I'm posting below the report from the American Immigration Council on what exactly "Comprehensive Immmigration Reform" means, if passed in the House as it was in the Senate. Chances are, however, that the version the House passes will require even more militarization of the border and impossible hurdles for people to get over to become citizens. This whole package is nothing but a gift to the private prison industry and the military industrial complex, the two parties who stand to profit the most from continued detentions and "border security" measures. And how convenient it is that just as we wind down from two wars, we have a third one to finance at our Southern border.
So, while I was a big supporter of the PUENTE hunger strikers, both in and out of detention, I'm troubled that their efforts have been exploited for ends other than those they sought - an end to detentions and deportations, including for those immigrants who have been criminalized. I took a lot of heat for not being more critical of that during the strike. Admittedly, I wasn't paying close enough attention to the national dialogue about the hunger strikes or "NOT1MORE!" campaign - all I saw, right in front of me, were prisoners and their families trying to exercise power over their own situation, and that kind of action I am inclined to support.
The mainstream CIR movement threw criminalized immigrants under the bus long ago, though - and the National Council of LaRaza, after the hunger strike wrapped up, made it very clear that those prisoners the PUENTE strikers were trying to free deserve to be deported because they have criminal charges or records - even those who have been criminalized for simply working to support their family. The only deportations the NCLR is trying to stop are those "unnecessary ones" - ie, those of the lucky few immmigrants who have not yet been criminalized. They also gave their highest award to the "GANG OF EIGHT" senators who came up with this vicious piece of legislation.
Here's an excellent blog post confronting the exploitation of hunger strikes as a tactic for compromised ends:
The post is written by someone who is O'Odham; their blog articulates an indigenous perspective on immigration which is so often excluded from the larger public dialogue. It is the O'Odham who have put up with the most Border Patrol harassment, as their land is divided between the US and Mexico by the border. As the blogger points out, the immigrant detention industry is no doubt laughing all the way to the bank, having managed to write CIR legislation to benefit their own bottom line, not to promote justice, and convinced the mainstream latino orgs in the country to sign on with glee. In fact, immigrant rights groups are clamoring for this "reform" now...
Sometimes, doing "something" is far worse than doing nothing. This is one such time.
Anyway, this post was meant mainly to provide clear information about what exactly is meant by Comprehensive Immigration Reform - the IPC seems to have compiled a fairly objective presentation of the contents of S 744. It's nothing to celebrate - in fact, it will only create more hardship and opportunities to imprison and deport people for petty reasons. I'll offer more of a critique soon. First, I've still got a bit more to learn myself, so stay tuned.
BETRAYING THE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS MOVEMENT:
Representing the Senate Gang of Eight, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) are awarded for their efforts on immigration
reform by NCLR’s Janet Murguía, NCLR Board Chair Jorge Plasencia, and
NCLR Board Member Cid Wilson at the 2014 Capital Awards (photo: @SEIU_Eliseo).
What is the purpose of this guide?
The Immigration Policy Center has written this guide to provide
policymakers, the media, and the public with an easy-to-understand guide
to the main components of S. 744 and the purpose behind them.
The guide follows the structure of the bill, with a separate section
addressing the cost-benefit analysis of S. 744, a resources page, and a
What is S. 744?
The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” or S. 744
is a broad-based proposal for reforming the U.S. immigration system
written by a bipartisan group of eight Senators known as the “Gang of
Eight.” Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Richard
Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco
Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) drafted S.
744 in the spring of 2013. The bill addresses all aspects of the
immigration process from border and enforcement issues to legal
immigration reforms. It makes changes to the family and employment-based
visa categories for immigrants, provides critical due-process
protections, increases the availability of nonimmigrant workers to
supplement all sectors of the workforce, and provides legal status to 11
million undocumented immigrants within the United States. The Senators
intended this legislation to address these issues “…by finally
committing the resources needed to secure the border, modernize and
streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough
but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here.”
If enacted, S. 744 would require that a series of enforcement
measures, or “triggers,” go into effect prior to completing the
legalization process. For example, although undocumented immigrants will
be allowed to register for the new Registered Provisional Immigrant
(RPI) program almost immediately, before those in RPI status can apply
to become lawful permanent residents the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) must certify that the Comprehensive Southern Border Security
Strategy is deployed and operational, 700 miles of fencing is complete,
38,405 border patrol agents are deployed, and the E-Verify employment
verification system is in place, among other requirements. The
Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) and
Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act (AgJobs) are
both incorporated into the RPI program, but applicants who qualify under
those provisions will be eligible to obtain legal permanent resident
status more rapidly.
Other aspects of the bill, such as changes in family and
employment-based immigration categories, would go into effect gradually,
giving DHS the opportunity to reduce extensive backlogs that have built
up due to a lack of available visa numbers. One of the key aspects of
the bill, backed by both labor and business, is a new “W” worker program
that could expand over time based on workforce needs. Although W visas
are for a limited duration, workers in W status may eventually be
eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence, marking the first time
that such less-skilled nonimmigrant workers would be allowed to
transition to permanent resident status without an employer’s
sponsorship. S. 744 also expands permanent visas for many foreign
graduates from U.S. universities in the sciences and related fields,
increases over time the number of temporary high-skilled visas based on
demand, and expands opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to
come to the U.S.
S. 744 also addresses long-overdue shortcomings of the immigration
removal, detention, and court processes, including authorizing access to
counsel for certain vulnerable populations, giving immigration judges
more opportunity to make case-by-case determinations on removal
decisions, and streamlining the asylum program. It also increases the
penalties for certain criminal activities, making it more difficult or
impossible to become a legal resident due to drunk-driving convictions,
gang activity, domestic violence, passport fraud, and identity theft.
Finally, S. 744 encourages immigrant integration through more targeted
programs and foundations to help legal immigrants become citizens.
What is the bill’s procedural standing?
The bill was introduced in the Senate on April 16, 2013, by Senator
Schumer of New York and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. A
total of 301 amendments (including the manager’s amendment) were
proposed by committee members. A third of those were considered and 92
were incorporated into the bill by voice vote. On May 21st, S. 744
passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a vote of 13-5. Debate
on the Senate floor began on June 7, 2013. Senators filed more than 500
amendments, but very few actually were offered on the floor or voted
upon due to filibusters. The primary exception, known as the “border
surge” amendment, was introduced by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John
Hoeven (R-ND) and adopted by a vote of 67 to 27. S. 744 as amended
passed the Senate on June 27, 2013 by a vote of 68-32.
