US Immigration Legislation

For weeks Congress has funded the government through short-term continuing resolutions even though significant progress was being made on a two-year budget agreement that would increase the budget caps for both defense and non-defense spending and provide new infrastructure funding.  The decision to proceed with short-term continuing resolutions was a function of Democrats in the House and Senate as well as some Republicans making a final resolution of the larger budget deal contingent on an agreement to resolve the DACA question.  It now appears that, at least among Senate Democrats, the precondition that DACA be resolved prior to finalizing the budget deal is slipping.  Senate Democrats and Republicans are close to finalizing the two-year budget deal and hope to move that deal through the Senate quickly.

Continue Reading As Deadline Nears, Congress Poised to Decouple Budget Negotiations from Immigration Debate

As Congress wrestles with another government funding deadline of February 8, 2018, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) have announced their intent to introduce a bill to provide permanent relief for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. The bill, which is expected to mirror a measure introduced last month in the House by Congressmen Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA), would provide permanent residence and a path to ultimate citizenship for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program terminated last September by President Trump.  DACA is scheduled to end on March 5, 2018.

The House bill, Uniting and Securing America Act (USA Act), has 54 co-sponsors evenly split between party lines. The bipartisan bill would create a renewable eight-year conditional permanent resident status that would allow DACA recipients (a/k/a DREAMers) to be protected from deportation; work legally in the United States; travel outside the country; and apply to be lawful permanent residents (green card holders) if they meet certain requirements.  In view of the expected parity with the House bill, the summary below is based on the USA Act’s provisions. Continue Reading McCain-Coons Bill Unlikely To Be The Answer DREAMers Are Hoping For