Immigration Policy

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Cuba: U.S. Policy in the 115th Congress

Cuba remains a one-party authoritarian state with a poor human rights record. Current President Miguel Díaz-Canel succeeded Raúl Castro on April 19, 2018, although Castro is continuing in his position as first secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party. Over the past decade, Cuba has implemented gradual market-oriented economic policy changes, but critics maintain that it has not taken enough action to foster sustainable economic growth. Most observers do not anticipate significant policy changes under Díaz-Canel, at least in the short term, but the president faces the enormous challenges of...

Temporary Protected Status: Overview and Current Issues

When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in countries around the world, concerns arise over the ability of foreign nationals in the United States from those countries to safely return. Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) and other forms of relief from removal under specified circumstances. The Secretary of Homeland Security has the discretion to designate a country for TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months and can extend these periods if the country continues to meet the conditions for designation. Congress has...

Mexico: Background and U.S. Relations

Congress has maintained significant interest in Mexico, an ally and top trade partner. In recent decades, U.S.-Mexican relations have grown closer through cooperative management of the 2,000-mile border, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and security and rule of law cooperation under the Mérida Initiative. Relations have been tested, however, by President Donald J. Trump’s shifts in U.S. immigration and trade policies.

President Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is in the final months of his six-year term. During 2013, Peña Nieto shepherded...

Immigration: Frequently Asked Questions about “Public Charge”

Immigration law in the United States has long contained exclusion and removal provisions designed to limit government spending on indigent non-U.S. nationals (aliens). Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), an alien may be denied admission into the United States or adjustment to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status if he or she is “likely at any time to become a public charge.” An admitted alien may also be subject to removal from the United States based on a separate public charge ground of deportability, but this ground is rarely employed. Certain categories of aliens, such...

Sources for Frequently Requested Immigration Statistics

Multiple federal agencies play a role in administering immigration policies and enforcing immigration laws. These agencies make available various statistics related to their immigration work. This report provides guidance in identifying frequently requested immigration data from federal government sources, most of which are publicly available. This report is not a comprehensive listing of all federal immigration statistics.

The statistical sources included in this report are organized into five major categories: (1) the foreign-born population in the United States, (2) lawful admissions,...

Immigration: CRS Points of Contact

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The Trump Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” Immigration Enforcement Policy

For the last several years, Central American migrant families have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in relatively large numbers, many seeking asylum. While some request asylum at U.S. ports of entry, others do so after entering the United States “without inspection” (i.e., illegally) between U.S. ports of entry. On May 7, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) implemented a zero tolerance policy toward illegal border crossing both to discourage illegal migration into the United States and to reduce the burden of processing asylum claims that Administration officials contend are often...

The H-2B Visa and the Statutory Cap: In Brief

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, as amended, enumerates categories of aliens, known as nonimmigrants, who are admitted to the United States for a temporary period of time and a specific purpose. One of these nonimmigrant visa categories—known as the H-2B visa—is for temporary nonagricultural workers.

The H-2B visa allows for the temporary admission of foreign workers to the United States to perform nonagricultural labor or services of a temporary nature if unemployed U.S. workers are not available. Common H-2B occupations include landscape laborer, amusement park worker,...

A Primer on U.S. Immigration Policy

U.S. immigration policy is governed largely by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which was first codified in 1952 and has been amended significantly several times since. At a fundamental level, U.S. immigration policy can be viewed as two sides of a coin. One side emphasizes the faciliation of migration flows into the United States according to principles of admission that are based upon national interest. These broad principles currently include family reunification, labor market contribution, humanitarian assistance, and origin-country diversity.

The United States has long...

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: An Overview

The term STEM education refers to teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically includes educational activities across all grade levels—from pre-school to post-doctorate—in both formal (e.g., classrooms) and informal (e.g., afterschool programs) settings. Federal policymakers have an active and enduring interest in STEM education, and the topic is frequently raised in federal science, education, workforce, national security, and immigration policy debates.

Various attempts to assess the federal STEM education effort have produced...

Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification

Unauthorized immigration and unauthorized employment continue to be key issues in the ongoing debate over immigration policy. Today’s discussions about these issues build on the work of prior Congresses. In 1986, following many years of debate about unauthorized immigration to the United States, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). This law sought to address unauthorized immigration, in part, by requiring all employers to examine documents presented by new hires to verify identity and work authorization and to complete and retain employment eligibility...

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Eligibility, Benefits, and Financing

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for administering two federal entitlement programs established under the Social Security Act that provide income support to individuals with severe, long-term disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is a work-related social insurance program authorized under Title II of the act that provides monthly cash benefits to nonelderly disabled workers and their eligible dependents, provided the workers accrued a sufficient number of earnings credits during their careers in jobs...

