violators or convicted of a crime under this section from federal contract, grant, or cooperative agreement eligibility for five years.

The legislation states that the provisions for enforcement preempt any state or local civil or criminal sanctions upon those who employ or recruit or refer for a fee unauthorized aliens, and civil penalties collected under this section shall be deposited into the Employer Compliance Fund, unless otherwise provided for. 

Provided for in the legislation are measures to increase the number of worksite enforcement and fraud detection personnel by at least 2,200 for each of the next five years, and ensure that at least 25% of BICE hours shall be used for such enforcement. It makes an alien who misrepresents himself or herself as a U.S. national inadmissible to amnesty or visa programs.

Nonimmigrant and Immigrant VISA Reform

The legislation establishes a new nonimmigrant temporary worker category (H-2C visa). There is an initial three-year H-2C authorized stay and a single, three-year extension. To enter on this visa, the immigrant must meet requirements relating to work eligibility, the job offer, the payment of a $500 fee plus application processing costs, a medical examination, and an application containing information about health, criminal and gang history, immigration history, and any terrorist involvement.

The legislation requires the Secretary to complete all appropriate background checks before an H-2C nonimmigrant may be admitted. Prohibits an H-2C nonimmigrant from changing nonimmigrant classification. The H-2C visa terminates if the immigrant is unemployed for 60 or more consecutive days. This is waived if the alien or his family experiences illness. If the alien is required to leave, they can reapply to the program as long as they departed within 10 days of expiration.

If the alien overstays the visa, there is a ten-year reentry bar. The H-2C is portable from employer to employer. Spouse and children of an H-2C nonimmigrant are eligible for H-4 nonimmigrant visas (established by this Act). Those dependent aliens must meet eligibility, medical, and background requirements.

An employer must seeking to obtain an H-2C visa must attest that specified efforts to recruit and employ U.S. workers have been made, that the hiring will not adversely affect wages and working conditions of similarly-employed U.S. workers, nor that the hiring has caused the separation of a U.S. employee of such employer within the 180 day period beginning 90 days before petition filing, that the H-2C will be paid wages and be provided with working conditions and benefits as are provided to similarly-employed U.S. workers, that there is no ongoing strike or labor dispute, and that notice of the petition has been provided to the employees' bargaining representative or if there is no bargaining unit, conspicuous notice has been posted or electronically disseminated.

The employer must notify DHS and DOL of an H-2C's separation from employment or transfer to another employer within three days, and DHS must provide all approved H-2C petitions to DOL for potential audit. An employer who misrepresents a material fact, makes a fraudulent statement, or otherwise fails to comply with the terms of such petition attestations becomes ineligible to participate in any labor certification program for up to three years.

An H-2C employee may not be treated as an independent contractor. H-2C employee must be covered by federal, state, or local employment laws as applicable to similarly employed U.S. workers, comply with federal, state, and local tax laws, and have whistleblower protections. 

Within the H-2C program, a web service is initiated to along potential employees to find a job. Countries who seek to participate in the program must agree to allow those aliens to return at the end of their visa. S-Visas and L-Visas are expanded.

Backlog Reduction

To reduce the backlog of current and future Visa applications, the legislation speeds up student visas, and visas for individuals with advanced degrees. It also enacts the SKIL Act, which increases H-1B visas and increases the number of visas for people with advanced degrees. 

Work Authorization and Legalization of Undocumented Individuals

This legislation contained many of the same provisions to extend amnesty as the 2006 legislation. This includes the pathway to citizenship, the AgJOBS program, and the DREAM Act.

