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Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (March 2011)

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11041434 (posted Apr. 14, 2011)"

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in March 2011:

Senate Bills

English Language Unity Act of 2011 (S. 503)
Introduced by Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) on 3/8/11
Summary: To declare English as the official language of the United States, to establish a uniform English language rule for naturalization, and to avoid misconstructions of the English language texts of the laws of the United States, pursuant to Congress' powers to provide for the general welfare of the United States and to establish a uniform rule of naturalization under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution.

S. 565
Introduced by Sen. Kerry (D-MA) on 3/14/11
Summary: To establish an employment-based immigrant visa for alien entrepreneurs who have received significant capital from investors to establish a business in the United States.

SCAAP Reimbursement Protection Act of 2011 (S. 638)
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 3/17/11
Summary: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for compensation to states incarcerating undocumented aliens charged with a felony or two or more misdemeanors.

SCAAP Reauthorization Act (S. 639)
Introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on 3/17/11
Summary: To authorize to be appropriated $950,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2012 through 2015 to carry out the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.

Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2011 (S. 656)
Introduced by Sen. Reed (D-RI) on 3/28/11
Summary: Adjusts to permanent resident status a qualifying Liberian national who: (1) has been continuously present in the United States between January 1, 2011, through the date of status adjustment application; or (2) is the spouse, child, or unmarried son or daughter of such an alien. Requires adjustment applications to be filed not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act.

Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 (S. 723)
Introduced by Sen. Vitter (R-LA) on 4/5/11
Summary: To amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.

House Bills

Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act (H.R. 915)
Introduced by Rep. Cuellar (D-TX) on 03/03/11
Summary: To establish a Border Enforcement Security Task Force program to enhance border security by fostering coordinated efforts among Federal, State, and local border and law enforcement officials to protect United States border cities and communities from trans-national crime, including violence associated with drug trafficking, arms smuggling, illegal alien trafficking and smuggling, violence, and kidnapping along and across the international borders of the United States, and for other purposes.

Criminal Alien Removal Act of 2011 (H.R. 932)
Introduced by Rep. Rooney (R-FL) on 03/03/11
Summary: Directs the DHS Secretary to carry out a Criminal Alien Program to: (1) identify incarcerated criminal aliens, (2) ensure that such aliens are not released into the community, and (3) remove such aliens from the United States upon release. Makes a state that does not cooperate with the Secretary to carry out the Program ineligible for Department of Justice (DOJ) law enforcement grant programs (including the criminal alien incarceration program under the Immigration and Nationality Act). Authorizes appropriate state officials to: (1) hold an illegal alien for up to 14 days after completion of the term of incarceration in order to effectuate transfer to federal custody if the alien is removable or not lawfully present in the United States, and (2) issue a detainer permitting an alien who completes a term of incarceration to be held until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes the alien into custody.

Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act (H.R. 933)
Introduced by Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) on 03/03/11
Summary: Sets forth detention standards for immigration detention facilities. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to: (1) convene a detention advisory committee; (2) promulgate regulations regarding detainee care and custody; (3) implement secure alternatives to detention programs under which eligible aliens are released under supervision, assistance, and monitoring that ensure their appearance at all immigration interviews, appointments, and hearings; and (4) provide protective detention alternatives for specified categories of vulnerable aliens.

H.R. 959
Introduced by Rep. Quigley (D-IL) on 03/08/11
Summary: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the requirements of the visa waiver program and for other purposes.

English Language Unity Act of 2011 (H.R. 997)
Introduced by Rep. King (R-IA) on 03/10/11
Summary: To declare English as the official language of the United States, to establish a uniform English language rule for naturalization, and to avoid misconstructions of the English language texts of the laws of the United States, pursuant to Congress' powers to provide for the general welfare of the United States and to establish a uniform rule of naturalization under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution.

Unlawful Border Entry Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 1091)
Introduced by Rep. Hunter (R-CA) on 3/15/11
Summary: Amends IIRIRA to authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to construct an additional 350 or more miles of reinforced fencing along the southwest border. Prohibits fencing or any other similar physical infrastructure along the southwest border in existence on December 31, 2010, from being considered in meeting such mileage requirement. Requires the Secretary to submit a plan to Congress to gain operational control of any sector of the southwest border in which there has been a 40% increase over the preceding fiscal year of DHS apprehensions of individuals unlawfully entering the United States.

Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 1134)
Introduced by Rep. Hunter (R-CA) on 3/16/11
Summary: To amend Section 241(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to deny assistance under such section to a state or political subdivision of a state that prohibits its officials from taking certain actions with respect to immigration.

Accountability in Immigrant Repatriation Act of 2011 (H.R. 1156)
Introduced by Rep. Dent (R-PA) on 3/17/11
Summary: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act with respect to a country that denies or unreasonably delays accepting the country's nationals upon the request of the secretary of Homeland Security.

National Language Act of 2011 (H.R. 1164)
Introduced by Rep. King (R-NY) on 3/17/11
Summary: Makes English the official language of the U.S. government. Requires the government to: (1) conduct its official business in English, including publications, income tax forms, and informational materials; and (2) preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language of the United States. Provides that no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the government act, communicate, perform, or provide services or materials in any other language, unless specifically stated in applicable law. Provides that this Act is inapplicable to the use of a language other than English for religious purposes, for training in foreign languages for international communication, or in school programs designed to encourage students to learn foreign languages. Allows the U.S. government to provide interpreters for persons over age 62. Repeals provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 regarding bilingual election requirements and regarding congressional findings of voting discrimination against language minorities, prohibition of English-only elections, and other remedial measures. Amends the INA to require that all public ceremonies in which the oath of allegiance is administered pursuant to such Act be conducted solely in English. Prohibits this Act from preempting any state law.

Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act of 2011 (H.R. 1274)
Introduced by Rep. Royce (R-CA) on 3/30/11
Summary: To gain operational control of the border, enforce immigration laws, strengthen visa security, and for other purposes.

Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2011 (H.R 1293)
Introduced by Rep. Ellison (D-MN) on 3/31/2011
Summary: Adjusts to permanent resident status a qualifying Liberian national who: (1) has been continuously present in the United States between January 1, 2011, through the date of status adjustment application; or (2) is the spouse, child, or unmarried son or daughter of such an alien. Requires adjustment applications to be filed not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act.

H.R. 1466
Introduced by Del. Sablan (D-MP) on 4/8/11
Summary: To resolve the status of certain persons legally residing in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands under the immigration laws of the United States.

H Con Res 29
Introduced by Rep. Poe (R-TX) on 3/9/11
Summary: To express the sense of the Congress that state and local governments should be supported for taking actions to discourage illegal immigration and that legislation should be enacted to ease the burden on state and local governments for taking such actions.