Andorra Bruno, Coordinator Specialist in Immigration Policy
has not been a front-burner issue for the 112th Congress.
During the past two years, however, Congress has taken legislative action
on some measures containing provisions on a range of immigration-related
topics. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-74) contains
provisions on border security, visa security, tourist visas, and refugees. It
also includes limited language on other issues, such as employment
eligibility verification and the H-2B temporary worker visa. P.L. 112-176
extends the authorization for four immigration programs (EB-5 visa
program, E-Verify, Conrad State program, and special immigrant religious worker program)
for three years, until September 30, 2015. P.L. 112-205 provides statutory
authority for the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST)
initiative. P.L. 112-58 concerns military service-based immigration
benefits; P.L. 112-127 concerns border tunnels. P.L. 112-130 makes Israeli
nationals eligible for E-2 treaty investor visas.
Both the House and the Senate have passed different bills (H.R. 4970, S. 1925)
to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In addition, the
House has passed bills that would make changes to permanent
employment-based and family-based admissions (H.R. 3012); create new visa
categories for prospective LPRs with graduate degrees in science, technology,
engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields (H.R. 6429); and reauthorize a
temporary worker category for foreign nurses (H.R. 1933). It has also
passed legislation with provisions on border security at and between ports
of entry (H.R. 1299) and student visa reform (H.R. 3120).
In other action on immigration-related legislation, the House Judiciary
Committee has reported or ordered reported bills on electronic employment
eligibility verification (H.R. 2885), immigrant detention (H.R. 1932),
visa security (H.R. 1741), and the diversity visa (H.R. 704). House and Senate
Committees have considered different DHS authorization bills. The Senate
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has reported S. 1546,
and the House Homeland Security Committee has ordered reported H.R. 3116.
Bills on victims of trafficking have been reported by the Senate Judiciary
Committee (S. 1301) and ordered reported by the House Foreign Affairs
Committee (H.R. 2830). The House Natural Resources Committee has reported bills addressing
border enforcement activities on federal lands (H.R. 1505, which also was
included as an amendment to H.R. 3116) and foreign residents of the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory in
the Pacific (H.R. 1466). In addition, House and Senate committees and
subcommittees have held hearings on a number of immigration-related issues.
This report discusses immigration-related issues that have received legislative
action or are of significant congressional interest in the 112th Congress. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations
are addressed in CRS Report R41982, Homeland Security Department: FY2012 Appropriations,
and, for the most part, are not covered here.
Date of Report: December 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 36 Order Number: R42036 Price: $29.95
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