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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The U.S. Foreign-Born Population: Trends and Selected Characteristics
This report offers context for consideration of immigration policy options by presenting data on key geographic, demographic, social, and economic characteristics of the foreign-born population residing in the United States. Interest in the U.S. foreign-born population stems in part from the changing demographic profile of the United States as well as the rapidity of such change, and how both of these trends correspond to U.S. immigration policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491245/
Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol
This report includes some issues for Congress to consider which include the slow rate of integration between the United States Border Patrol's (USBP) biometric database of illegal aliens and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) biometric database of criminals and terrorists; the number of unauthorized aliens who die attempting to enter the country each year; the organized human smuggling rings that have proliferated as entering the country has become more difficult; and the threat posed by terrorists along the sparsely defended Northern border as well as the more porous Southwest border. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491191/
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation
In recent years, multiple bills have been introduced in Congress to provide relief to unauthorized alien students. In most cases, these bills have proposed to repeal the 1996 provision and enable certain unauthorized alien students to adjust to legal permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States. These bills have often been entitled the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act. This report discusses the background and debate surrounding "Dream Act" legislation in the 110th and 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491063/
Homeland Security: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Border Surveillance
Congress has expressed a great deal of interest in using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to surveil the United States' international land border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) utilizes advanced technology to augment its USBP agents' ability to patrol the border, including a fleet of six UAVs. This report examines the strengths and limitations of deploying UAVs along the borders and related issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490874/
U.S. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions
This report discusses the four major principles underlie current U.S. policy on permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of immigrants with needed skills, the protection of refugees, and the diversity of admissions by country of origin. Against competing priorities for increased immigration are those who offer options to scale back immigration levels, with options ranging from limiting family-based legal permanent residents to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to confining employment-based legal permanent residents exceptional, extraordinary, or outstanding individuals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491425/
Unauthorized Alien Students, Higher Education, and In-State Tuition Rates: A Legal Analysis
This report provides a legal overview of cases involving immigrant access to higher education, as well as an analysis of the legality of state laws that make in-state tuition rates available to illegal aliens. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491102/
Permanent Legal Immigration to the United States: Policy Overview
This report provides an overview of the current state of legal immigration policy in the U.S. In FY2013, just under 1 million aliens became U.S. legal permanent residents (LPRs). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491648/
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Immigration Fees and Adjudication Costs: Proposed Adjustments and Historical Context
This report discusses the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's (USCIS) newly proposed fee schedule for immigration services. Issues for Congress to consider might include how USCIS fees have been computed and justified; whether anticipated revenue from revised fees will cover agency costs; how fiscal shortfalls might be funded; and what impact higher fees might have on the applicant pool. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491582/
Immigration of Foreign Workers: Labor Market Tests and Protections
This report examines the current state of employment-based immigration, and discusses its perceived effects on the labor market. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491531/
Birthright Citizenship Under the 14th Amendment of Persons Born in the United States to Alien Parents
This report provides background information on birthright citizenship to alien parents in the U.S. The report ends with a detail of amendments in the 112th Congress that would amend the Constitution to exclude from citizenship at birth persons born in the United States whose parents are unlawfully present in the United States or are non-immigrant aliens. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491556/
The Obama Administration's November 2014 Immigration Initiatives: Questions and Answers
On November 20, 2014, President Obama delivered a televised address wherein he broadly described the steps that his administration is taking to "fix" what he has repeatedly described as a "broken immigration system."1 Following the President's address, executive agencies made available intra-agency memoranda and fact sheets detailing specific actions that have already been taken, or will be taken in the future.2 These actions generally involve either border security, the current unlawfully present population, or future legal immigration. This report provides the answers to key legal questions related to the various immigration-related actions announced by the Obama Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491342/
Border Security: Immigration Inspections at Ports of Entry
This report reviews the legislative history of immigration inspections requirements and the entry-exit system. The report then describes the implementation of these provisions, including pre-travel screening, primary and secondary inspections, trusted traveler programs, outbound enforcement, and the entry-exit system. The final section of the report identifies a number of issues for Congress related to immigration admissions and enforcement at POEs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491314/
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. In doing so, it outlines a brief history of U.S. family-based immigration policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491047/
Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol
