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Immigration Bills Offered in the 112th Congress

NumbersUSA attempts to have analysis and a listed position for each bill proposed in Congress that would change immigration numbers. Our analysis and position is then grouped into the categories found below. For each bill, there is a link to the actual text of the bill along with the bill's sponsor and cosponsors.

Family Based Immigration

Traditionally, immigrants were admitted to the United States based on their ability to work. However, Congress reversed this tradition in 1957 with legislation that prioritized the admission of immigrants with relatives already in the United States, regardless of job skills.

Foreign Worker Visas

While virtually all adult foreigners who move to the United States, either permanently or for a temporary period exceeding 90 days, are "foreign workers" because they assume jobs, the term in this section is used to emphasize: (1) immigrants admitted after meeting the skill and/or educatio

Amnesty

Amnesty is defined by Webster’s New World Law Dictionary as “A pardon for past criminal offenses for a class or group of individuals who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted.” More specifically, the amnesty debate in Congress concerns whether or not the United States should rew

Rewards for Illegal Immigration

While the jobs magnet remains the strongest incentive for illegal immigration, eligibility for certain benefits normally reserved for citizens and lawful residents can also encourage illegal aliens to break our laws and live comfortably in the United States.

Birthright Citizenship

The United States government currently recognizes any person born on American soil as a “natural born” citizen and ignores the Constitutional requirement that one must also be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States in order to automatically gain citizenship. The U.S.

Visa Lottery

The Visa Lottery Program is managed by the Department of State which awards up to 55,000 permanent resident visas a year to applicants from countries with relatively low rates of immigration to the United States compared to other countries, based on data from the previous five years.

Border Security

Protecting our borders is not only important for limiting illegal immigration, it is our first line of defense against organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, and other forms of criminal activity.

Interior Enforcement

Illegal aliens enter the United States in two distinct ways: approximately 60 percent cross a border illegally; and the remaining 40 percent overstay a legal visa.

Refugees & Asylum

The United States has a responsibility to accept a fair share of refugees from around the world who are designated as in need of resettlement because they have a "well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular

Non-Binding Resolutions

There are three different types of resolutions used by Congress: 1) Simple resolutions -- Unlike bills, simple resolutions are not sent to the President for approval, and thus do not carry the force of law, and their effect is limited to one chamber of Congress: House or Senate.

In the News

Immigration raid leaves damaging mark on Postville, Iowa

In the News Quoted - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Since the landmark raid, an economic squeeze has destroyed several businesses. Postville's population has shrunk by nearly half, to about 1,800 residents, and townsfolk say the resulting anxiety -- felt from the deli to the schoolyard -- has been relentless.

"It's like you're in an oven and there's no place to go and there's no timer to get you out," said former Mayor Robert Penrod, who, overwhelmed, resigned earlier this year....

Roy Beck, head of the Washington-based NumbersUSA group that advocates for reducing immigration, argued that Postville invited its problems by relying so heavily on a plant many suspected was violating labor and immigration laws.

"The situation should have never gotten to that point," he said. "If you don't enforce the laws steadily, then when you suddenly enforce them, there is more collateral damage....""

Antonio Olivo, LA Times, 12 May 2009

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-postville-iowa12-2009may12,0,6761812.story

Criminal aliens getting more ICE attention

In the News - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Calls for U.S. immigration officials to concentrate on deporting more illegal aliens who have serious criminal records are showing results, police say.

A new program at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency -- called Secure Communities -- is netting aliens for deportation when they are arrested for crimes by police in 48 communities, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The program was established in response to criticism of ICE during the Bush administration. Observers said the agency concentrated too much on mass deportations of immigrant workers picked up during raids on work places instead of targeting violent illegal aliens who commit crimes, the newspaper said...."

UPI, 12 May 2009

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/05/12/Criminal-aliens-getting-more-ICE-attention/UPI-58211242144472/

Opposing view: Invest in American workers

In the News - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"One of President Obama's highest policy priorities is making America energy independent. The president has correctly observed that our reliance on others for essential energy needs is both a source of weakness and an impediment to the development of new technologies that would also strengthen our economy and help the environment.

In much the same way that we have avoided investing in domestic energy sources and new technologies, we have developed an unhealthy reliance on foreign workers to fill our science and technology needs. As technology has become increasingly important to our economy, U.S. companies have spent millions of dollars lobbying for increased access to foreign workers, rather than investing in American workers to fill jobs...."

Op-ed by Dan Stein, USA Today, 12 May 2009

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/05/opposing-view-invest-in-american-workers.html

Our view on legal immigration: Congratulations, graduate. Now leave the USA.

In the News - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Around this time each year, thousands of foreign students graduate with science and engineering degrees from U.S. universities. Many are eager to stay in America and contribute to the U.S. economy.

So does the United States welcome them with open arms? No, the government tells thousands of them to hit the road — and take their sought-after skills and brainpower to countries and companies that compete with the USA.

Talk about a self-defeating immigration policy...."