What happens now that S. 744 has been passed by the Senate?
Now that the Senate has passed S. 744, it will be sent to the House
of Representatives for consideration. In the case of S. 744, which
contains proposals to raise revenue, the House is unlikely to simply
take up the Senate bill, but could introduce essentially the same bill
on the floor. Members of the House may introduce their own
comprehensive package, which could be taken up; or the House may choose
to consider a number of separate immigration bills that are packaged
together for consideration. If the House passes a bill that differs from
the Senate bill, the two bills will need to be reconciled. This may
happen via a conference committee of appointed Senators and Members of
the House of Representatives who would draft a compromise bill to
reconcile the Senate and House versions.
How is the bill organized?
The bill is broken into five large sections, or titles, each of which
has many subparts. You may hear references to Border Security (Title
I), Immigrant Visas (Title II), Interior Enforcement (Title III),
Reforms to Nonimmigrant Visa Programs (Title IV), and Jobs for Youth
(Title V), or you may hear individual portions of the bill referenced,
such as section 2741.
Title I, Border Security, includes requirements for various border
plans, triggers, and the structure for DHS oversight (sections 1101 to
1121). Title II deals with the legalization of the current undocumented
population, the regulation of future legal immigration flows, and the
integration of newcomers (sections 2101 to 2553). Title III, Interior
Enforcement addresses E-Verify, humanitarian reforms, and due process
protections (sections 3101-3807). Title IV addresses existing visa
programs for nonimmigrant workers and creates a new W visa for
lesser-skilled workers, along with a government office to monitor the
current employment numbers in the United States and adjust visa caps
accordingly (sections 4101-4913). Title V establishes a fund designed to
provide job opportunities for low-income youth (sections 5101 to 5105).
Title I: Border Security
Title one of the bill and its preamble address issues of border
security, the oversight of the border, and the security goals
(“triggers”) that must be achieved before other provisions of the bill
are implemented. This part of the bill establishes that the security of
the border is a primary concern as part of a comprehensive strategy to
ensure a functioning, fair, and effective immigration policy.
Border Enforcement and Triggers
What resources are currently dedicated to border security?
In recent years, the resources dedicated to southern border security
have increased dramatically. Since 1993, when the current strategy of
concentrated border enforcement was first implemented, the annual budget
of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased from $363 million to more than
$3.5 billion. S. 744, as modified by the Corker-Hoeven amendment (also
known as the “border surge” amendment), would lead to an unprecedented
level of spending on border security.
What additional resources does the bill dedicate to border security?
The bill makes enormous investments in border security, including the
following: deploying at least 38,405 full-time Border Patrol agents
along the southern border (including an additional 19,200 more than
currently in place); mandating an electronic exit system at all ports
where Customs and Border Protection agents are deployed; constructing at
least 700 miles of fencing, including double fencing; increasing mobile
surveillance; deploying aircraft and radio communications; constructing
additional Border Patrol stations and operating bases; hiring
additional prosecutors, judges, and staff; providing additional training
to border officers; and increasing prosecutions of illegal border
crossings. The bill specifies mandatory area-specific technology and
infrastructure that includes watch towers, camera systems, mobile
surveillance systems, ground sensors, fiber-optic tank inspection
scopes, portable contraband detectors, radiation isotope identification
devices, mobile automated targeting systems, unmanned aircraft, radar
systems, helicopters, and marine vessels, among other minimum
requirements. The bill mandates 24-hour surveillance of the border
region using mobile, video, and portable systems, as well as unmanned
aircraft, and deploys 1,000 distress beacon stations in areas where
migrant deaths occur. Interior enforcement against visa overstays is
also increased. The Department of Homeland Security is required to
initiate removal (deportation) proceedings, confirm that relief from
removal is pending or granted, or otherwise close 90 percent of the
cases of immigrants who have overstayed their visas by more than 180
days in the last 12 months. A pilot program is created to notify
immigrants that their visas are about to expire.
What will these additional border security measures cost?
Spending on border security will reach record levels. The bill
creates a fund with $46.3 billion of initial funding to implement the
Act. Additional funding will be provided by visa and other user fees,
which may be increased as necessary. $30 billion will be dedicated over a
10-year period to hiring and deploying at least 19,200 additional
Border Patrol agents. $8 billion will be dedicated to the Southern
Border Fencing Strategy, of which $7.5 billion will be for deployment
and maintenance of fencing. $750 million will be dedicated to E-Verify
implementation and expansion. $4.5 billion will be spent to carry out
the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy, and—if necessary—$2
billion will be allocated to implement the recommendations of the
Southern Border Security Commission.
What are the Southern Border Fencing Strategy,
Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy, and Southern Border
The bill requires that the Secretary of Homeland Security submit
within 180 days of enactment of the bill a Southern Border Fencing
Strategy that will identify where 700 miles of fencing, double fencing,
infrastructure, and technology should be deployed. The Secretary must
also produce a Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy within
180 days that will establish “effective control” of the border, which is
defined as persistent surveillance of 100 percent of the border and a
90 percent effectiveness rate in preventing illegal crossings. The bill
mandates the creation of a bipartisan Southern Border Security
Commission that will be responsible for making recommendations and
spending additional funds in order to achieve border-security goals if
the Secretary of Homeland Security cannot certify “effective control” of
all border sectors for at least 1 fiscal year within 5 years of
What goals must be reached before undocumented immigrants can gain legal resident status?
One of the primary purposes of the bill is to provide a path to
Lawful Permanent Residence (a “green card”) for the existing
undocumented population via the new Registered Provisional Immigrant
(RPI) program. Before Registered Provisional Immigrants can apply for
Lawful Permanent Resident status, several security goals, or “triggers,”
must be met: the Southern Border Security Strategy must be deployed and
operational, the Southern Border Fencing Strategy must be implemented
and 700 miles of fencing completed, a mandatory employment verification
system for all employers must be implemented, an electronic exit system
must be implemented at all air and sea ports where Customs and Border
Protection officers are present, and at least 38,405 full-time Border
Patrol agents must be deployed along the southern border.
