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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress

Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress

Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Description: This report synthesizes immigration issues as a multi-tiered debate. It breaks down the U.S. immigration law and policy into key elements: border control and visa security; legal immigration; documentation and verification; interior immigration enforcement; integration, status, and benefits; and refugees and other humanitarian populations. This report also delineates the debate in the 112th Congress for a range of issues, including border security, criminal aliens, and worksite enforcement.
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Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation

Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation

Date: March 21, 2012
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: The 109th and 110th Congresses considered, but did not enact, comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included large-scale legalization programs for unauthorized aliens. In the aftermath of these unsuccessful efforts, some interested parties have urged the President and Congress to pursue more limited legislation to address the status of unauthorized alien students. Such legislation is commonly referred to as the "DREAM Act."
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Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy

Date: March 7, 2012
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: Typically, the annual number of refugees that can be admitted into the United States, known as the refugee ceiling, and the allocation of these numbers by region are set by the President after consultation with Congress at the start of each fiscal year. For FY2012, the worldwide refugee ceiling is 76,000, with 73,000 admissions numbers allocated among the regions of the world and 3,000 numbers comprising an unallocated reserve. Overseas processing of refugees is conducted through a system of three priorities for admission. Priority 1 comprises cases involving persons facing compelling security concerns. Priority 2 comprises cases involving persons from specific groups of special humanitarian concern to the United States (e.g., Iranian religious minorities). Priority 3 comprises family reunification cases involving close relatives of persons admitted as refugees or granted asylum. Special legislative provisions facilitate relief for certain refugee groups.
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Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues

Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues

Date: March 20, 2012
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: U.S. employers in various industries argue that they need to hire foreign workers to perform lower-skilled jobs, while others maintain that many of these positions could be filled by U.S. workers. While the discussion of current guest worker programs in this report focuses on the H-2A and H- 2B visas, it also covers the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, the largest of several programs under the J-1 visa for participants in work- and study-based exchange visitor programs. The SWT program is particularly relevant because participants work largely in unskilled jobs, including H-2B-like seasonal jobs at resorts and amusement parks.
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Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement: Performance Measures

Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement: Performance Measures

Date: May 10, 2012
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for immigration-related worksite enforcement, or enforcement of the prohibitions on unauthorized employment in Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA ยง274A provisions, sometimes referred to as employer sanctions, make it unlawful for an employer to knowingly hire, recruit or refer for a fee, or continue to employ an alien who is not authorized to be so employed. This report looks at enforcement measures of this act.
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Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees

Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees

Date: May 11, 2012
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Description: Congress is renewing its interest in facilitating the immigration of foreign professional workers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields. The STEM workforce is seen by many as a catalyst of U.S. global economic competitiveness and is likewise considered a key element of the legislative options aimed at stimulating economic growth. "STEM visa" is a shorthand for an expedited immigration avenue that enables foreign nationals with graduate degrees in STEM fields to adjust their immigration status to legal permanent residence (LPR) without waiting in the queue of numerically-limited LPR visas.
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Immigration Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Immigration Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Date: May 15, 2012
Creator: Kandel, William A.
Description: This report discusses the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, P.L. 103-322) that congress passed in 1994. This legislation created new programs within the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services that aimed to both reduce domestic violence and improve response to and recovery from domestic violence incidents.
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Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues

Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues

Date: April 2, 2012
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Description: When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in spots around the world, concerns arise over the safety of foreign nationals residing in the United States who are from these troubled places. Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) or relief from removal under specified circumstances. A foreign national who is granted TPS receives a registration document and an employment authorization for the duration of TPS. The United States currently provides TPS or deferred enforced departure (DED) to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of eight countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and most recently Southern Sudan and Syria.
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The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments

The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments

Date: March 23, 2009
Creator: Dagne, Ted
Description: This report discusses, in brief, the current political state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the crisis situation in eastern Congo that has displaced more than 250,000 civilians. It also describes U.S., U.N., and other international efforts to aid in resolving the crisis.
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Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings

Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings

Date: December 6, 2011
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Description: The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
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