Op-ed, USA Today, 12 May 2009

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/05/our-view-on-legal-immigration-congratulations-graduate-now-leave-the-usa.html

Amnesty Pushers Concoct Six Straw Men

In the News - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"It’s an old device in politics: Set up a straw man to criticize when you can’t win an argument on your own. Such tactics, unfortunately, are standard fare when it comes to efforts by a handful of special interest groups to bring about amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Organizations such as the National Council of La Raza, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Migration Policy Institute know that most Americans disagree with their desire for amnesty. Most Americans want to see immigration laws enforced. So these groups create straw men. They use them as diversionary tactics to criticize the way in which immigration laws are enforced without ever admitting to their true amnesty goals.

Who are these Straw Men? Let’s take a look:..."

Rep. Lamar Smith, Human Events, 6 May 2009

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31727

SHRM-Backed Bill Launches Employment Verification Debate

In the News - Thursday, April 23, 2009

"With momentum building for Congress to address comprehensive immigration reform later this year, two members of the House have introduced a bill to put employment verification at the center of the debate.

Written by Reps. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, the measure would establish a mandatory electronic verification system that replaces an existing government-run system that has been roundly criticized by employer groups...."

Mark Schoeff, Workforce Management, 23 April 2009

http://www.workforce.com/section/00/article/26/37/71.php

Some Christians Applaud Obama's Push for Immigration Reform

In the News Quoted - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Some Christian leaders and organizations voiced support for President Obama's indication that he plans to address immigration reform this year, a move that has riled opponents who argue that he should first focus on fixing the economy.

"Christians throughout the United States are energized and encouraged by the courageous steps taken by the Obama administration to prioritize reform of our broken immigration laws," praised Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) in a statement released on Thursday....

"It just doesn't seem rational that any political leader would say, let's give millions of foreign workers permanent access to U.S. jobs when we have millions of Americans looking for jobs," said Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, a group that supports reduced immigration, to the New York Times.

Ethan Cole, Christian Post, 10 April 2009

"Some Christian leaders and organizations voiced support for President Obama's indication that he plans to address immigration reform this year, a move that has riled opponents who argue that he should first focus on fixing the economy.

"Christians throughout the United States are energized and encouraged by the courageous steps taken by the Obama administration to prioritize reform of our broken immigration laws," praised Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) in a statement released on Thursday....

"It just doesn't seem rational that any political leader would say, let's give millions of foreign workers permanent access to U.S. jobs when we have millions of Americans looking for jobs," said Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, a group that supports reduced immigration, to the New York Times.

"It's going to be, ‘You're letting them keep that job, when I could have that job,'" he said."

Ethan Cole, Christian Post, 10 April 2009

Show More http://www.christianpost.com/Society/Politics/2009/04/-some-christians-applaud-obama-s-push-for-immigration-reform-10/

Emanuel Now a Backer of Immigration Action

In the News - Friday, April 10, 2009

"As the White House gears up to push an immigration overhaul, advocates are finding they have an unexpected ally in White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Mr. Emanuel has long been a voice of caution on easing rules for immigrants, fearing such a position could hurt Democrats at the polls. That stance has antagonized Hispanic lawmakers and activists, who favor a clearer, easier path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants.

But as chief of staff, Mr. Emanuel has taken concrete steps that are sending a different message. He pushed hard for Congress to act fast on a children's health-insurance bill, including a provision lifting Clinton-era restrictions on benefits for legal immigrant children. He has also arranged for members of the Hispanic media to get special briefings by White House senior officials every two weeks. He did the first one, and put other aides on notice that they were expected to do the same.

Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal, 10 April 2009

"As the White House gears up to push an immigration overhaul, advocates are finding they have an unexpected ally in White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Mr. Emanuel has long been a voice of caution on easing rules for immigrants, fearing such a position could hurt Democrats at the polls. That stance has antagonized Hispanic lawmakers and activists, who favor a clearer, easier path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants.

But as chief of staff, Mr. Emanuel has taken concrete steps that are sending a different message. He pushed hard for Congress to act fast on a children's health-insurance bill, including a provision lifting Clinton-era restrictions on benefits for legal immigrant children. He has also arranged for members of the Hispanic media to get special briefings by White House senior officials every two weeks. He did the first one, and put other aides on notice that they were expected to do the same.

"You don't get to say no," he told colleagues at a senior staff meeting early in the administration...."

Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal, 10 April 2009

Show More http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123931821992806781.html

CLOSE TO HOME: One child, one more reason to pass the Dream Act

In the News - Friday, April 10, 2009

"Imagine being brought into Sonoma County as an undocumented child. Imagine going from kindergarten through your senior year of high school being a star student and graduating at the very top of your class. And finally imagine contributing hundreds of hours as a community volunteer and being chosen as the Youth Volunteer of Sonoma County— only to discover that as you apply to colleges and universities, that no state or federal student aid funds are available to you.

Even if you do manage to work your way through college, you still have no Social Security number and no way to obtain a legal job. This child we are writing about actually exits, which is one very good reason why we need to pass the Dream Act...."