What oversight and protections will be implemented?
An independent Department of Homeland Security Border Oversight Task
Force, with 29 members appointed by the President, including 12 members
from the northern border region and 17 from the southern border region,
will be established to make recommendations on border-enforcement
policies, the impact of these policies on border communities, the
protection of due-process rights and civil rights of border residents
and migrants, and the training of border personnel, among other duties.
The Secretary of Homeland Security will be required to report to
Congress regarding the effectiveness of border security, the
effectiveness of surveillance, wait times for border crossings, and
border staffing. In addition, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS) Ombudsman’s authority will be expanded to cover all DHS
immigration agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Title II: Immigrant Visas
This title addresses permanent legal status in the United States. It
creates a Registered Provisional Immigrant program for undocumented
immigrants and incorporates versions of the DREAM Act and AgJOBS, for
undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children and for
agricultural workers, respectively. It provides sufficient visas to
erase the current backlog of family and employment-based visa applicants
in the next 7 years, eliminates or changes some family-based
immigration programs, and creates a new merit system that is based on
points accrued through education, employment, and family ties.
Subtitles A and B: The earned legalization programs
These subtitles create paths that allow undocumented immigrants
currently in the United States to show they are eligible to legalize
their immigration status and eventually obtain U.S. citizenship.
The Registered Provisional Immigrant program
Who is eligible and what are the requirements?
The bill will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for Registered
Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status if they have been in the U.S. since
December 31, 2011, have not been convicted of a felony or three or more
misdemeanors, pay their assessed taxes, pass background checks, and pay
application fees and a $1,000 penalty (which may be paid in
installments), among other requirements. Applicants must also be
admissible under current law, which excludes individuals who have
committed certain offenses, participated in terrorist acts, or belong to
other excluded categories. Spouses and children of RPIs would also be
eligible. RPIs will not be eligible for federal means-tested public
benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, and benefits under the
Affordable Care Act, and in general will not receive social security
credit for previous unauthorized employment (except in the case of those
who received a Social Security number prior to 2004).
How does the RPI program reflect the special circumstances of undocumented immigrants?
Many undocumented immigrants eligible for RPI status could be
disqualified based solely on immigration status-related violations of
immigration law. Consequently, certain grounds of inadmissibility or
other factors that would disqualify a large segment of the undocumented
population do not apply to RPI applicants. For example, the 3 and 10
year bars do not apply. Judges also have greater flexibility to make
case-by-case determinations involving minor criminal violations or other
infractions for humanitarian purposes, to promote family unity, or in
the public interest. Individuals who have been deported are generally
ineligible, but may be permitted to re-enter the United States and apply
for RPI status if they meet all other requirements and have close
relatives who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.
When can undocumented immigrants apply for RPI status?
If S. 744 becomes law, there will be a delay between its enactment
and implementation of the RPI program. The bill gives the government a
year to publish regulations governing the program. The official
application period should begin on the date of final publication of
these regulations and is set to run initially for one year, with a
possible extension of an additional 18 months at the discretion of DHS.
In the interim, S. 744 prohibits removal of individuals who are eligible
for RPI status, although it does not stop DHS from putting anyone in
immigration proceedings who has committed crimes or is otherwise
ineligible for status.
How long does RPI status last?
The initial grant of RPI status is good for six years. RPI status may
be renewed for six years if the immigrant has remained regularly
employed, which allows for gaps of up to 60 days between employment
periods. If the immigrant cannot show continuous employment, he or she
must demonstrate income or resources not less than 100 percent of the
poverty level. Note that the 2013 federal poverty level for a family of
four is $23,550 per year. There are exemptions to the employment
requirement for full-time enrollment in school, maternity leave, medical
leave, physical or mental disabilities, children under 21, and extreme
hardship. Applicants for RPI renewal must also undergo another
background check, pay taxes, and pay any remaining balance of the $1,000
RPI penalty, among other requirements.
When will Registered Provisional Immigrants be eligible for Lawful Permanent Residence?
Registered Provisional Immigrants will be able to apply for Lawful
Permanent Residence (a “green card”), but they must go to the “back of
the line” and have been in RPI status for at least 10 years. They will
receive permanent residency only after all other applications submitted
before the enactment of the bill have been processed. Like the RPI
requirements, the requirements for permanent residence will include
maintaining regular employment, which allows for gaps of up to 60 days
at a time. In the alternative, if an applicant cannot show regular
employment he or she would have to show an average income or resources
of 125 percent of the poverty line during the RPI period. Exceptions are
made for full-time students, children under 21, physical or mental
disability, and showings of extreme hardship. Applicants would also have
to show that they have maintained RPI status, paid taxes, meet English
proficiency requirements (or be pursuing a course of study in English),
pass an additional background check, and pay application fees and an
additional $1,000 penalty.
When will Registered Provisional Immigrants be eligible for naturalization?
Registered Provisional Immigrants who have been lawfully present for
10 years before becoming permanent residents will be able to apply for
U.S. citizenship after maintaining permanent resident status for 3
years. Therefore, undocumented immigrants who legalize via the RPI track
will have to wait at least 13 years to become citizens.
What background checks and security measures are part of the RPI process?
RPI applicants must submit biographic and biometric data
(fingerprints) to allow DHS to conduct national security and
law-enforcement checks. Applicants may be required to appear for a
personal interview to determine eligibility. They must pass an
additional background check when they renew their RPI status, and
nationals of countries that are deemed a threat to national security may
be required to pass additional screenings.
Undocumented immigrants who arrived as children
Is the DREAM Act part of the RPI program?
Yes. A version of the DREAM Act has been incorporated into the RPI
program to address the special situation of many undocumented immigrants
who entered the U.S. as children. DREAMers, however, are placed on a
more accelerated path to permanent legal status and citizenship.
How do DREAMers qualify for RPI status? Is there a different timeline for DREAMers?
DREAMers apply for RPI status under the same application process as
other undocumented immigrants. However, they may apply for Lawful
Permanent Residence after five years in RPI status. To qualify for this
accelerated program, an applicant must have entered the U.S. before he
or she turned 16, have been in RPI status for at least five years, have
earned a high-school diploma or GED, have completed at least two years
of college or four years of military service, and have passed an English
test and background checks, among other requirements. DREAMers may
apply for citizenship as soon as they receive their green card.
