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H.R.6136 - Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018

To amend the immigration laws and provide for border security, and for other purposes.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe immigration reform should include securing the border by funding and building the wall, ending the "catch-and-release" guidelines, ending the visa lottery, giving DACA recipients a 6-year renewable legal status, and preventing families from being separated at the border.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe that, even though it addresses common immigration problems, the legislation does nothing to address the cruelty on the border. The bill leaves children and families without a solution to the moral issue the country is addressing at the moment.

The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act would provide a robust border security plan including 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 (DACA recipients), 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.

The bill is the product of negotiations between Republicans and addresses the four pillars for immigration reform outlined by President Donald Trump.

According to Rep. Goodlatte's press release on the legislation, these are the key components of the legislation:

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 their 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.

“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," said sponsor of the bill Representative Goodlatte. “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."

The legislation is being considered for a vote, since Rep. Goodlatte's previous immigration bill, Securing America's Future Act, failed a House vote on June 22, 2018. President Trump says it might not be a good time for a vote on immigration since the bill would probably fail the Senate. President Trump wants Republicans to concentrate on winning more seats on the upcoming midterm elections.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a nonpartisan association of major Hispanic national organizations and distinguished Hispanic leaders from all over the nation, opposes the legislation calling the bill a "push forward [towards] a fervently anti-Latino and anti-immigrant agenda."

"[The legislation] includes a number of troubling proposals to: expand the criminalization of immigrants, increase the categorization of young immigrants as gang members, eliminate certain family based visas categories, further entrench the use of Immigration and Customs enforcement detainers, create a private right of action for victims or relatives of a crime when the perpetrator was an immigrant released in a jurisdiction that limits local interaction with federal immigration enforcement, allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally declare a country as a “safe third country,” and roll back protections for unaccompanied or other vulnerable children," said Thomas A. Saenz Jose Calderon, President and General Counsel Hispanic Federation, on a letter sent to President regarding the legislation. "Perhaps most telling of the moment we are in, this bill does nothing to address the cruelty of this Administration on the border right now. It does not have any provisions to end the separation of families on the border, other than to codify the increased and continued practice of holding families in detention. This type of legislation leaves children and families in greater danger while failing to appreciate the moral imperative we have to protect the most marginalized in our society."


Sponsored by: Rep. Goodlatte, Bob [R-VA-6].

Cosponsored by: 11 Rep / 0 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

Voting for this issue has been closed. H.R.6136 has failed the House with a vote of 121 - 301.

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