Susan Moore and Lee Hunt, Santa Rosa (Ca.) Press Democrat, 10 April 2009

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20090410/OPINION/904109984?Title=CLOSE-TO-HOME-One-child-one-more-reason-to-pass-the-Dream-Act

Immigration Reform Inching Up on the Agenda

In the News - Thursday, April 9, 2009

"As The New York Times reported in a front-page story today, President Obama is slowly coming around to saying he’s thinking that he’s probably going to do something about immigration reform at some point in the future, hopefully this year.

He might even talk publicly about it in May.

That’s as much political capital as the new administration seems willing to put behind the comprehensive immigration reform idea these days, given that it’s facing major push-back from Republicans and restrictionist immigration groups stoking the fears of many Americans that legalizing any of the 7 million or so undocumented immigrants already working here will take jobs away from lawful U.S. residents. At at time when the U.S. unemployment rate has reached 8.5 percent — the worst it’s been in decades — the restrictionist message holds some potency.

Daphne Eviatar, Washinton Independent, 9 April 2009

"As The New York Times reported in a front-page story today, President Obama is slowly coming around to saying he’s thinking that he’s probably going to do something about immigration reform at some point in the future, hopefully this year.

He might even talk publicly about it in May.

That’s as much political capital as the new administration seems willing to put behind the comprehensive immigration reform idea these days, given that it’s facing major push-back from Republicans and restrictionist immigration groups stoking the fears of many Americans that legalizing any of the 7 million or so undocumented immigrants already working here will take jobs away from lawful U.S. residents. At at time when the U.S. unemployment rate has reached 8.5 percent — the worst it’s been in decades — the restrictionist message holds some potency.

As Dave Gorak, executive director of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration said to me recently: “We’re concerned about economic justice for American workers. Especially now. Why should they be forced to compete with foreign workers who are here illegally — or foreign workers at all, for that matter?...”"

Daphne Eviatar, Washinton Independent, 9 April 2009

Show More http://washingtonindependent.com/38074/immigration-reform-inching-up-on-the-agenda

Polls

Most Arizona Voters Put Immigration Over Health Care as More Important Reform Goal

Prefer Lower Numbers Oppose Amnesty Support Tougher Enforcement Oppose Rewards for Illegal Migration - Monday, July 27, 2009

Fifty-one percent of Arizona voters say it is more important for Congress to pass immigration reform than health care reform.

By a 65% to 20% margin, Arizona voters believe enforcing the borders is more important than legalizing the status of those already living here. Half of the state’s voters (50%) think it is possible to put an end to illegal immigration, while 34% do not.

Rasmussen Reports, 27 July 2009

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_state_surveys/arizona/most_arizona_voters_put_immigration_over_health_care_as_more_important_reform_goal

Rasmussen Poll Shows 66% of Likely Voters Believe it is Important to Reduce Illegal Immigration

Oppose Amnesty Support Tougher Enforcement Oppose Rewards for Illegal Migration Opinion Elites vs. Public - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A new Rasmussen poll shows that 66% of likely voters believe that the government should improve border enforcement and reduce illegal immigration.  However, only 32% of America's "Political Class" agree.

The poll also shows that 77% of likely voters believe that illegal aliens should not be able to receive driver's licenses and 73% of Americans believe that police officers should automatically check to see if someone is in this country legally when that person is pulled over for a traffic violation. 

Rasmussen Reports, 14 April 2009

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics2/on_immigration_large_gap_remains_between_mainstream_america_and_political_class

Immigration Ranks 10th in Priorities

Support Tougher Enforcement - Monday, January 19, 2009

In a Washington Post/ABC Poll released just before Barack Obama's inaguration, respondents ranked immigration No. 10 on a list of priorities for the administration. The economy, Iraq War, foreign policy and education were all ranked ahead of immigration. Twenty-one percent said that it was the highest priority, 48 percent said it was high priority, while 29 percent said it was low priority.

Washington Post/ABC Poll - January 19

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/postpoll_011709.html

Transatlantic Trends: Immigration

Protect Jobs and Wages Support Tougher Enforcement - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When asked about what governments should do to address illegal immigration, 83% of respondents supported stronger border controls, 74% supported cracking down on employers, and 68% supported deportation.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2008

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No Post-election Mandate for Amnesty

Oppose Amnesty - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Only 32% of Obama voters considered his support for amnesty as a factor in their decisions to vote for him. 67% said it was either not a factor at all, or they voted for Obama in spite of his stance on amnesty.

60% of voters said reducing illegal immigration and cracking down on employers who hire them is important to them, while only 21% supported "legalizing or creating a pathway to citizenship" for illegal aliens.

57% of voters stated that amnesty would harm American workers and further strain public resources, while only 26% believe amnesty would aid economic recovery and ease public burdens.

http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/zogby_2008_tabresults.pdf.pdf?docID=2262

Rasmussen Poll reveals Americans Angry over Immigration

Oppose Amnesty Support Tougher Enforcement - Friday, November 7, 2008

Twenty-six of respondents are angry over immigration policy in the United States.

Sixty-two percent say gaining control of the borders is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/26_angry_about_immigration_the_issue_candidates_ignore