Undocumented agricultural workers
Is there a special program for farm workers?
Yes, a special path to legalization based on the AgJOBS bill is
provided for agricultural workers.Undocumented agricultural workers will
be eligible for an immigrant status called a blue card. To qualify they
must have performed at least 575 hours or 100 work days of agricultural
employment during a two-year period ending December 31, 2012, and must
pay a penalty and pass background checks. They must meet the same
criminal and admissibility requirements as applicants for RPI status.
They can be in blue-card status for up to eight years after regulations
are published, and will not be eligible for federal means-tested public
benefits. Blue-card holders may apply for Lawful Permanent Resident
status five years after enactment of the bill if they have continued to
work in agriculture, paid their taxes, and pay a fine. They may apply
for citizenship after being permanent residents for five years.
Why are there different programs for DREAMers and Agricultural Workers?
S. 744 recognizes that legalization is not a one-size-fits-all
proposition and consequently tailors programs to meet the
characteristics of two important subsets within the undocumented
population—young people who have grown up in the United States and
therefore already meet many of the basic requirements for legalization,
such as English fluency and knowledge of civics, and agricultural
workers, who are offered an incentive to remain in agricultural work
through an accelerated legalization process.
Subtitle C: Legal Immigration Reforms
This subtitle lays out reforms and new components of the immigration
system and addresses backlogs and immigration levels. In particular, it
creates a new merit-based point system with two tracks that award points
to immigrants with educational credentials, work experience, and other
qualifications. It will function alongside the current family-based
immigration and employment-based immigration programs, which allow U.S.
companies, citizens, and legal permanent residents to file petitions for
relatives or employees.
The merit-based point system (Track 1)
What is the merit-based point system and how does it work?
This merit-based point system allows foreign nationals to obtain
Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States by accumulating points
mainly based on their skills, employment history, and educational
credentials. At the same time, the current immigrant visa categories for
siblings and adult married children of U.S. citizens, as well as the
diversity visa program, are eliminated and replaced by this system.
How many visas will be allocated each year to the merit-based point system?
Between 120,000 and 250,000 visas would be allocated each year based
on the point system. The visa cap would fluctuate using a formula that
takes into account the number of visas requested the previous year and
the unemployment rate.
What are tier 1 and tier 2 and how do they work?
The system would be divided into two “tiers,” tier one visas would be
designated for higher-skilled immigrants with advanced educational
credentials and experience, and tier two visas would be reserved for
less-skilled immigrants. Beginning in fiscal year 2018, 50 percent of
the visas will be allocated to applicants with the highest number of
points under tier 1, and 50 percent will be allocated to applicants with
the highest number of points allocated under tier 2.
How will points be allocated?
The allocation of points in both tiers is based on a combination of
factors, including education, employment, occupation, civic involvement,
English language proficiency, family ties, age, and nationality. For
example, 15 points are allotted for a doctoral degree, 3 points for each
year of work experience in a highly-skilled job, 10 points for being a
primary caregiver, and 8 points for being under the age of 24. There is
no “passing score” that needs to be reached to qualify. However, the
system prioritizes immigrants who are young, educated, experienced,
skilled, and fluent in English. Family ties and regional diversity are
less-heavily weighted. Ten points maximum of a total of 100 are assigned
based on family ties, and 5 points are given to nationals of countries
with low immigration to the United States. Years spent working in the
U.S. as a W nonimmigrant worker can be credited towards a merit-based
application under Track 1, tier 2.
How will these new point systems affect immigration flows?
Proponents of a point system have argued that we must move away from
family-based immigration to a system that is tied to economic necessity.
The merit-based point system is designed to balance a range of factors
in assessing who should be admitted to the United States, but it remains
an experiment. Supporters argue that similar systems have been used in
other major industrialized nations. Critics have pointed out that it
puts some applicants at a disadvantage, such as women, people who work
in the informal economy or do unpaid work, relatives of U.S. citizens
with insufficient formal education and employment history, older adults,
and applicants from less-developed countries. An amendment offered by
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and adopted in committee requires the
Comptroller General to issue a report on the point system’s impact on
vulnerable populations over time.
Track two merit-based system
How will the track two system clear the backlog of pending visas?
The current immigrant visa system has created enormous backlogs of
applicants, who sometimes have to wait decades to get an immigrant visa.
This track will clear the backlog of applicants by allocating visas to
applicants with pending applications over the course of 7 years starting
in 2015, allowing these immigrants to qualify for Lawful Permanent
Who can obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status under this track?
Starting October 1, 2014, family- or employment-based applicants
whose applications have been pending five years or more under the
current system will become eligible for a visa. The Secretary of DHS is
authorized to devise a process for distributing these visas over a
seven-year period. In addition, the track two merit-based system makes
visas available to RPIs who have maintained that status for at least 10
Why is the track two system considered a “merit-based” system for visa allocation?
It is critical to the authors of the bill that the visa backlog be
eliminated and that those who followed the rules receive legal status
before RPIs can qualify for green cards. This section essentially ties
those programs together, authorizing DHS to do what it takes to
eliminate the backlogs within seven years. In the meantime, RPIs must
earn their green cards through employment, learning English, paying
taxes, and other contributions to the country.
What are the main changes to the family-based immigration system?
Petitions for spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents
under the current family-based system will be considered immediate
relatives, making them exempt from current visa caps and immediately
eligible for green cards. There will no longer be an immigrant category
for siblings of U.S. citizens, and visas will no longer be available to
married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens who are over 31 years of age.
These relatives would have to apply under the new point system or find
another avenue in order to immigrate. The annual worldwide level of
family-based immigrant visas will remain at 480,000 per year, minus the
visas assigned to immediate relatives the previous year, but not less
than 161,000 per year starting 18 months after enactment.
How does S. 744 address existing problems in the family-based immigration system?