The "pathway to citizenship" in the legislation directs the DHS Secretary to adjust to permanent resident status an alien who

  • files an application and pays a $2,000 fine, and other applicable fees
  • was physically present in the United States on or before the date that is five years before April 5, 2006, was not legally present in the United States on April 5, 2006, under any nonimmigrant classification, and did not depart from the United States during the five-year period ending on April 5, 2006, except for brief and innocent departures
  • was not inadmissible under specified grounds
  • has been employed in the United States for at least three years during the five-year period ending on April 5, 2006, and at least six years after the date of enactment of this subtitle (with specified exceptions for persons under 20 or over 65 years old, the disabled, pregnant women, and post-secondary students)
  • submits specified employment-verifying documents
  • made federal income tax payment or agrees to make such payments
  • demonstrates basic citizenship skills
  • passes security and law enforcement clearances
  • meets Selective Service registration requirements

The DHS is authorized to waive these requirements of grounds of inadmissibility based upon humanitarian, family unity, or public interest grounds. Makes an alien ineligible for adjustment to permanent resident status if the alien has been removed from the United States for overstaying the period of authorized admission, for removal upon arrival, or for expedited removal for criminal activity, failed to leave under voluntary departure, has illegally reentered the United States, has been convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors, or constitutes a criminal or security danger.

Aliens who have entered the process to obtain an adjustment of their status have the right to have efforts to force them and their family to leave the country halted.

The AgJOBS program established in the legislation was identical to the agriculture jobs program established in the 2006 legislation. The program conferred a "blue card status" on an alien who has performed agricultural employment in the United States for at least 863 hours or 150 work days during the 24-month period ending on December 31, 2005, has applied for such status during the 18-month application period beginning on the first day of the seventh month that begins after the date of enactment of this Act, and is otherwise admissible to the United States. The blue card status is changed to permanent resident status for any alien that has performed five years of U.S. agricultural employment, for at least 100 work days or 575 hours, but in no case less than 575 hours per year or three years of U.S. agricultural employment, for at least 150 work days or 863 hours, but in no case less than 863 hours per year. It exempts these recipients from social security fraud committed prior to receiving this status.

The DREAM Act proposed in this legislation was also identical to the one proposed in the 2006 legislation. The DREAM Act cancels the removal of, and adjusts to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who

  • entered the United States prior to his or her sixteenth birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act
  • is a person of good moral character
  • is not inadmissible or deportable under specified INA grounds
  • at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma
  • from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal

The legislation also amends the H-2A visa (agricultural labor or temporary or seasonal services) provisions. It replaces the existing labor certification requirement with a labor attestation requirement containing: (1) a description of the nature and location of the job; (2) the job's expected beginning and ending dates; (3) the number of jobs; and (4) specified labor assurances respecting job opportunities covered by collective bargaining agreements and non-covered job opportunities.

  

The Arizona Immigration Law

In May of 2010, the Governor of Arizona signed SB 1070 into law. The 17 page law mirrored federal to make state and local law enforcement officials capable of asking a person their immigration status once that person has already come into contact with law enforcement. The entire legislation can be read here.

Signing the bill into law

After singing the legislation into law, governor Brewer spoke at a press conference describing the law and why she signed it.

Provisions of the legislation

Intent

The intent of the legislation is expressed as making attrition of illegal aliens through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies. It states that there is a compelling interest in the cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona. The legislature declares that the intent is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona. The provisions are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.

Enforcement of Immigration Laws

The main component of the legislation was to ensure that allows a law enforcement official who has already come into lawful contact with a person and reasonable suspicion exists, the official may make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of that person.

If the person is determined to be in the country illegally, the alien can be transferred to the custody of ICE after the are punished for whatever crime caused them to come into contact with law enforcement.

A law enforcement officer may also arrest a person if they have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime that would make them removable from the United States. 

Trespassing

SB 1070 also made it trespassing to both be present on public or private land, and an illegal immigrant. It allows a law enforcement officer to ascertain the legal status of that person.

Smuggling

The legislation makes it illegal to smuggle people for private gain or commercial purpose. It makes it a class 2 felony to transport a minor, and a class 3 felony to transport someone while threatening them. It grants law enforcement the right to stop a vehicle that they believe smuggling is occurring.