Permanent Legal Immigration to the United States: Policy Overview

Four major principles currently underlie U.S. policy on legal permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of immigrants with needed skills, the protection of refugees and asylees, and the diversity of immigrants by country of origin. These principles are embodied in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and are reflected in different components of permanent immigration. Family reunification occurs primarily through family-sponsored immigration. U.S. labor market contribution occurs through employment-based immigration. Humanitarian assistance occurs primarily...

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy: CRS Experts

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cience, technology, and innovation (STI) play important roles in the nation’s economic and military strength, public health and safety, and the quality of our lives. Individuals, companies, governments, universities, and other organizations fund, conduct, disseminate, and acquire science and technology for a myriad of purposes. Among the purposes: providing for the national defense and homeland security; improving manufacturing processes and enabling the manufacture of new products; developing new materials; advancing computing and communications tools; preventing and treating disease,...

Work Authorization for H-4 Spouses of H-1B Temporary Workers: Frequently Asked Questions

H-4 nonimmigrant visas allow spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of H-1B temporary workers to join them in the United States. Eligibility for employment authorization for H-4 nonimmigrants was instituted by regulation in 2015 and is limited to those whose spouses are H-1B nonimmigrants who are in the process of obtaining employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

The Trump Administration is proposing to rescind this regulation, thus removing eligibility for work authorization for H-4 nonimmigrants. Congress has expressed interest in the background and...

Unauthorized Childhood Arrivals: Legislative Activity in the 115th Congress

Legislative activity in the 115th Congress on unauthorized childhood arrivals (foreign nationals who as children were brought to live in the United States by their parents or other adults) comes in response to a decision announced by the Trump Administration on September 5, 2017, to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The DACA policy was established by the Obama Administration in 2012 to provide eligible individuals with temporary protection against removal from the United States and work authorization. Initial DACA grants were for two years and could be...

Real Wage Trends, 1979 to 2017

Wage earnings are the largest source of income for many workers, and wage gains are a primary lever for raising living standards. Reports of stagnant median wages have therefore raised concerns among some that economic growth over the last several decades has not translated into gains for all worker groups. To shed light on recent patterns, this report estimates real (inflation-adjusted) wage trends at the 10th, 50th (median), and 90th percentiles of the wage distributions for the workforce as a whole and for several demographic groups, and it explores changes in educational attainment and...

Diversity Immigrants’ Regions and Countries of Origin: Fact Sheet

Keywords: diversity visa, visa lottery, diversity lottery, DV immigrants, DV lottery, DV program, immigration, diversity immigrants, country of birth, region of birth, place of birth, origin, immigrant admissions, Immigration and Nationality Act, INA, legal admissions.

U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy

Family reunification has historically been a key principle underlying U.S. immigration policy. It is embodied in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which specifies numerical limits for five family-based immigration categories, as well as a per-country limit on total family-based immigration. The five categories include immediate relatives (spouses, minor unmarried children, and parents) of U.S. citizens and four other family-based categories that vary according to individual characteristics such as the legal status of the petitioning U.S.-based relative, and the age, family...

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs

Congress has enacted a series of legislative provisions since 2006 to enable certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals to become U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs). These provisions make certain Iraqis and Afghans who have worked as translators or interpreters, or who were employed by, or on behalf of, the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan, eligible for special immigrant visas (SIVs). Special immigrants comprise a category of permanent employment-based admissions under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). While the special immigrant category is unique, it does bear some...

Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Admissions to the United States: Policy and Trends

U.S. law provides for the temporary admission of foreign nationals, who are known as nonimmigrants. Nonimmigrants are admitted for a designated period of time and a specific purpose. There are 24 major nonimmigrant visa categories, which are commonly referred to by the letter and numeral that denote their subsection in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); for example, B-2 tourists, E-2 treaty investors, F-1 foreign students, H-1B temporary professional workers, J-1 cultural exchange participants, or S-5 law enforcement witnesses and informants.

A U.S. Department of State (DOS)...

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy

A refugee is a person fleeing his or her country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. 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 FY2018, the worldwide refugee ceiling is 45,000. The FY2018 regional allocations are, as follows: Africa (19,000), East...

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Frequently Asked Questions

On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, an Obama Administration initiative, was being rescinded. A related memorandum released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that same day rescinded the 2012 memorandum that established DACA and described how DHS would “execute a wind-down of the program.” According to the September 2017 memorandum, DHS will continue to adjudicate certain DACA requests and will not terminate previously issued grants of deferred action or employment authorization “solely based...