S. 744 makes significant improvements to the family-sponsored
immigration system, but does not address all criticisms. Notable
improvements include eliminating the current backlogs in the system by
2021, recapturing unused visas from previous years, allowing parents of
U.S. citizens to bring their minor children at the time they immigrate,
and allowing for immediate reunification for spouses and minor children
of Lawful Permanent Residents. On the other hand, the bill eliminates
the categories for siblings and adult married children of U.S. citizens
if they are over 30. The bill also does not specifically allow U.S.
citizens or LPRs to petition for green cards for their same-sex spouses.
However, since the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down by
the Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Windsor
June 26, 2013, same-sex couples have been eligible for immigration
benefits for the first time without any change to current immigration
What are the main changes to employment-based immigration?
Country-specific limits on employment-based immigrant visas, which
have caused enormous backlogs for applicants from large countries like
China and India, are eliminated. This will allow applicants from these
countries equal access to the available employment-based visas. Certain
highly skilled and exceptionally talented immigrants are also exempted
from the worldwide cap, such as those who have extraordinary ability or
advanced degrees in STEM fields from U.S. universities. STEM graduates
would also be exempt from the labor certification requirement. The
annual worldwide cap on employment-based immigrant visas will remain at
140,000 per year.
How does S. 744 address existing problems in the employment-based immigration system?
Some of the provisions in S. 744 would result in meaningful
improvements in the employment-based system. As mentioned above, the
bill will eliminate the current backlogs of pending applications in the
system by 2021, and will allow the recapture of unused visas from
previous years, in addition to preventing future backlogs of applicants
from oversubscribed countries by eliminating country-specific caps.
Highly skilled and very talented immigrants will be exempt from the cap,
including immigrants of extraordinary ability, multinational
executives, graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM
fields, and physicians who fill special medical needs such as working
in medically underserved areas. Spouses and children of employment-based
immigrants will also be cap exempt, which means that each of the
140,000 visas allocated will go to an applicant hired for a job.
Integration into society
How does the bill help new immigrants integrate into society?
Compared to reform proposals from 2006 and 2007, S. 744 contains
stronger devices designed to facilitate immigrants’ language
acquisition, civic engagement, financial self-sufficiency, and upward
economic mobility. In particular, the bill creates three new
organizational structures: the Office of Citizenship and New Americans,
the Task Force on New Americans, and the United States Citizenship
What is the Office of Citizenship and New Americans?
This office will be responsible for promoting training on citizenship
responsibilities for new immigrants, providing advice on integrating
immigrants into society, establishing goals for immigrant integration,
and providing information about English and citizenship education
What is the Task Force on New Americans?
The Task Force will coordinate the federal response to
immigrant-integration issues and advise on how to carry out policies and
goals concerning access to education, workforce training, health care
policy, access to naturalization, and community development.
What is the United States Citizenship Foundation?
The Foundation will expand citizenship-preparation programs,
coordinate integration programs, and provide assistance to individuals
applying for RPI status, LPR status, and naturalization.
Other changes to immigrant and non-immigrant visa programs
What is the new nonimmigrant agricultural W visa program?
This title creates a new nonimmigrant, less-skilled W visa
agricultural worker program. (Note that Title 2 describes the
agricultural W visa program while the non-agricultural W visa is
described in Title 4.) When this program is operational it will replace
the H-2A agricultural worker program, which has been criticized for
being bureaucratic and inflexible. The program is innovative in that
foreign workers enter the U.S. to work for employers designated by the
Department of Agriculture, and may leave one job to go work for other
designated agricultural employers. Designated agricultural employers
must perform recruitment activities to show there are no available U.S.
workers before W visa workers can be employed. W-2 visas are issued to
contract employees and W-3 visas are issued to “at-will” employees. W
visas are approved for 3 years and renewable for another 3. Employers
must pay the W workers the higher of the minimum wage or specified wage
rates, must generally provide housing or a housing allowance, and must
provide U.S. workers the same benefits, wages, and working conditions.
After the 5th year of the program the W agricultural visa cap will be
set by the Department of Agriculture using a calculation that takes into
account unemployment rates, market demand, and other factors.
What other changes are made to the visa programs?
Various changes are also made to the V visa program, including making
it available to siblings of citizens and permanent residents.
Additional protections are provided for children of the beneficiaries of
visa petitions, stepchildren, widows, and orphans. The EB-5 investor
visa program and the Conrad-30 J waiver program for physicians working
in medically underserved areas are modified and made permanent.
Title III: Interior Enforcement
This title addresses DHS’s ability to enforce immigration laws while
correcting many procedural problems with the immigration system. Central
to Title III is a phased in, mandatory E-Verify employment eligibility
verification program. The bill also addresses important refugee and
asylum issues, enhances due-process protections in the immigration
increases the oversight of detention facilities, and toughens penalties for gang-related convictions and other offenses.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an internet-based system that allows businesses to
determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United
States by comparing information from an employee’s Employment
Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records.
Because the system is not currently mandatory, only around 7 percent of
employers in the U.S. are currently enrolled in E-Verify.
What are the main changes to E-Verify in the bill?
Under S. 744, E-Verify will be expanded and made mandatory for all
employers over a period of five years. The bill requires identity
verification through the use of enhanced fraud-proof documents, such as
tamper- and identity-theft resistant Social Security cards, and the use
of a photo tool to allow employers to verify an individual’s identity.
Employers are required to confirm identity and employment authorization
within three business days after the employee accepts the offer of
employment. A mandatory entry and exit system will be implemented at all
air and sea ports to help ensure that foreign nationals are leaving the
United States as required. The bill will take precedence over local and
state laws related to the hiring of foreign nationals, creating a
uniform national standard. However, the bill does not
allow the creation of a national identification card.
What are the sanctions for those who do not comply with the new requirements?
Employers who knowingly hire, recruit, refer, or continue to employ
an unauthorized immigrant or fail to comply with E-Verify requirements
are subject to increased civil or criminal penalties. Civil fines are
increased up to $25,000 per violation for employers that have committed
multiple violations related to hiring unauthorized immigrants. Criminal
penalties include two years in prison for employers who have repeatedly
hired unauthorized workers, in addition to fines of up to $10,000.
Employers who comply with the system’s requirements in good faith will
not be penalized if DHS later determines that they have employed an
What are the main protections for employers and workers regarding the implementation of E-Verify?
