2013 Timeline of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Milestones
Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417)
The goal of the Border Security Results Act of 2013 is to ensure DHS develops a national strategy for ensuring border security and safety. This includes tactical goals and processes that will be rolled out during various timelines at 60, 90, 120, and 180 days, and 1-year, 2-year and 5-year post-enactment of the Act. The bill also provides for target metrics in between ports (of entry), at the ports of entry, and at maritime borders.
The Border Security Results Act was introduced in the House on April 8, 2013; reviewed by a Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security on April 24, 2013; and last reviewed by the Committee on Homeland Security on May 15, 2013.
Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744)
Eight Senators introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (better known as S.744) on April 16, 2013. This bill contained over 800 pages of legislation, the most comprehensive of its kind, designed to alleviate all aspects of the current immigration law in the U.S. In spite of intense speculation, the Senate managed to pass the bill, 68 in favor (32 opposed) on June 27, 2013. As of September 2013, Congress is still waiting to see how the House will proceed with this bill.
Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772)
Introduced on April 26, 2013, the Legal Workforce Act would mandate all employers in the U.S. enroll and use the E-Verify System to verify the work eligibility of all its new employees. It would eliminate the paper-based Form I-9 process. Though not required, it would authorize employers to reverify its entire, existing workforce using the E-Verify system.
The bill provides for various process steps for the E-Verify system.
Agricultural Guest Worker Act (“AG Act”) (H.R. 1773)
The Ag Act was introduced in the House on April 26, 2013. The Act would involve the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security and State for agricultural workers entering the U.S. to work on H-2C visa for temporary or seasonal jobs, including dairy, food-processing and non-seasonal agricultural work.
The provisions of the bill include terms and conditions for administering and qualifying for the H-2C program.
Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (“SKILLS Visa Act”) (H.R. 2131)
The SKILLS Visa Act would amend the current immigration quotas for employment-based immigration. It would allocate a new category of visas (EB-6 and EB-7) dedicated to doctoral and master’s degree graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields of study (or other medical, dental, veterinary, osteopathic programs for EB-6 category). New EB-8 visas would be allocated for venture-backed entrepreneurs.
The bill would provide for mechanisms in which the new visas would be allotted and tabulated from year to year.
Currently, the bill has only been introduced in the House on May 23, 2013.
Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (“SAFE Act”) (H.R. 2278)
As indicated in a press release, the SAFE Act serves to strengthen “interior enforcement of our immigration laws by granting states and localities the authority to enforce federal immigration laws.” In essence, the SAFE Act deputizes local law enforcement so it can enforce federal immigration laws.
It was introduced in the House on June 6, 2013; reviewed by multiple house subcommittees; referred to Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry on June 25, 2013.
On July 10, 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner issued a statement indicating that he would refuse to put the Senate’s Immigration bill S.744 up for a floor vote by House members unless/until there was a majority within the majority who would support it. The effect of this action (coined the Hastert Rule), is to delay the ability for House members to vote, as a chamber, on S.744.
After a summer recess in August, Congress is back in session. Many House Republicans are being urged to seriously consider S.744.