This report discusses the United States Border Patrol's history as our nation's first line of defense against unauthorized migration. Today, the USBP's primary mission is to detect and prevent the entry of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and illegal aliens into the country, and to interdict drug smugglers and other criminals along the border. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 dissolved the Immigration and Naturalization Service and placed the USBP within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490952/
Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy Overview and Trends
This report deals with the four major federal means-tested benefit programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant programs, and Medicaid. It is organized into four main parts: an overview of existing eligibility law for the four programs and the policies that preceded the 1996 act; an overview of related immigrant policies affecting eligibility (specifically, the treatment of sponsored aliens); an analysis of trends in noncitizen poverty and benefit use; and a summary of the eligibility rules for aliens residing in the United States illegally. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490965/
State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments
This report discusses the constitutional issues raised by state and local laws intended to deter the presence of unauthorized aliens by limiting their access to housing, employment, and public benefits, as well as the implications that federal civil rights statutes might have for the implementation and enforcement of these laws. It also discusses recent federal court cases addressing the constitutionality of such measures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490883/
Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of the three broad types of discretion that the Executive can be seen to have as to immigration: (1) express delegations of discretionary authority; (2) discretion in enforcement (commonly known as prosecutorial or enforcement discretion); and (3) discretion in interpreting and applying statutes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490953/
U.S. Refugee Resettlement Assistance
In recent years, the United States has admitted an increasingly diverse group of refugees and other humanitarian cases with a diverse set of needs. There seems to be broad consensus that the U.S. refugee resettlement assistance system is not adequately meeting the needs of these new arrivals and is ripe for reform. The National Security Council is leading an interagency review of refugee resettlement, the forthcoming results of which may further energize reform efforts. To help inform possible future efforts to reform the refugee resettlement assistance system, this report discusses existing resettlement assistance programs, key challenges and issues in providing effective assistance, and policy options to reform the current system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490999/
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report presents data estimating since 1986 the number of unauthorized aliens who have been living in the United States. There have been a variety of estimates of the unauthorized resident alien population over this period, sometimes with substantially different results. This report is limited to analyses of the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and of the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau so that there are basic standards of comparison over time. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462232/
Special Immigrant Juveniles: In Brief
This report provides a brief explanation of the statutory basis of special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status and how it has evolved. It also presents statistics on the number of children who have applied for and received SIJ status since FY2005. The report concludes with a discussion of the applicability of SIJ status for unaccompanied alien children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462914/
State and Local Restrictions on Employing Unauthorized Aliens
This report discusses state and local restrictions upon employing unauthorized aliens in light of the May 26, 2011, decision by the Supreme Court in Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Whiting. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462184/
Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry
This report reviews efforts to combat unauthorized migration across the Southwest border in the nearly three decades since the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) initiated the modern era in migration control. In reviewing such efforts, the report takes stock of the current state of border security and considers lessons that may be learned about enhanced enforcement at U.S. borders. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462683/
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visa (SIV) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuance, and considers challenges facing the programs today. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462255/
U.S. Immigration Policy on Temporary Admissions
This report begins with a synthesis of the nonimmigrant categories according to the purpose of the visa. It discusses the periods of admission and length of stay and then summarizes grounds for inadmissibility and removal as well as reasons for termination of status. It describes the circumstances under which nonimmigrants may work in the United States and follows with an analysis of nonimmigrant admissions. The report concludes with a discussion of issues, followed by two detailed tables analyzing key admissions requirements across all nonimmigrant visa types. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463098/
Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Programs and Unaccompanied Alien Children
This report addresses possible sources of federal support for schools and local educational agencies that have enrolled unaccompanied alien children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462607/
Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues
"This report surveys the various authorities governing immigration detainers, including the standard detainer form (Form I-247) sent by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to other law enforcement agencies. The report also discusses key legal issues raised by immigration detainers, including whether Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) detainer regulations and practices are beyond its statutory authority; whether states and localities are required to comply with immigration detainers; who has custody of aliens subject to detainers; and whether detainer practices violate aliens' constitutional rights. In considering these topics, it is important to note that Form I-247 and DHS's detainer practices have changed several times since 2010, and that decisions on the merits have not yet been issued in many cases challenging the use of detainers in conjunction with the Secure Communities program" (p. 6). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462021/
Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol
