Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (Jan-Sept 2012)

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate January 2012-September 2012.

Senate Bills

S. 3245
Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on 5/24/12 Permanently reauthorizes the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the E-Verify Program, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program
Student Visa Integrity Act (S. 3527)
Introduced by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) on 9/11/12 Creates increased criminal penalties for individuals misuing the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), mandates certification for institutions enrolling international students, and prohibits certain schools from accessing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

BRAINS Act (S. 3553)
Introduced by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) on 9/19/12 Provides for immigrants visas for certain advanced STEM graduates, student visa reform, age-out protections for children, retention of priority dates, and family reunifications for high-skilled workers
House Bills

Scott Gardner Act (H.R. 3808)
Introduced by Rep. Myrick (R-NC) on 1/23/12 Directs DOJ to take into custody an alien who is unlawfully in the United States and is arrested by a state or local law enforcement officer for driving while intoxicated or similar violation. The bill also directs the officer, upon reasonable grounds to believe the individual is an alien, to verify immigration status and to take into custody for federal transfer if unlawfully in the United States.

Adjusted Residency for Military Service (ARMS) Act (H.R. 3823)
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL) on 1/24/12 Authorizes DHS to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional nonimmigrant status, an alien who meets specific requirements, including (1) entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding this Act’s enactment; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) has not participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; (5) has not been convicted of certain offenses under federal or state law; (6) has been admitted to an institution of higher education or has earned a high school diploma or general education development certificate in the United States; (7) has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal unless the alien has remained in the United States under color of law after such order’s issuance, or received the order before attaining the age of 16; and (8) was under age 30 on the date of this Act’s enactment.

H.R. 3842
Introduced by Rep. Black (R-TN) on 1/31/12 Prohibits federal funds from being used by a federal agency or instrumentality to participate in a lawsuit to overturn, enjoin, or otherwise invalidate specified immigration-related laws in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina, or Georgia.

Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act (H.R. 3855)
Introduced by Rep. Quigley (D-IL) on 1/31/2012 Amends the INA in regards to the visa waiver program to 1. Authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate any country as a program country; 2. Adjust visa refusal rate criteria, including the addition of a 3% maximum overstay rate; and 3. Revise probationary and termination provisions
Ensuring Mental Competence in Immigration Proceedings Act (H.R. 3881)
Introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on 2/2/12 Authorizes immigration judges to order a competency evaluation, terminate a proceeding, or appoint counsel when necessary for aliens with mental disabilities
Strengthening America’s Public Schools Through Promoting Foreign Investment Act (H.R. 3983)
Introduced by Rep. Owens (D-NY) on 2/8/12 Permits a lawful alien who enters the United States on a nonimmigrant student visa to attend a U.S. pubic secondary school for longer than one year if such alien reimburses the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of providing education at such school for the period of the alien’s attendance
H.R. 3992
Introduced by Rep. Berman (D-CA) on 2/9/12 Makes Israeli nationals eligible to enter the United States as nonimmigrant traders and investors if Israel provides reciprocal nonimmigrant treatment to U.S. nationals
H.R. 4021
Introduced by Rep. Faleomavaega (D-AS At-Large)
Waives certain requirements for naturalization for American Samoan U.S. nationals to become U.S. citizens
H.R. 4982- VAWA Reauthorization
Introduced by Rep. Biggert (R-IL) on 4/27/12 Reauthorizes Violence Against Women Act of 1994 with amendments.

Virgin Islands Visa Waiver Act of 2012 (H.R. 5875)
Introduced by Rep. Christensen (D-VI -At Large) on 5/31/12 Establishes a visa waiver program for the United States Virgin Islands for a national of a country that is a member/associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and who is applying for admission as a nonimmigrant business or pleasure visitor for not more than 30 days.

Visa Waiver for Israel Act of 2012 (H.R. 5850)
Introduced by Rep. Sherman (D-CA) on 5/18/12 Includes Israel in the visa waiver program upon determination that Israel: (1) has entered into an agreement with the United States to report, or make available through Interpol or other means, information about passport theft or loss; (2) has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States regarding whether Israeli citizens and nationals traveling to the United States represent a U.S. security threat; (3) cooperates with the U.S. government on counterterrorism initiatives, information sharing, and preventing terrorist travel; (4) issues all new and reissued passports with biometric identifiers; and (5) has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing Israeli security, to ensure that reciprocal privileges are extended to all U.S. citizens.

