Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) today unveiled the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 (H.R. 6136), a consensus bill that is the product of negotiations between Republicans of all perspectives and addresses the four pillars for immigration reform outlined by President Donald Trump.
The consensus legislation provides robust border security and the funding needed to build a wall and infrastructure along the Southern border, contains more tools to help prevent illegal immigration and human smuggling, modernizes the United States’ immigration system, provides a legislative solution for those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children without creating a special pathway to citizenship, creates a new merit-based immigration program that rewards those with the skills, education and work experience the U.S. needs, and remedies current law and court decisions to keep children and parents together as much as possible when they are apprehended.
Below is a statement from Chairman Goodlatte on the introduction of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act.
Chairman Goodlatte: “For months, House Republicans from all perspectives have been working hard to find common ground on a bill to secure the border, restore the rule of law, and provide a legislative solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Our hard work has resulted in today’s introduction of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. This bill brings our immigration system into the 21st century, contains a number of tools to enhance border security, prevents illegal immigration, and combats fraud in our immigration system.
“It also provides those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children an opportunity to earn a legal status. Importantly, the bill creates a new, merit-based system that is directly tied to the funding for the border wall, and the bill transitions some green card categories from extended family-based purposes to programs that reward those with the skills, work experience and education needed in the U.S. If Congress down the road seeks to rescind the funding for the border wall, new visas will not be allocated.
“We have an historic opportunity to pass the most significant border security and immigration reform legislation in over a decade, and I urge my colleagues in the House to support this bill when it is voted on later this week.”
Below are key components of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. Bill text can be found HERE.
- Secures the Border: The bill provides nearly $25 billion in advance appropriations to build a wall along the Southern border. It also combats visa overstays by ensuring the biometric entry-exit program is completed so that we know whether or not those on temporary visas leave the U.S.
- Contains More Tools to Prevent Illegal Immigration: The bill ends “catch and release,” increases the standard for credible fear to root out fraudulent claims, ensures unaccompanied alien children are returned safely and quickly to their home country, and provides the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the ability to detain dangerous criminal aliens, among other provisions.
- Modernizes Our Immigration System: The bill ends the visa lottery, protects the nuclear family while reducing chain migration, reduces overall immigration numbers over the long term, and begins a shift to a merit-based system. It also shifts to a first-in-line visa system by eliminating the per-country cap on employment-based green cards and by increasing the cap on family-sponsored green cards from 7 to 15%.
- Provides a Legislative Solution for DACA:
- The legislation allows the DACA population – children who came to the U.S. as minors and grew up here – an opportunity to earn a legal status. If these individuals meet certain requirements they will be eligible for a 6-year renewable legal status, allowing them to work here and travel abroad.
- Once they receive that status, they can use existing paths available to attempt to earn green cards, including through a new merit-based program that allows them (and others brought to the U.S. while children by their parents on H-1B and other visas) to earn green cards based on achieving educational degrees, English proficiency, vocational training and skills, work experience, and military service.
- The bill also requires the border wall to be funded before new visas are available under the new merit-based program.
- Keeps Families Together:
- The legislation fixes a court decision, the Flores settlement, to ensure that children who are apprehended at the border with their parents are not separated from their parent or legal guardian while in DHS custody.
- It also addresses family separation in light of the Zero Tolerance prosecution initiative by mandating that DHS, not the Department of Justice, maintain the custody of aliens charged with illegal entry along with their children. This would only apply to those who enter the country with children and would not permit those charged with felonies or any other criminal activity to be detained along with children. The bill allocates funding for family detention space to facilitate this requirement.
- To enhance the safety of children, the bill prohibits releasing a child to any individual other than a parent or legal guardian.