This report includes some issues for Congress to consider which include the slow rate of integration between the United States Border Patrol's (USBP) biometric database of illegal aliens and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) biometric database of criminals and terrorists; the number of unauthorized aliens who die attempting to enter the country each year; the organized human smuggling rings that have proliferated as entering the country has become more difficult; and the threat posed by terrorists along the sparsely defended Northern border as well as the more porous Southwest border. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462062/
Asylum Policies for Unaccompanied Children Compared with Expedited Removal Policies for Unauthorized Adults: In Brief
This report focuses on unaccompanied alien children as asylum seekers. To bring clarity to the unique policies toward unaccompanied children, this report compares their treatment to that of unauthorized adults and families with children in the specific contexts of asylum and expedited removal. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463463/
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Frequently Asked Questions
This report discusses the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) June 15, 2012 announcement that certain individuals who were brought to the United States as children and meet other criteria would be considered for relief from removal for two years, subject to renewal, under an initiative known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462591/
Brief History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Efforts in the 109th and 110th Congresses to Inform Policy Discussions in the 113th Congress
This report opens with brief legislative histories of "comprehensive immigration reform" (CIR) in the 109th and 110th Congresses. A comparative overview of key CIR provisions in the three bills that received floor action in the 109th and 110th Congresses follows. In addition to a narrative discussion of how the bills addressed the main provisions of CIR, the report provides a table that presents a comparative summary of the key features of the bills. The report concludes with observations contrasting the 2006-2007 period with the context of today's CIR debate. The report also provides an appendix that summarizes the three major CIR bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462339/
Foreign Investor Visas: Policies and Issues
This report provides a brief legislative background, discussions of immigrant and nonimmigrant investors visas, a comparison of U.S. and Canadian immigrant investor programs, an analysis of the relationship between investment and migration, and finally a review of current issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462364/
Unaccompanied Alien Children: Demographics in Brief
This report discusses children coming to the United States who are not accompanied by parents or legal guardians and who lack proper immigration documents has raised complex and competing sets of humanitarian concerns and immigration control issues. This report focuses on the demographics of unaccompanied alien children while they are in removal proceedings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462514/
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report presents data estimating since 1986 the number of unauthorized aliens who have been living in the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462380/
Unauthorized Aliens' Access to Federal Benefits: Policy and Issues
This report focuses on the policy and legislative debate surrounding unauthorized aliens' access to federal benefits. The number of foreign-born people residing in the United States (40.7 million) is at the highest level in our history and, as a portion of the U.S. population, has reached a percentage (13%) not seen since the early 20th century.1 Of the foreign-born residents in the United States, approximately one-third are speculated to be unauthorized residents (often characterized as illegal aliens). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461998/
Immigration: Terrorist Grounds for Exclusion and Removal of Aliens
This report focuses on the terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and deportation/removal. It opens with an overview of the terror-related grounds as they evolved through key legislation enacted in recent years. The section on current law explains the legal definitions of "terrorist activity," "engage in terrorist activity," and "terrorist organization," and describes the terror-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal. The report then discusses the alien screening process to determine admissibility and to identify possible terrorists, both during the visa issuance process abroad and the inspections process at U.S. ports of entry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461976/
Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview
This report opens with an analysis of the data of the recent surge in UAC crossing the border. It then discusses current policy on the treatment, care, and custody of the population. The processing and treatment of UAC is detailed, with a discussion of each agency that is involved with the population. The report then discusses both Administrative and Congressional action to deal with the current crisis. As this issue is still emerging, the report concludes with a series of questions related to UAC that remain unanswered. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462766/
U.S. Naturalization Policy
This report reviews the rights and obligations that come with naturalization. It examines the naturalization process, discusses recent trends regarding who, among the roughly 1 million immigrants entering the United States each year, ultimately becomes a U.S. citizen, and discusses recent naturalization-related policy issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462718/
Protecting the U.S. Perimeter: "Border Searches" Under the Fourth Amendment
This report addresses the scope of the government's authority to search and seize individuals at the border pursuant to the constitutional framework that encompasses the border search exception to the warrant and probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment. This report also describes the varying levels of suspicion generally associated with each type of border search as interpreted by the courts. In addition, this report highlights some of the border security recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission and legislative actions taken in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462911/
Immigration: Terrorist Grounds for Exclusion and Removal of Aliens
This report focuses on the terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and deportation/removal. It opens with an overview of the terror-related grounds as they evolved through key legislation enacted in recent years. The section on current law explains the legal definitions of "terrorist activity," "engage in terrorist activity," and "terrorist organization," and describes the terror-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal. The report then discusses the alien screening process to determine admissibility and to identify possible terrorists, both during the visa issuance process abroad and the inspections process at U.S. ports of entry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463244/
Female Genital Mutilation as Persecution: When Can It Constitute a Basis for Asylum and Withholding of Removal?