The bill requires employers to use the E-Verify system for work
authorization verification only, and prohibits its use for
discriminatory purposes. The system will be subject to regular
assessments and audits to detect misuse, discrimination, fraud, identity
theft, and civil rights or privacy violations. Workers will have direct
access to their information in the system, and will have the right to
appeal a determination that they are not work authorized. Reports on the
effects of the system on employers, U.S. nationals, and work-authorized
individuals will be required.
When will the use of E-Verify become mandatory?
Generally speaking, all employers must use the E-Verify system within
five years. Employers with more than 5,000 employees must use it no
later than two years after publication of the regulations. Employers
with more than 500 employees must use it within three years, with an
exception for agricultural employers, who are given four years. All
remaining employers subject to mandatory E-Verify must use the system
within four years, with an exception for Indian tribal government
employers, who are given five years, and for employment that is “casual,
sporadic, irregular, or intermittent.”
Does E-Verify continue to pose concerns even in the context of a comprehensive reform package?
As with the current I-9 form process, which requires an applicant to
show proof of identification and work authorization in order to be
employed in the U.S., E-Verify is a system for validating work
authorization. As a web-based system that relies on the integrity of
other databases for its information, it has the potential to be more
reliable than a human being merely glancing at documents, but it also
has the potential to create significant confusion and delay for some
employers and employees. S. 744 attempts to balance those possibilities,
putting an emphasis on creating a more reliable database, offering
clear safeguards for dealing with mistakes, and protections for privacy.
Moreover, because it is tied to the implementation of a legalization
program, it will be far more likely that the vast majority of people
subject to E-Verify will be work authorized.
Protections for Asylees and Other Vulnerable Populations
What improvements does S. 744 make to the asylum process?
Currently, the law requires that asylees apply for asylum within one
year of arrival in the United States. This requirement may prevent
immigrants with legitimate claims of persecution from gaining asylum
protection if their applications were delayed due to fear, lack of
information, or other circumstances beyond their control. The bill
eliminates the one-year deadline. The bill also eliminates barriers to
family reunification and authorizes asylum officers to conduct a full
asylum interview and grant asylum to asylum‐seekers identified at or
near a U.S. border after they have successfully passed a credible fear
interview, rather than sending them to the immigration courts. In the
interest of efficiency, the President, in consultation with the
Secretary of State and DHS, may designate certain persecuted groups with
common characteristics whose resettlement in the United States is
justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national
interest as meeting the requirements of refugee status. The bill also
clarifies that asylum applicants are entitled to work permits within 180
days of filing an asylum application.
What protections does the bill include for victims of human trafficking and workplace abuse?
S. 744 includes expanded protections against human smuggling and
trafficking. Employers recruiting workers abroad are required to
register with the Secretary of Labor and post a bond. Employers must
disclose the conditions of the visa and the work contract to the worker
and are prohibited from charging the workers recruitment fees. S. 744
expands the availability of the U visa to include victims of serious
workplace abuse, slavery, or other serious violations of workers’
rights. The bill increases penalties for human smuggling activities and
establishes a pilot program to prevent child trafficking. Protections
specific to J visa exchange program workers are provided, including
disclosures of the terms of employment, payment of bonds by program
sponsors, and audits of the exchange programs.
What other protections does the bill have for other vulnerable immigrants?
The bill provides additional protections for immigrants who are
battered by their spouses and for other vulnerable individuals. Battered
immigrants will be eligible to receive certain public housing, and will
be eligible for work authorization while their VAWA petitions are
pending. The bill also permits qualified stateless individuals to apply
for Lawful Permanent Resident status.
Protections for Immigrants in Removal Proceedings
How does the bill protect the rights of immigrants who are in court proceedings?
Under current law, immigrants in removal proceedings do not have the
right to appointed counsel if they cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The
bill changes this in the case of unaccompanied minor children,
immigrants with serious mental disabilities, and other particularly
vulnerable individuals, and requires that a lawyer be appointed to
represent them. The bill requires that immigrants in proceedings have
access to evidence in the government’s files and adds additional
immigration judges, additional court staff, and additional training
programs for judges and staff.
How does the bill protect the rights of immigrants who are detained by the government?
The bill limits the use of solitary confinement and bars its use with
children and the seriously mentally ill. In addition, the bill provides
for secure, humane alternatives to detention such as electronic
monitoring, increases oversight of detention facilities, mandates prompt
custody determinations and bond hearings, and provides guidelines for
the detention of the parents and caregivers of children.
How do these changes improve the administration of the removal system?
The bipartisan sponsors of S. 744 recognized that one of the
consequences of the broken immigration system has been the deterioration
of due-process protections and a severely strained immigration court
system. The changes proposed to both systems begin to address
long-standing criticisms of the government’s failure to adequately use
alternatives to detention, to provide sufficient resources to
immigration courts to process cases, and to ensure humane treatment of
those in the government’s custody. Justifications for these measures
include not only ensuring appropriate standards of treatment, but
efficiency and cost arguments related to the best way to manage a highly
Penalties for Crimes
What is inadmissibility and deportability?
Non-citizens may be found inadmissible or deportable and removed from
the U.S. if they have committed certain offenses. Immigrants who have
been admitted to the United States can be subject to deportation, or
found to be deportable. Immigrants who are applying for admission to the
U.S., or are applying for lawful status in the U.S., may be found to be
How does S. 744 increase penalties for immigrants involved in gangs and other criminal activities?
The bill makes immigrants inadmissible or deportable if they have
been convicted of an offense that involves participating in a street
gang and promoting the criminal activity of the gang. Undocumented
immigrants involved in gangs will also be ineligible for Registered
Provisional Immigrant status. The bill makes immigrants inadmissible if
they have been convicted of a crime of domestic violence, stalking,
child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment for which they served
at least one year in prison, or if they were convicted of more than one
such crime. In addition, during committee mark up, Senator Grassley
(R-IA) proposed, and the committee adopted, an amendment that makes
three drunk-driving offenses punishable as an aggravated felony.[i]
Criminal penalties for illegal entry, for visa fraud, passport fraud, and passport trafficking are also increased.
