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Public Law 114-113, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016

On 12/18/15, the President signed into law the omnibus appropriations bill for 2016. The Senate adopted the Omnibus Appropriations Act by a vote of 65-33; the House did so by a 316-113 tally. Several immigration-related issues were highly debated in the run-up to the bill's passage. Some of those immigration issues include:

  • Business Immigration: The bill extends the EB-5, Conrad 30, Special Immigrant Religious Workers, and E-Verify programs through the end of FY2016.

    It also includes the following changes to the currently expired H-1B/L-1 fees for companies with more than 50 employees and companies where 50% or more of the employees hold H-1B or L-1 status:
    • Supplemental L-1 fees for 50/50 companies increase from $2,250 to $4,500;
    • Supplemental H-1B fees for 50/50 companies increase from $2,000 to $4,000;
    • Fees must be paid on initial petitions and extension petitions;
    • Fees are authorized for ten years, running through September 30, 2025; and
    • The funds generated by these fees will be split between the 9-11 programs and the Biometric Entry-Exit program.
    The bill also makes certain changes to the H-2B program by providing:
    • Flexibility for H-2B workers in the seafood industry regarding when they can start working;
    • Use of private wage surveys;
    • Added flexibility to the definition of “temporary need”;
    • Limitations on the Department of Labor's ability to implement some aspects of the interim final rule; and
    • Exempting H-2B returning workers from the 66,000 annual cap for FY2016.
  • Refugees: The bill does not contain proposals that harm, restrict, defund, or end the U.S. refugee program's resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
  • Visa Waiver Program: The bill includes the House-passed bill reforming the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which contains categorical exclusions for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Sudan, as well as people who travel to those countries.
  • Detainers: The bill does not include proposals that would defund or harm so-called "sanctuary" cities.
  • DAPA/DACA:The bill does not include proposals that would block the Administration from continuing the operation of original DACA or defending the DAPA or expanded DACA programs in the ongoing litigation.
  • Detention: The bill does not include language mandating the detention for all noncitizens who fall under enforcement Priority 1 and Priority 2 set forth in DHS Secretary Johnson's November 20, 2014, memo.

Timeline of Events Relating to CR:

  • H.J. Res. 78 / Public Law 114-100 - signed by President Obama on December 16, 2015, amended the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-53) to fund the government until December 22, 2015.
  • H.R. 2250 / Public Law 114-96 - signed by President Obama on December 11, 2015, amended the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-53) to fund the government until December 16, 2015.
  • H.R. 719/Public Law 114-53 - funded the government until December 11, 2015 (AILA Doc. No. 15092310)

To learn more, read AILA's statement, and watch this AILA Quicktake on the omnibus appropriations bill.

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Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15121601.

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