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H.R. 4760, Securing America’s Future Act of 2018

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Thursday, June 21, 2018, the House will consider H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act of 2018, pursuant to closed rule. The bill was introduced on January 10, 2018, by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary in addition to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Committee on Homeland Security, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Committee on Agriculture, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Committee on Natural Resources.


Summary

H.R. 4760 enhances enforcement of existing immigration law, includes important reforms to our legal immigration programs, secures the border, and provides a legislative solution for the current beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

More specifically, the bill refocuses legal immigration on skills needed in the United States. H.R. 4760 ends the diversity program and chain migration by eliminating the visa lottery green card program and green card programs for relatives other than spouses and minor children. Likewise, the bill reduces immigration levels, which are currently averaging over 1,060,000 a years, by approximately 260,000 a year. Moreover, it increases immigration levels for skilled workers and creates a workable agricultural guest worker program.

The bill also secures our borders by authorizing border wall construction, adding 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers, and allowing the National Guard to provide aviation and intelligence support for border security operations.

Moreover, the bill prevents future illegal immigration through interior enforcement. It mandates E-Verify to ensure employers are only hiring legal workers. Similarly, it authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities and allows victims to sue the sanctuary cities that release their attackers. Furthermore, the bill permits the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to detain dangerous illegal immigrants who cannot be removed and enhances criminal penalties for deported criminals who illegally return to the U.S. Additionally, it ensures the safe and quick return of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border and allows for the detention of minors apprehended at the border with their parents.

Finally, the bill provides a solution for DACA beneficiaries and enacts strong anti-fraud measures. In sum, individuals who received deferred action on the basis of being brought to the U.S. as minors get a 3-year renewable legal status allowing them to work and travel overseas. There is no special path to a green card and recipients may only make use of existing paths to green cards. No gang members or those with criminal convictions are eligible for legal status.[1]


Background

U.S. immigration policy is governed largely by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which was first codified in 1952 and has been amended significantly several times since. At a fundamental level, there are two sides of U.S. immigration policy. One side’s stance emphasizes the restriction of entry to and removal of persons from the United States who lack authorization to reside in the country, are identified as criminal aliens, or whose presence in the United States is not considered to be in the national interest. Such immigration enforcement is broadly divided between border enforcement—at and between ports of entry—and other enforcement tasks including detention, removal, worksite enforcement, and combatting immigration fraud.

The other side emphasizes the facilitation of migration flows into the United States according to principles of admission that are based upon national interest. These broad principles currently include family reunification, labor market contribution, humanitarian assistance, and origin-country diversity.

The United States has long distinguished permanent immigration from temporary migration. Permanent immigration occurs through family and employer-sponsored categories, the diversity immigrant visa lottery, and refugee and asylee admissions. Temporary migration occurs through the admission of visitors for specific purposes and limited periods of time, and encompasses two dozen categories of visitors, including foreign tourists, students, temporary workers, and diplomats.

The dual role of U.S. immigration policy creates challenges for balancing major policy priorities, such as ensuring national security, facilitating trade and commerce, protecting public safety, and fostering international cooperation.

Congress’ inability to address the legal status of undocumented newcomers and reform America’s immigration system spans several decades and multiple U.S. administrations. Protracted gridlock played a role in the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as an executive order that bypassed Congress.

During the 115th Congress, both Republicans and Democrats have prioritized comprehensive immigration reform, but have been unable to reach an agreement. The Securing America’s Future Act is one of several bills that would address immigration reform, including the issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

According to the bill sponsor, “[y]ears of lax enforcement policies have wreaked havoc on our borders. Millions of people have been allowed to flout our immigration laws. We can’t let these dangerous and foolish policies continue. With the introduction of the Securing America’s Future Act we have an historic opportunity to fix our broken immigration system.  The only way to reduce illegal immigration is to address both enforcement of our immigration laws in the interior of our country and to secure our borders.  This carefully crafted legislation, which is aligned with the White Houses’ immigration priorities, combines enforcement measures and increased border security to enhance public safety, ensure the door remains open to law-abiding immigrants, and restore the rule of law.”[2]


Amendments

A list of amendments may be found here.


Cost

A Congressional Budget Office cost estimate is not available.


Staff Contact

For questions or further information please contact Ashley Gutwein with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 2-6674.


[1] See House Judiciary Committee 1-Pager.

[2] See Chairman Goodlatte’s Press Release, January 10, 2018.

115th Congress