Title IV: Reforms to Nonimmigrant Visa Programs
This title reforms the nonimmigrant visa programs for skilled workers
and creates new programs for less-skilled workers, investors, and
visitors. The visa cap on the H-1B skilled-worker program is raised
while worker protections are increased. A new W nonimmigrant visa for
less-skilled workers creates a new process for hiring foreign labor. A
new nonimmigrant investor visa and an immigrant investor visa are also
created. These employment-related programs aim to ensure that the U.S.
economy has access to the labor and investment that it needs to drive
growth and innovation, while protecting workers from exploitation.
Nonimmigrant Skilled Worker Visas
What are H-1B and L-1 visas?
Nonimmigrant visas are short-term visas for foreign workers who do
not intend to stay in the U.S. permanently. The U.S. economy has a
critical need for temporary highly skilled workers, particularly in the
fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Nonimmigrant skilled worker visas allow foreign workers with advanced
skills to come to the U.S. temporarily to fill these needs. The most
common skilled worker visas are the H-1B and L-1
The H-1B visa is for foreign workers with at least a bachelor’s degree
who come to work temporarily in a specialty occupation. The L-1 visa is
for foreign workers who have gained essential experience abroad with a
multinational employer that needs to transfer them here temporarily to
assist in their operations in the United States.
How does S. 744 change the H-1B and L-1 visa programs?
The bill raises the annual H-1B visa cap, raises H-1B wage
requirements, and requires employers to make significant efforts to
recruit U.S. workers. The current H-1B visa cap of 65,000 is replaced
with a cap that fluctuates between 115,000 and 180,000 based on a market
escalator formula that considers employer demand and unemployment data.
The lowest level wage that must be paid to H-1B workers is raised by
narrowing the range of wages that employers must pay H-1B workers.
Employers are required to place mandatory ads and perform other good
faith recruitment to find U.S. workers before hiring an H-1B worker.
Employers cannot intentionally displace U.S. workers and must pay an
additional fee to place an H-1B worker with another company. Heavy users
of the H-1B program, such as H-1B dependent employers or H-1B skilled
worker dependent employers, have additional obligations, such as
offering the job to U.S. workers first and a prohibition on having more
than 50 percent H-1B or L-1 workers in their workforce. The bill also
makes it easier for H-1B workers to change employers and limits
employers’ ability to place L-1 workers with other employers.
Nonimmigrant Non-Agricultural Less-Skilled Worker Visas
What is the new W non-agricultural visa program?
The bill creates a W nonimmigrant visa for less-skilled,
non-seasonal, nonagricultural workers, such as workers in janitorial and
hospitality industries. (Note that Title 4 describes the
non-agricultural W visa program while the agricultural W visa is
described in Title 2.) W workers are admitted for a three-year period,
renewable for an additional three-year period, and must work for
registered non-agricultural employers in registered positions. The
program will be supervised by a new entity, the Bureau of Immigration
and Labor Market Research, which will designate shortage occupations and
provide data and recommendations. The annual W visa cap for registered
non-agricultural positions will fluctuate between 20,000 and 200,000,
and employers must pay the W workers the actual wage or the prevailing
wage for the occupation, whichever is higher. The cap for the
construction industry will be 15,000. Employers are required to recruit
U.S. workers for their positions, attest that working conditions of U.S.
workers will not be adversely affected, and attest that there are no
U.S. workers available for the jobs. A complaint process will be
established to report violations, and penalties will include back wages,
benefits, and civil penalties.
Why is the W visa different from past efforts to create lower-skilled worker programs?
The W visa program is the result of extensive negotiations between
labor and business groups to create a program that is simple and
efficient enough to meet business needs while protecting workers’ wages
and working conditions. It is very different from previous temporary
worker programs because it allows workers to leave their jobs to work
for other employers registered with the program, creating a pool of
labor that is responsive to labor market needs. W workers could also
eventually apply for Lawful Permanent Residence using Tier 2 of the new
Track 1 merit-based point system, marking the first time that such
workers would be allowed to transition to permanent resident status
without employer sponsorship.
What are the new investor visas created by S. 744?
The bill aims to attract additional investment and create jobs in the
U.S. through new investor visa programs. It creates a nonimmigrant
investor visa, or X visa, which is for entrepreneurs whose businesses
have attracted at least $100,000 in investment, or have created no fewer
than three jobs during a two-year period prior to the application and
generated $250,000 in annual revenue. This is a temporary nonimmigrant
visa that is granted for three years. The bill also creates an EB-6
immigrant investor visa that leads to Lawful Permanent Residence. This
visa is for entrepreneurs who have a significant ownership in a U.S.
business and have had a significant role in the start-up of the
business. The business must have created at least five jobs and must
have received at least $500,000 in venture capital or investment, or
created five jobs and generated $750,000 in annual revenues in the prior
Other Nonimmigrant Visas
What other changes are made to nonimmigrant visa programs?
The bill also creates and changes several other visa programs. It
allows F-1 student visa holders to have dual intent. This means that
students coming to the U.S. are allowed to have the intent to stay
either temporarily or permanently. The bill creates a nonimmigrant
retiree visa for foreign nationals over 55 who do not work, have health
insurance, and have $500,000 to buy a residence in the U.S. The bill
creates a Canadian retiree tourist visa that will allow Canadians over
age 55 with a residence in Canada to enter the United States for up to
240 days. The bill modifies the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program, which is
for non-agricultural, less-skilled workers who fill temporary,
peak-load, or seasonal needs. It requires that H-2B
be paid the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to U.S. workers,
whichever is higher, and requires that employers attest that they do not
displace U.S. workers. The bill also allows employees of multinational
corporations to enter the United States for 90 days to oversee
operations or for 180 days for leadership and development training.
Title V: Jobs for Youth
The Corker-Hoeven amendment to S. 744 added Title V, which
establishes a Youth Jobs Fund that will be dedicated to creating
employment opportunities for low-income youth.
Youth Jobs Fund
What is the Youth Jobs Fund?
The bill would establish a fund that will provide summer and
year-round employment opportunities for low-income youths ages 15-25. It
will provide grants to states with approved employment plans that
comply with labor laws.
How is the fund financed?
