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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues
Report that provides background information regarding the Immigration and Naturalization Service rules and regulations and discusses the "immigration detainer", a document by which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) advises other law enforcement agencies that it seeks custody of individual aliens whom these agencies are detaining. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227788/
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, 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/
Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification
This report discusses some of the most difficult immigration policy questions regarding unauthorized immigration and unauthorized employment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462611/
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/
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/
Visa Waiver Program
This report discusses the visa waiver program (VWP), which allows foreign visitors to bypass the first, screening step 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/metadc462490/
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 §287(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/
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/
Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees
Report regarding renewed Congressional interest in facilitating the immigration of foreign professional workers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227765/
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/metadc122311/
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 112th Congress
This report discusses immigration-related issues that have received legislative action or are of significant congressional interest in the 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122215/
Arizona v. United States: A Limited Role for States in Immigration Enforcement
Report that discusses the Supreme Court's ruling in Arizona v. United States, and considers the implications that the decision may have for immigration enforcement activity by states and localities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227808/
Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law
This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly; analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, including the Supreme Court's ruling in Arizona v. United States; and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice. This report does not discuss legal issues raised by state and local measures intended to supplement federal immigration laws through the imposition of additional criminal or civil penalties. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122201/
Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues
Report that surveys the various authorities governing immigration detainers, including the standard detainer form (Form I-247) sent by ICE to other law enforcement agencies. The report also discusses key legal issues raised by immigration detainers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227787/
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and “DREAM Act” Legislation
This report looks at the background and history of recent "DREAM Act"s, which address the status of unauthorized alien students. It pays special attention to the June 15, 2012 announcement that come individuals who were brought into the U.S. as children and meet other requirements would be eligible for deferred action for two years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94097/
Mexican Migration to the United States: Policy and Trends
History and geography have given Mexico a unique status in the U.S. immigration system, and have made the Mexico-U.S. migration flow the largest in the world. Mexicans are the largest group of U.S. migrants across most types of immigration statuses—a fact that may have important implications for how Congress makes U.S. immigration policy. This report reviews the history of immigration policy and migration flows between the countries and the demographics of Mexicans within the United States. It also analyzes contemporary issues in U.S. immigration policy and the impact Mexico may have on U.S. immigration outcomes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87242/
Immigration Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85403/
Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85430/
Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement: Performance Measures
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 §274A 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85373/
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85481/
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation
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." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86657/
Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86614/
U.S. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions
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/metadc84039/
Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86642/
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 112th Congress
This report discusses immigration-related issues that have received legislative action or are of significant congressional interest in the 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87191/
Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues
As Congress considers addressing some of the problems in the nation's immigration system, the detention of noncitizens in the United States may be an issue as Congress may choose to reevaluate detention priorities (i.e., who should be detained) and resources. There are many policy issues surrounding detention of aliens. The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) increased the number of aliens subject to mandatory detention, and raised concerns about the justness of mandatory detention, especially as it is applied to asylum seekers arriving without proper documentation. Additionally, as DHS increases its ability to identify aliens who are subject to removal from local jails in more remote locations, the nationwide allocation of detention space may become an issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84040/
Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87171/
Birthright Citizenship Under the 14th Amendment of Persons Born in the United States to Alien Parents
Background of 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/metadc87300/
Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry
This report concludes by raising additional questions about future investments at the border, how to weigh such investments against other enforcement strategies, and the relationship between border enforcement and the broader debate about U.S. immigration policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84015/
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
This report is a brief overview of current policies regarding temporatry protected status (TPS), which is relief from removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It includes information about humanitarian migrants, temporary protected status, other blanket forms of relief, nationalities receiving protections, and issues with TPS, as well as recent legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94175/
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. Federal law bars aliens residing without authorization in the United States from most federal benefits; however, there is a widely held perception that many unauthorized aliens obtain such benefits. The degree to which unauthorized resident aliens should be accorded certain rights and privileges as a result of their residence in the United States, along with the duties owed by such aliens given their presence, remains the subject of debate in Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94147/
Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83988/
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/metadc93979/
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 CAP, Secure Communities, the § 287(g) program, and 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/metadc83991/
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report discusses a rise in the unauthorized resident ("illegal") alien population from 1986 to 2010. It looks at reasons that illegal aliens stay resort to breaking the law and how illegal aliens affect the workforce in certain industries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94099/
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93810/
Visa Security Policy: Roles of the Departments of State and Homeland Security
This report discusses the visa security and visa policy questions debated in Congress. The policy questions center on whether immigration law needs to be strengthened, whether funding should be increased, and which agency should take the lead. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97982/
Asylum and “Credible Fear” Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy
This report defines asylum seekers, and looks at the background of asylum seekers in the U.S. since the 1980s. It discusses current issues, including inconsistent approval rates for asylum seekers across different regions and jurisdictions. It ends with a discussion of the crux of the issue, and ways in directions that current law/new legislation could move to mitigate this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96690/
U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants
The environmental, social, and political conditions in Haiti have long prompted congressional interest in U.S. policy on Haitian migrants, particularly those attempting to reach the United States by boat. While some observers assert that such arrivals by Haitians are a breach in border security, others maintain that these Haitians are asylum seekers following a decades old practice of Haitians coming by boat without legal immigration documents. Migrant interdiction and mandatory detention are key components of U.S. policy toward Haitian migrants, but human rights advocates express concern that Haitians are not afforded the same treatment as other asylum seekers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40250/
Visa Security Policy: Roles of the Departments of State and Homeland Security
This report discusses the visa security and visa policy questions, debated in the 112th Congress.. The policy questions center on whether immigration law needs to be strengthened, whether funding should be increased, and which agency should take the lead. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40089/
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40066/
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement
This report discusses the history of Sudan's civil unrest and the subsequent crisis in Darfur, as well as United Nations and United States aid and peacekeeping efforts, and current related policy under the Obama Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98073/
Asylum and “Credible Fear” Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy
This report defines asylum seekers and looks at the background of asylum seekers in the U.S. since the 1980s. It discusses current issues, including inconsistent approval rates for asylum seekers across different regions and jurisdictions. It ends with a discussion of whether or not the policy (created during the Cold War) has adapted to the 21st century, and ways in directions that current law/new legislation could move to mitigate this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99056/
Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Issues
This report looks at controversies surrounding the diversity immigrant visa lottery, which encourages legal immigration from countries other than the major sending countries of current immigrants to the U.S. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99051/
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and “DREAM Act” Legislation
This report discusses the "DREAM Act", a measure to enable certain unauthorized alien students to legalize their status, as well as related issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99101/
Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33030/
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement
This report discusses the history of Sudan's civil unrest and the subsequent crisis in Darfur, as well as United Nations and United States aid and peacekeeping efforts, and current related policy under the Obama Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99099/
Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement: Performance Measures
In the spring of 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued new guidance on immigration-related worksite enforcement. According to 2010 estimates, there are some 8.0 million unauthorized workers in the U.S. civilian labor force. Enforcement activity by the Department of Labor (DOL) is also relevant to a discussion of federal efforts to curtail unauthorized employment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83891/
U.S. Immigration Policy on Temporary Admissions
This report begins with a discussion of the policy tensions surrounding temporary admissions. It follows 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 also describes the circumstances under which nonimmigrants may work in the United States. The second portion of the report analyzes trends in temporary migration. It describes changes over time in nonimmigrant visas issued and nonimmigrant admissions. Various data on nonimmigrants who establish residence in the United States are also discussed. The report concludes with two detailed tables analyzing key admissions requirements across all nonimmigrant visa types. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99079/