P.L. 116-92: National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020

On December 20, 2019 the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (P.L. 116-92). The bill includes several immigration-related measures, including an adjustment provision for Liberian nationals, parole in place for service members, an extension of the Afghan special immigrant visa program, and protections for DACA and TPS service members. It did not include language sought by immigration advocates restricting the transfer of military resources or personnel for the border wall or for immigration detention on military bases.

Immigration provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

  • Protection for Liberian nationals

  • The NDAA includes a provision that enables Liberians to adjust status if they have been in the country since November 20, 2014 -- the day before temporary protected status was granted for Liberia. It is estimated that more than 4,000 individuals and their spouses, children, and unmarried adult children will benefit, including but not limited to recipients of TPS and Deferred Enforcement Departure. In addition, upon obtaining LPR status, individuals will be able to apply for citizenship without an additional waiting period. The provision gives individuals one year after enactment to apply.

  • Parole in place for families of service members

  • The NDAA includes a provision authorizing the exercise of parole in place pursuant to INA Section 212(d)(5) on a case-by-case basis for service members and their families. The provision affirms the importance of parole in place in furthering family unity and stability for military families. It covers members of the Armed Forces; their spouses, sons and daughters, and parents; and those same family members if the service member is deceased.

  • Afghan SIV Program

  • The bill adds 4,000 more visas to the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program, increasing the total number of visas available for Afghan interpreters who worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan from 18,500 to 22,500. The bill also requires evaluation and reporting by the Department of State Inspector General about the SIV program for Afghan and Iraqi allies.

  • DACA and TPS service members

  • The bill also provides protection for recipients of TPS and DACA from being involuntarily separated from the Armed Forces.

    On 12/11/19, the House voted in favor of a compromised version of the NDAA (S. 1790) on a 377-48 vote. The bill includes the following immigration provisions:

    • 4,000 additional Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan translators, interpreters, and other support staff during the U.S. mission in Afghanistan; and
    • Codifies the use of military parole in place, which protects undocumented family members of active-duty military and veterans from deportation, which the Trump administration was considering ending.

    The compromised bill will return to the Senate for a vote, where it is expected to pass.

    On 12/9/19, the U.S. House of Representatives filed a compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal year 2020 (H. Rept. 116-33)

    On 6/27/19, the Senate passed S. 1790 with an amendment on a 86-8 vote.

    On 6/11/19, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal year 2020 (S. 1790) was introduced in the U.S. Senate.

    Download Bill

    Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19121731.