Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (October – December 2011)

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in October – December 2011 and summarized below by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association):

Senate Bills

S. 1856
Introduced by Sen. DeMint (R-SC) on 11/10/11
Prohibits federal funding for lawsuits seeking to invalidate specific State laws that support the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Families First Immigration Enforcement Act (S. 1949)
Introduced by Sen. Kerry (D-MA) on 12/07/11
Provides for safe and humane policies and procedures pertaining to the arrest, detention, and processing of aliens in immigration enforcement operations.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics– STEM Visa Act of 2011 (S. 1986)
Introduced by Sen. Bennet (D-CO) on 12/13/11
Amends INA to promote innovation, investment and research in the United States.

Irish Recognition and Encouragement Act of 2011- IRE Act (S. 2005)
Introduced by Sen. Brown (R-MA) on 12/15/11
Authorizes the Secretary of State to issue up to 10,500 E-3 visas per year to Irish nationals.

House Bills

H-2A Improvement Act (H.R. 3232)
Introduced by Rep. Owens (D-NY) on 10/14/11
Includes within the H-2A nonimmigrant category an alien coming temporarily to the United States to work as a sheepherder, goat herder, or dairy worker. The bill also 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.

Deport Convicted Foreign Criminals Act of 2011 (H.R. 3256)
Introduced by Rep. Poe (R-TX) on 10/25/11
Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to report quarterly to Congress regarding each country that has refused or unreasonably delayed repatriation of an alien. The bill also prohibits the Secretary of State, upon the passage of specified periods of time, from issuing certain nonimmigrant (including certain diplomatic) visas and immigrant visas to a citizen, subject, national, or resident of a listed country.

Haitian Emergency Life Protection Act of 2011- H.E.L.P. Act (H.R. 3297)
Introduced by Rep. Clarke (D-NY) on 11/01/11
Amends the INA with respect to V visa (spouses/children of LPR who come to the United States to wait for completion of immigrant visa process) nonimmigrants to include certain Haitian nationals whose petition for a family-sponsored immigrant visa was approved on or before January 12, 2010.

Foster Children Opportunity Act (H.R. 3333)
Introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on 11/03/11
Requires state plans for foster care and adoption assistance to have procedures to assist alien children in the child welfare system achieve special immigrant juvenile status and LPR status before exiting foster care.

Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America- VISIT USA (H.R. 3341)
Introduced by Rep. Hirono (D-HI) on 11/03/11
Provides qualifying nationals of China (PRC) with a five-year multiple entry/exit visitor visa. The bill also requires such persons to be screened through the automated electronic travel authorization system.

Enhanced Border Security Act (H.R. 3401)
Introduced by Rep. Mack (R-FL) on 11/10/11
Directs the Secretary of State to submit to Congress a counterinsurgency strategy to combat the operations of transnational criminal organizations in Mexico.

American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship Act- AGREE Act (H.R. 3476)
Introduced by Rep. Hanna (R-NY) on 11/18/11
Amends Internal Revenue Code to extend certain tax expenditure provisions for business taxpayers. Also, amends INA to eliminate the per country cap for employment-based immigrants and increase the per country cap for family-based immigrants to 15% of the total number.

Religious Worker Visa Reciprocity Act of 2011 (H.R. 3557)
Introduced by Rep. King on 12/02/11
Requires the country of origin of certain special immigrant religious workers to extend reciprocal immigration treatment to United States nationals.

Immigration and Naturalization Investment Ventures for Engineering, Science, and Technology- INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3692)
Introduced by Rep. Schiff (D-CA) on 12/15/11
Establishes an entrepreneur-based immigrant category for alien entrepreneurs who have completed or are in the process of completing a degree in Science, Engineering, Math or a technology-related field.

Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2011 (H.R. 3718)
Introduced by Rep. Keating (D-MA) on 12/16/11
Prioritizes certain returning workers for purposes of the numerical limitation on H-2B temporary workers.

New Illegal Deduction Elimination Act- New IDEA Act (H.R. 3720)
Introduced by Rep. King (R-IA) on 12/16/11
Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that wages paid to unauthorized aliens may not be deducted from gross income.

H.R. 3761
Introduced by Rep. Thompson (D-CA) on 12/20/11
Amends the INA to protect the well-being of soldiers and their families

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