Stafford Act Declarations 1953-2016: Trends, Analyses, and Implications for Congress

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act authorizes the President to issue declarations that provide states, tribes, and localities with a range of federal assistance in response to natural and man-made incidents. Since 1953 the frequency of declarations has increased. For example, the average number of major disaster declarations issued from 1960 to 1969 was roughly 18.6 per year. In contrast, the average number of major disaster declarations issued from 2000 to 2009 was 57.1 per year. The highest number was declared in 2011, with 97 major disaster...

Reception and Placement of Refugees in the United States

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which is managed by the Department of State (DOS), resettles refugees from around the world in the United States. Once a refugee case is approved for U.S. resettlement, the USRAP determines where in the country the refugee(s) will be resettled. This determination is made through DOS’s Reception and Placement Program (R&P), which provides initial resettlement services to arriving refugees. R&P initial resettlement assistance is separate from longer-term resettlement assistance provided through the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS)...

India-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

India will soon be the world’s most populous country, home to about one of every six people. Many factors combine to infuse India’s government and people with “great power” aspirations: the Asian giant’s rich civilization and history, expanding strategic horizons, energetic global and international engagement, critical geography (with more than 9,000 total miles of land borders, many of them disputed) astride vital sea and energy lanes, major economy (at times the world’s fastest growing) with a rising middle class and an attendant boost in defense and power projection capabilities...

U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America: Policy Issues for Congress

Central America has received renewed attention from U.S. policymakers over the past few years as the region has become a major transit corridor for illicit drugs and a significant source of irregular migration to the United States. These narcotics and migrant flows are the latest symptoms of deep-rooted challenges in several countries in the region, including widespread insecurity, fragile political and judicial systems, and high levels of poverty and unemployment. Although the Obama Administration and governments in the region launched new initiatives designed to improve conditions in...

Selected Homeland Security Issues in the 115th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue among policymakers, including those in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations,...

H-2A and H-2B Temporary Worker Visas: Policy and Related Issues

Under current law, certain foreign workers, sometimes referred to as guest workers, may be admitted to the United States to perform temporary service or labor under two temporary worker visas: the H-2A visa for agricultural workers and the H-2B visa for nonagricultural workers. Both programs are administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL).

The H-2A and H-2B programs—and guest worker programs broadly—strive both to be responsive to legitimate employer needs for temporary labor and to provide adequate protections for U.S. and foreign temporary...

Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data

The federal government owns roughly 640 million acres, about 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States. Four major federal land management agencies administer 610.1 million acres of this land (as of September 30, 2015). They are the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Forest Service (FS) in the Department of Agriculture. In addition, the Department of Defense (excluding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) administers 11.4 million acres in the United States (as of...

Cuba: Issues and Actions in the 114th Congress

Cuba remains a one-party communist state with a poor record on human rights. The country’s political succession in 2006 from the long-ruling Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl was characterized by a remarkable degree of stability. In 2013, Raúl began his second and final five-year term, which is scheduled to end in February 2018, when he would be 86 years of age. Castro has implemented a number of market-oriented economic policy changes over the past several years. An April 2016 Cuban Communist Party congress endorsed the current gradual pace of Cuban economic reform. Few observers expect...

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

In FY2014, the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC, unaccompanied children) that were apprehended at the Southwest border while attempting to enter the United States without authorization reached a peak, straining the system put in place over the past decade to handle such cases. Prior to FY2014, UAC apprehensions were steadily increasing. For example, in FY2011, the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) apprehended 16,067 unaccompanied children at the Southwest border, whereas in FY2014 more than 68,500 unaccompanied children were apprehended. In FY2015, UAC apprehensions declined 42% to...

Sanctuary Jurisdictions and Criminal Aliens: In Brief

The prominence of immigration enforcement issues during the 2016 presidential election as well as publicity surrounding crimes committed by some unauthorized aliens have reignited debates over immigration enforcement in the interior of the country. One homicide case, the July 2, 2015, slaying of a woman in San Francisco by a reported unauthorized alien with a criminal and deportation history, is noteworthy, because the law enforcement agency in question reportedly did not honor an immigration detainer issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Immigration and Customs...

Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues and Actions in the 114th Congress

U.S. Interests and Policy

Geographic proximity has ensured strong linkages between the United States and the Latin American and Caribbean region, based on diverse U.S. interests, including economic, political, and security concerns. U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration focused on four priorities: promoting economic and social opportunity; ensuring citizen security; strengthening effective democratic institutions; and securing a clean energy future. There was substantial continuity in U.S. policy toward the region during the first six years of the Obama...