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013 (H.R. 5855)
Introduced by Rep. Aderholt (R-AL) on 5/23/12 Makes appropriations for DHS for FY 2013
Startup Act 2.0 (H.R. 5893)
Introduced by Rep. Grimm (R-NY) on 6/5/12 Authorizes DHS to adjust conditional permanent resident status up to 50,000 aliens who have earned a master’s or doctorate degree in STEM fields and permit such an alien to remain in the United States: (1) for up to one year after the expiration of the alien’s student visa, if the alien is searching for STEM field employment; and (2) indefinitely if the alien remains actively engaged in a STEM field. Removes a STEM alien’s conditional status after five years of maintaining eligibility during the entire five-year period. Authorizes the Secretary to issue conditional immigrant visas to up to 75,000 qualified alien entrepreneurs. Removes such conditional basis after four years of maintaining qualified entrepreneur status. Eliminates the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based visas. Increases the per country numerical limitation for family based immigrants from 7% to 15% of the total number of family-sponsored visas.

Prohibiting Back-door Amnesty Act (H.R. 3932)
Introduced by Rep. Quayle (R-AZ) on 6/18/12 Nullifies the following: 1)June 17, 2011 memorandum from Director of ICE regarding exercise of prosecutorial discretion; 2) June 15, 2012 memoradum from Secretary of Homeland Security regarding prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children 3) draft directive developed by CBP containing guidance on when to exercise discretion
H.R. 5957
Introduced by Rep. Schweikert (R-AZ) on 6/18/12 Prohibits DHS from granting deferred action or otherwise suspending the effectiveness or enforcement of immigration laws
H.R. 6000
Introduced by Rep. Akin (R-MO) on 6/21/12 Requires verification of the immigration status of recipients of Federal benefit programs
H.R. 6001
Introduced by Rep. Burgess (R-TX) on 6/21/12 Prohibits DHS from granting a work authorization to an alien found to have been unlawfully present in the United States
H.R. 6070
Introduced by Rep. Barletta (R-PA) on 6/29/12 Directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study to determine the impact of the June 15, 2012 policy regarding exercising discretion with respect to individuals who came the United States as children. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to refrain from implementing the policy until after the Comptroller General has reported to Congress on the results of the study.

Employee Verification (H.R. 6112)
Introduced by Rep. Woodall (7/12/12)
Requires federal contractors and subcontractors to participate in the E-Verify program. Makes E-Verify permanent.

Family Farm Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 6373)
Introduced by Rep. Gibson (R-NY) on 9/11/12 Amends the INA to simplify the petitioning process for H-2A workers and expands the scope of the H-2A program.

American Investment and Job Creation Act of 2012 (H.R. 6210)
Introduced by Rep. Conyers (D-MI) on 7/26/12 Provides an employment-based immigrant visa for an alien entrepreneur who has engaged in a new commercial enterprise that has 1) within the four years prior to the filing of a petition, created full-time employment for at least five U.S. workers, or in the case of a Distressed Area Development Zone, for at least three U.S. workers; and 2) received enough investment or revenue during this period to support employment creation requirements.

Attracting the Best and Brightest Act of 2012 (H.R. 6412)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 9/14/12 Provides up to 50,000 visas available to immigrations who 1) possess a graduate degree in STEM fields from qualifying U.S. research institution; 2) have an employment offer from a U.S. employer in field related to degree; 3) are the subject of an approved labor certification; 4) will receive a wage that is at least the actual wage paid by employer to all other individuals with similar experience/qualifications. Makes unused STEM visas available for other employment-based visa categories.

STEM Jobs Act of 2012 (H.R. 6429)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 9/18/12 Creates new visa categories for foreign PhD and masters graduates in STEM fields. Eliminates the diversity immigrant visa program.

Source of Information: “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12100260 (posted Oct. 2, 2012)”

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