Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have passed two funding bills to fund the federal government through the fiscal year 2020. Unfortunately, both of these bills contain facets that negatively impact the mission of sensible immigration reform.
Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1158) which effectively prohibits ICE from cooperating with Health and Human Services to detain or remove illegal alien sponsors of unaccompanied alien children (UACs). According to ICE, "close to 80% of the individuals that are either sponsors or household members of sponsors are here in the country illegally, and a large chunk of those are criminal aliens." While this provision would allow the removal of certain felons, it exempts these sponsors--even if they have been convicted of certain other crimes--from the consequences of their immigration crimes.
Congress also passed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1865) showing contempt for the most vulnerable American workers by authorizing DHS to nearly double the available H-2B visas for the remainder of FY 2020. Wages in most H-2B industries have only barely begun to increase in our now booming economy. Americans working in these jobs deserve to see their wages rise. Moreover, there are around 50 million working-age Americans who are still outside the labor force and need to be brought in. Employers should recruit them, rather than importing cheap foreign labor through an exploited visa program. The last time this authority was given to DHS, 30,000 visas were added above the statutory cap of 66,000.
Finally, earlier this week, Congress also passed the Defense Authorization Bill which will extend a permanent amnesty to approximately 3,500 Liberian nationals who received Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) in 2007.
Updated: Thu, Jan 2nd 2020 @ 12:40pm EST