This report explores the basic statutory and regulatory framework that governs asylum law. This entails an outline of the requirements an applicant must meet in order to obtain relief under asylum law and a discussion about the differences between the two main forms of relief for aliens facing removal from the United States: asylum and withholding of removal. It will then examine several important issues and controversies concerning female genital mutilation (FGM) and its effect on asylum law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463197/
Visa Waiver Program
This report discusses the visa waiver program (VWP), which allows for a bypass of the first step by which foreign visitors are screened for admissibility to enter the United States. Some policymakers are concerned that this waiver allows terrorists to more easily enter the country. The report provides waiver-related statistics and related legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463157/
Unaccompanied Alien Children--Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses the questions regarding the number of children arriving at the United States southern border, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462400/
Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry
This report reviews efforts to combat unauthorized migration across the Southwest border in the nearly three decades since the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) initiated the modern era in migration control, takes stock of the current state of border security, and considers lessons that may be learned about enhanced enforcement at U.S. borders. The report begins by reviewing the history of border control and the development of a national border control strategy beginning in the 1990s. The following sections summarize appropriations and resources dedicated to border enforcement, indicators of enforcement outcomes, metrics for estimating unauthorized migration flows, and possible secondary and unintended consequences of border enforcement. The report concludes by reviewing the overall costs and benefits of the current approach to migration control and raising additional questions that may help guide the discussion of these issues in the future.,5/ digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462138/
Interior Immigration Enforcement: Programs Targeting Criminal Aliens
This report begins by defining and quantifying the criminal alien population, to the extent possible. The following sections describe current and historical programs designed in whole or in part to target this population, including the Criminal Alien Program (CAP), Secure Communities, the ยง287(g) program, and the National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP). After describing how these programs function and key differences among them, the report reviews their recent appropriations history and enforcement statistics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462963/
Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy Overview and Trends
This report discusses the extent to which residents of the United States who are not U.S. citizens should be eligible for federally-funded public aid. This issue meets at the intersection of two major policy areas: immigration policy and welfare policy. This report deals with the four major federal means-tested benefit programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant programs, and Medicaid. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462100/
Immigration Policies and Issues on Health-Related Grounds for Exclusion
This report discusses the criteria that foreign nationals must meet before admission to the United States, specifically examining the health-related grounds for exclusion. It provides this information in the context of recent outbreaks of communicable diseases abroad such as Ebola in West Africa, avian influenza in China, polio in the middle east, and dengue fever in the Caribbean. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462189/
Visa Issuances: Policy, Issues, and Legislation
This report opens with an overview of visa issuances, with sections on procedures for aliens coming to live in the United States permanently and on procedures for aliens admitted for temporary stays. It includes a discussion of visa screening policies, including inadmissibility, databases, an analysis of visa refusals, biometric visas and other major visa policy procedures. The final section analyzes selected issues in the 110th Congress, notably new technologies, impact on travel and commerce, and security concerns. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462474/
Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 113th Congress
This report outlines an array of homeland security issues that may come before the 113th Congress. After a brief discussion of the overall homeland security budget, the report divides the specific issues into five broad categories: counterterrorism and security management, border security and trade, immigration, disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and departmental management. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462870/
Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement
This report examines the role of state and local law enforcement in enforcing immigration law. The discussion is limited to the role of state and local law enforcement in the investigation, arrest, and detention of all immigration violators. The report does not discuss the prosecution, adjudication, or removal of aliens who violate the law. The report opens with a brief discussion of the types of immigration interior enforcement activities that the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) pursued and the current immigration activities that are now the focus of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A discussion of the legal authority that permits state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration law under certain circumstances follows. Current administrative efforts to involve state and local law enforcement in enforcing immigration law as well as selected issues are discussed. The report concludes with a discussion of the pros and cons of such a policy and an analysis of policy options for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463385/
Asylum and Gang Violence: Legal Overview
This report discusses the basis for asylum in International and U.S. Law. The recent increase in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) apprehended at the border between Mexico and the United States has raised questions about the role that gang-related violence in Central America may play in determining whether such children are eligible for refugee status and asylum. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462856/