Employment

SB 1070 makes it illegal to employ someone that the employer knows is an illegal alien. It also makes it illegal to conceal an illegal alien or to stop on the street for the purposes of hiring an illegal alien.

 

Significant Votes

There are a number of significant votes relating to immigration. If a Senator or Congressman was in office during the votes on the DREAM Act, the Comprehensive Reform Packages, or any other pieces of legislation, it will show up in their profile. 

House Votes on Immigration
YearRoll CallLegislation
2004182Undocumented Alien Emergency Medical Assistance Amendments
2005661Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005
2006469Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2006
2006468Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006
2006446Secure Fence Act of 2006
2012220Removing Funds for Lawsuits
 

 

Senate Votes on Immigration
YearRoll CallLegislation
2006262The Secure Fence Act
2006157Immigration Reform Act of 2006
2007394The DREAM Act
2007204Comprehensive Immigration Reform
200869Funding for Sanctuary Cities

 

Bills

Each year, there are numerous bills introduced that are not voted on in the House or Senate. These bills may be sponsored by numerous people and a representative's co-sponsorship of that legislation gives insight into that person's viewpoints.

Senate Bills on Immigration
SessionBill NumberCo-SponsorsBill Title
111S 39921Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010
111S 953A bill to prohibit appropriated funds from being used in contravention of section 642(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996
111S 913Stronger Economy, Stronger Borders Act of 2009
111S 2059Southwest Border Violence Reduction Act of 2009
111S 42420Uniting American Families Act of 2009
111S 72923Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009 or the DREAM Act of 2009
111S 99214National Language Act of 2009
110S 77426DREAM Act of 2007
110S Res 37121Drivers Licenses
110S 271515National Language Act of 2008
110S 234812Emergency Border Security Funding Act of 2007
110S 13359S.I. Hayakawa Official English Language Act of 2007
110S 22053Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2007 or DREAM Act of 2007
109S 207527DREAM Act of 2005
109S 230513Citizenship Documentation and Medicaid Reimbursement
109S Res 55111Social Security and Illegal Immigrants
109S 26116Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006
108S 154548Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2003
107S 129118Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or the DREAM Act
105S 156310Temporary Agricultural Worker Act of 1997

 

House Bills on Immigration
SessionBill NumberCo-SponsorsBill Title
112H R 450Criminal Alien Accountability Act
112H R 9810Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Social Security Protection Act of 2011
112H R 14065Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011
112H R 41011To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for compensation to States incarcerating undocumented aliens charged with a felony or two or more misdemeanors
112H R 6930E-Verify Modernization Act of 2011
111H R 997114English Language Unity Act of 2009
111H R 330888Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2009 or SAVE Act of 2009
111H R 175158American Dream Act
111H R 186846Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009
110H R 4176172Prevention of Unsafe Licensing Act
110H R 997154English Language Unity Act of 2007
110H R 2221119Uniting American Families Act of 2007
110H R 1940104Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007
110H Res 49996Resolution to Enforce Immigration Laws
110H R 127584American Dream Act
110H R 164577Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007 or STRIVE Act of 2007
110H Res 80073Illegal Aliens and Drivers Licenses
110H R 295456Secure Borders FIRST
110H R 76854Limited English Assistance
110H R 4088157Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007 or SAVE Act of 2007
110h R 4464112Common Sense English Act
110H R 48130Federal Election Integrity Act of 2007
109H R 513153American Dream Act
108H R 16840Student Adjustment Act of 2003
107H R 191863Student Adjustment Act of 2001

[1] Website: Pew Hispanic Center Article: Unauthorized Immigrant Population:National and State Trends, 2010 Author: Jeffrey S. Passel, DíVera Cohn Accessed on: 05/31/2011

[2] Website: Banco de Mexico Article: General Principles for International Remittances Services Author: NA Accessed on: 06/08/2011

[3] Website: Wikipedia Article: Sanctuary City Author: NA Accessed on: 06/09/2011

[4] Website: The American Resistance Article: How many illegal aliens are in the U.S.? Author: NA Accessed on: 06/09/2011