• House Republicans Release Draft Immigration Bill
  • June 26, 2018
  • Law Firm: - Office
  • At a glance
    • The bill would create a points-based permanent residence program for DACA-eligible foreign nationals and certain children of E-1, E-2, H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrants.
    • The bill would eliminate per-country quotas on employment-based immigrant visas and reallocate 65,000 family-based immigrant visas to employment-based programs.
    • Visa applicants, visa holders and Visa Waiver Program entrants would be subject to heightened screening before and after entry to the United States.
    • The House is expected to vote on this and another immigration reform bill next week, though prospects for both bills are uncertain.
    ________________________________________
    A closer look
    House Republicans have released the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, a draft bill that is intended to reflect President Trump’s immigration reform framework and to serve as a compromise between the party’s moderates and conservatives.
    The bill would authorize funding for construction of the border wall and increased border security, impose tougher standards on foreign nationals seeking asylum and on applicants for other humanitarian programs, create a nonimmigrant program and a path to permanent residence for DACA-eligible foreign nationals, and make reforms to the permanent residence system. Key provisions affecting employers are summarized below.
    Permanent residence reforms
    • The bill would eliminate per-country quotas on employment-based (EB) immigrant visas and reallocate 65,000 family-based immigrant visas to EB programs.
    • Per-country caps on family-based immigrant visas would be increased.
    • The Diversity Visa Lottery Program would be eliminated.
    • Family-based immigration categories for married children and siblings of U.S. citizens would be eliminated.

    Relief for DACA-eligible foreign nationals and certain children of H-1B, L-1 and E-1/E-2 nonimmigrants
    • A new contingent nonimmigrant category would be created for DACA-eligible foreign nationals, with a six-year period of stay and unlimited renewals.
    • The bill would create a points-based permanent residence program for foreign nationals granted contingent nonimmigrant status and for children of E-1, E-2, H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrants who have been in the United States for 10 continuous years. Applicants would earn points based on education level, English-language skills, employment and military service. Some 78,400 immigrant visas would be reallocated to the points system from eliminated permanent residence programs. However, permanent residence under the new program would be awarded only if the bill’s border security funds have been made available and not rescinded or used for non-border security purposes.

    Heightened visa security and anti-fraud screening
    • Visa applicants would be subject to additional visa security screening and a new visa security fee.
    • Visa applicants from countries deemed to be high-risk would be subject to additional social media screening.
    • Visa holders and Visa Waiver Program entrants would be subject to continuous screening against criminal, national security and terrorism databases before and after entry to the United States.
    • Consulates’ authority to waive visa interviews would be restricted.
    • Consular officers would be authorized to deny visa applications without interviews.
    • Immigration applications and petitions would be subject to enhanced signature, evidence and translation requirements.
    • Immigration agencies would use analytics software to detect fraud and national security threats in petitions and applications.

    What’s next for the bill

    The House is expected to vote next week on the compromise bill and on an enforcement bill introduced earlier this year by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee. President Trump has said that he would not sign the compromise bill. The prospects for passage of either bill are uncertain.