Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (April-May 2011)

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate from April-May 2011:

Senate Bills

S. 1141
Introduced by Sen. Akaka (D-HI) on 5/26/11
Summary: Exempts children of certain Filipino WWII veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas.

House Bills

Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1507)
Introduced by Rep. Flake (R-AZ) on 4/13/11
Summary: Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to deploy at least 6,000 National Guard personnel to perform operations in the Southwest Border region (Region) (the area in the United States that is within 150 miles of the U.S.-Mexico international border) to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection in securing such border. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase, by September 30, 2016, the number of Border Patrol agents stationed in the Region by 5,000. Directs the Attorney General, the Secretary, and the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to: (1) implement Operation Streamline in the Region; and (2) reimburse state, local, and tribal law enforcement for related detention costs.

Uniting American Families Act of 2011 (H.R. 1537)
Introduced by Rep. Nadler (D-NY) on 4/14/11
Summary: Includes a "permanent partner" within the scope of INA. Defines a "permanent partner" as an individual 18 or older who: (1) is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 or older in which both individuals intend a lifelong commitment; (2) is financially interdependent with the other individual; (3) is not married to, or in a permanent partnership with, anyone other than the individual; (4) is unable to contract with the other individual a marriage cognizable under this Act; and (5) is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of the other individual. Defines: (1) "permanent partnership" as the relationship existing between two permanent partners, and (2) "alien permanent partner" as the individual in a permanent partnership who is being sponsored for a visa.

H.R. 1644
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL) on 4/15/11
Summary: Prohibits the provision of cash assistance or medical assistance to any refugee who, after entering the United States, travels to a country that has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism.

10k Run for the Border Act (H.R. 1698)
Introduced by Rep. Myrick (R-NC) on 5/3/11
Summary: Increases employer civil fines for: (1) hiring, or recruiting or referring for a fee, an alien that the employer knows is not authorized for employment; and (2) continuing to employ such alien. Sets forth a federal-state (and local) allocation of such additional penalty funds.

H-2A Improvement Act (H.R. 1720)
Introduced by Rep. Owens (D-NY) on 5/4/11
Summary: Includes within the H-2A nonimmigrant visa category (temporary agricultural workers) an alien coming temporarily to the United States to work as a sheepherder, goat herder, or dairy worker. Exempts an employer filing a petition to employ such a worker from the requirement to show that the position is of a seasonal or temporary nature.

H.R. 1764
Introduced by Rep. Boustany (R-LA) on 5/5/11
Summary: Prohibits the use of community oriented policing services funds in contravention of provisions of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 that restrict a government entity or official from preventing any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the responsible federal immigration agency information regarding an individual's citizenship or immigration status.

Reuniting Families Act (H.R. 1796)
Introduced by Rep. Honda (D-CA) on 5/6/11
Summary: Amends the INA to establish the fiscal year worldwide level of employment-based immigrants at 140,000 plus: (1) the previous year's unused visas, and (2) the number of unused visas from FY1992-FY2011. Establishes the fiscal year worldwide level of family-sponsored immigrants at 480,000 plus: (1) the previous year's unused visas, and (2) the number of unused visas from FY1992-FY2011.

Revises the definition of "immediate relative" to: (1) mean a child, spouse, or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (and for each family member of a citizen or resident, such individual's accompanying spouse or child), except that in the case of parents such citizens shall be at least 21 years old; (2) permit a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen or resident to seek permanent resident status if married at least two years at the time of the citizen's or resident's death or, if married less than two years, by showing through a preponderance of the evidence that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit; and (3) include an alien who was the child or parent of a U.S. citizen or resident at the time of the citizen's or resident's death if the alien files a petition within two years after such date or prior to reaching 21 years old.

Dream Act of 2011 (H.R. 1842)
Introduced by Rep. Berman (D-CA) on 5/11/11
Summary: Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to cancel the removal of, and adjust to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence on a conditional basis, an alien who: (1) entered the United States on or before his or her 15th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding this Act's enactment, (2) is a person of good moral character, (3) is not inadmissible under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act, (4) has been admitted to an institution of higher education (IHE) in the United States or has earned a high school diploma or general education development certificate in the United States, and (5) was age 32 or younger on the date of this Act's enactment.

Deferred Action Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 1853)
Introduced by Rep. Poe (R-TX) on 5/11/11
Summary: Permits an alien to be paroled into the United States or granted deferred action of a final order of removal only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.

Build the Fence Now Act of 2011 (H.R. 1921)
Introduced by Rep. Pompeo (R-KS) on 5/13/11
Summary: Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security (1) construct two layers of reinforced fencing along the entire international land border between the United States and Mexico; (2) provide for the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, radars, and sensors along the entire length of the international border between the United States and Mexico and the United States and Canada; and (3) complete such work within two years along the U.S.-Mexico border and within five years along the U.S.-Canada border.

The bill increases the FY2012 budget of the Tunnel Task Force (a joint Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE], Customs and Border Patrol [CBP], and Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] force tasked to pinpoint smuggling tunnels) by 100% above the FY2007 budget.

The bill also directs the Secretary to implement a program to fully integrate and utilize aerial surveillance technologies, including unmanned aerial vehicles, to enhance the security of the international borders between the United States and Mexico and the United States and Canada.

Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011 (H.R. 1932)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 5/23/11
Summary: Allows the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to detain indefinitely, subject to six-month review, an alien under orders of removal who cannot be removed if: (1) the alien will be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future; (2) the alien would have been removed but for the alien's refusal to cooperate with the Secretary's identification and removal efforts; (3) the alien has a highly contagious disease that poses a public safety threat; (4) release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences; (5) release would threaten national security; (6) release would threaten the safety of any person and the alien has been convicted of either one or more aggravated felonies or crimes of violence and, because of a mental or personality condition, is likely to engage in future acts of violence; or (7) release would threaten the safety of any person and the alien has been convicted of one or more aggravated felonies.

States that habeas corpus review of such detention and related actions or decisions shall be available only in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after exhaustion of administrative remedies.

H.R. 1933
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 5/23/11
Summary: Modifies the requirements for admission of nonimmigrant nurses in health professional shortage areas.

Secure Visas Act (H.R. 1741)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 5/25/11
Summary: Grants the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) (Secretary), except for the Secretary of State's authority with respect to diplomatic- and international organization-related visas, exclusive authority to issue regulations, establish policy, and administer and enforce the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and all other immigration or nationality laws relating to U.S. consular officer visa functions

H.R. 2064
Introduced by Rep. Marchant (R-TX) on 5/31/11
Summary: Allows employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of an employee from the time of application for employment.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 11062031.