The bill allocates $1.5 billion for the fund in 2014. This funding
will be recouped via a $10 surcharge on employment-based immigrant and
Cost-benefit Analysis of S. 744
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint
Committee on Taxation (JCT), the fiscal and economic effects of the
Senate immigration reform bill (S. 744) would be overwhelmingly
positive. If enacted, the bill would help reduce the federal budget
deficit by approximately $1 trillion over 20 years, would boost the U.S.
economy as whole without negatively affecting U.S. workers, and would
greatly reduce future undocumented immigration. These are the
conclusions laid out in three reports released in June and July 2013. On
June 18, the CBO issued two reports on the version of S. 744 that was
reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 28. The first one
analyzes (or “scores”) the fiscal impact of the bill over the next 20 years and the second one
focuses on the impact that some aspects of the bill would have on the U.S. economy. On July 3, the CBO issued a revised
score on the version of the bill that passed the Senate on June 27.
This version includes the Corker-Hoeven “border surge” amendment, which
calls for a significant increase in border-enforcement spending.
What is a CBO score and what are its main implications?
Nearly every bill that is approved by a full committee of either
house of Congress is subject to a formal cost estimate by the CBO. The
report produced as a result of this analysis is known as the CBO
“score.” The purpose of this analysis is to aid in economic and
budgetary decisions on a wide assortment of programs covered by the
federal budget. In general, the CBO estimates what the net fiscal impact
of a bill would be, considering both the costs and the benefits
associated with its implementation.
The CBO analysis of S. 744: What is at stake?
S. 744 would enable millions of undocumented immigrants to earn legal
status and would revamp the legal immigration system. It also proposes
new border and interior enforcement measures. All these components would
have an effect on government finances and are therefore analyzed
separately by the CBO. The bill would result in additional government
revenue and new public expenses. At the same time, the different
components of the bill would clearly have an impact on the economy. The
CBO score may affect the type of amendments offered to the bill, any
increase or decrease of programs offered, and the rhetorical arguments
used to support or oppose the bill.
How would S. 744 affect the federal budget in the first 10 years after enactment?
According to the CBO’s revised score
enacting S. 744 would lead to a net savings of about $135 billion over
the 2014-2023 period. This figure results from subtracting the costs of
implementing the legislation ($23 billion) from the expected reduction
in the federal budget deficit ($158 billion).
How would S. 744 affect the federal budget in the second 10 years after enactment?
S.744 would produce net savings of at least $905 billion over the 2024-2033 period. This figure results from:
What explains the overall fiscal gains that would result from S. 744?
- Subtracting the costs of implementing the legislation (between
$75 billion and $80 billion) from the expected reduction in the
federal budget deficit ($685 billion), which yields net savings in
the range of $605 billion to $610 billion. These figures are
contained in the CBO’s revised score of the bill.
- Adding an additional $300 billion in deficit reduction stemming
from broader effects of the bill on the U.S. economy that are not
considered in the CBO’s cost estimate. This figure is contained in
the CBO’s economic impact
analysis of the bill that was reported out of the Senate Judiciary
Committee. According to the revised cost estimate, the economic effects
of the bill passed by the Senate would differ only slightly from
those estimated for the earlier version of the bill.
The net fiscal gains ($1 trillion over the 20-year period analyzed)
would result from the fact that federal revenues would exceed spending.
The boost in revenues is mostly attributable to the expansion of the
size of the labor force and secondarily to the legalization of current
undocumented workers. These changes would lead to additional collection
of income and payroll taxes.
How would S. 744 affect the U.S. economy?
S. 744 would boost the output of the U.S. economy. According to CBO estimates, the bill would increase
the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 3.3 percent ($700 billion) in 2023 and 5.4 percent ($1.4 trillion) in 2033.
How would S. 744 affect wages?
S. 744 would produce an increase
in average wages by 2025. The CBO anticipates “that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower
in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher
2033 under the legislation.” The initial miniscule drop in average
wages would be fueled largely by the presence in the labor force of new
immigrants who make less than the average wage. According to the CBO,
“the estimated reductions in average wages…do not necessarily imply that
current U.S. residents would be worse off, on average, under the
legislation than they would be under current law.”
How would S. 744 affect unemployment?
The CBO predicts
that S. 744 “would raise the unemployment rate over the next five years
by up to roughly 0.1 percentage point,” but would “have no effect on
the unemployment rate after 2020.” The initial marginal increase in the
unemployment rate would occur as “the economy adjusted to the increased
inflow of immigrants.”
To what extent would S. 744 deter illegal immigration?
According to the CBO’s revised score
under S. 744 the net annual inflow of unauthorized residents would
decrease “by between one-third and one-half compared with the projected
net inflow under current law.” However, the methodology behind the CBO’s
estimate is unknown. It appears that the CBO underestimates the impact
of S. 744 in reducing illegal immigration because it looks only at
measures in the bill designed to deter illegal border crossings and
employment in the United States. It fails to account for the incentives
built into future-flow programs to encourage people to migrate legally
and to depart on time. Taking these incentives into account, illegal
immigration should decline significantly as new worker programs become
How does the CBO estimate the size of future unauthorized flows?
The anticipated one-third to one-half reduction in the net annual
flow of unauthorized residents is based on two main assumptions: (a)
that enforcement would make it more difficult for unauthorized
immigrants to immigrate; and (b) that employment-verification
requirements would make it difficult for unauthorized residents to find
employment while unauthorized. However, the CBO does not present its
methodology in detail.
What does the CBO fail to include when estimating the magnitude of future unauthorized flows?
The CBO does not account for the fact that the bill provides a
structure of positive incentives for people to come to (or stay in) the
a) Through the new W visa, the bill
creates stronger channels for lower-skilled workers when the economy is
growing. This is crucial because past trends show that illegal
immigration increases when the economy is expanding.
b) Workers on nonimmigrant visas would
have the opportunity to apply for a green card through the point system
(tier 2). This would lessen the likelihood of temporary workers staying
in the country illegally after their nonimmigrant visas expire.
c) The tier 2 track of the new point
system would make available between 60,000 and 125,000 visas each fiscal
year for immigrants in high-demand less-skilled occupations.
d) The cap for employment-based immigrant
visas allocated to “other workers” (less-skilled workers) would be
e) Under the Senate bill, spouses and
minor children of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) would have an
expedited process for immigrating to the United States. This would serve
as an additional incentive to avoid illegal immigration related to
Based on these mechanisms, we can anticipate that these measures
would reduce the number of unauthorized immigrants at a much higher rate
than the CBO estimate.