Overview of Further Continuing Appropriations for FY2017 (H.R. 2028)

This report is an analysis of the provisions in H.R. 2028, which provides further continuing appropriations for FY2017 through April 28, 2017. The measure also included appropriations for the remainder of the fiscal year for Overseas Contingency Operations in the Security Assistance Appropriations Act (Division B). On December 10, 2016, the President signed H.R. 2028 into law (P.L. 114-254).

Division A of H.R. 2028 was termed a “continuing resolution” (CR) because it provided temporary authority for federal agencies and programs to continue spending in FY2017 in the same manner as a...

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Security, Enforcement, and Investigations

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the second title of the homeland security appropriations bill—Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Secret Service. Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in recent years as “Security, Enforcement, and Investigations.”

The report provides an overview of the...

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Research and Development, Training, and Services

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the fourth title of the homeland security appropriations bill—in past years, this has comprised U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Science and Technology Directorate, and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). In FY2017, the Administration proposed moving the Domestic Nuclear Detection office into a new Chemical,...

U.S. Policy on Cuban Migrants: In Brief

The Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba focused attention on U.S. policies on immigration and federal assistance that apply to Cuban migrants in the United States—a set of policies that afford Cuban nationals unique immigration privileges. The November 2016 death of Cuba’s Fidel Castro may lead to further consideration of these issues. “Normal” immigration from Cuba to the United States has not existed since the Cuban Revolution of 1959 brought Fidel Castro to power. For more than 50 years, the majority of Cubans who have entered the United States have done so...

Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy Overview

The extent to which residents of the United States who are not U.S. citizens should be eligible for federally funded public aid has been a contentious issue since the 1990s. This issue meets at the intersection of two major policy areas: immigration policy and welfare policy. The eligibility of noncitizens for public assistance programs is based on a complex set of rules that are determined largely by the category of the noncitizen in question and the nature of services being offered. Over the past 20 years, Congress has enacted significant changes in U.S. immigration policy and welfare...

The U.S. Income Distribution: Trends and Issues

Income inequality—that is, the extent to which individuals’ or households’ incomes differ—has increased in the United States since the 1970s. Rising income inequality over this time period is driven largely by relatively rapid income growth at the top of the income distribution. For example, in 1975, the average income of households in the top fifth of income distribution was 10.3 times as large as average household income in the bottom fifth of the distribution; in 2015, average top incomes were 16.3 times as large as those at the bottom.

The pace and pattern of distributional change,...

Social Security Benefits for Noncitizens

Concerns about the number of unauthorized (illegal) aliens residing in the United States have fostered considerable interest in the eligibility of noncitizens for U.S. Social Security benefits. The Social Security program provides monthly cash benefits to qualified retired or disabled workers, their dependents, and survivors. Generally, a worker must have 10 years of Social Security-covered employment to be eligible for retirement benefits (less time in covered employment is required for disability and survivor benefits). Most U.S. jobs are covered under Social Security, and as a result,...

The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government developed a unified regimen to identify and list known or suspected terrorists. The regimen has received repeated congressional attention, and this report briefly discusses for congressional policymakers how the U.S. government fashions and uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) to achieve such an end. It also discusses how the federal government engages in two travel-related screening processes—visa screening and air passenger screening. Both processes involve subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database.

The...

Unauthorized Aliens’ Access to Federal Benefits: Policy and Issues

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. This report focuses on the policy and legislative debate surrounding unauthorized aliens’ access to federal public benefits.

Except for a...

Treatment of Noncitizens Under the Affordable Care Act

The degree to which foreign nationals (noncitizens/aliens) should be accorded access to certain benefits as a result of their presence in the United States, as well as the responsibilities of such persons given their legal status (e.g., immigrants, nonimmigrants, unauthorized aliens), often figures into policy discussions in Congress. These issues become particularly salient when Congress considers legislation to establish new immigration statuses or to create or modify benefit or entitlement programs.

The 111th Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L....

Overview of Continuing Appropriations for FY2017 (H.R. 5325)

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the continuing appropriations provisions for FY2017 in H.R. 5325. The measure also included provisions covering appropriations in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill for all of FY2017 (Division A), as well as emergency funds to combat the Zika virus and provide relief for flood victims in Louisiana and other affected states (Division B). On September 29, 2016, the President signed H.R. 5325 into law (P.L. 114-223).

Division C of H.R. 5325 was termed a “continuing resolution” (CR) because measures to...

Syrian Refugee Admissions and Resettlement in the United States: In Brief

The admission of Syrian refugees to the United States has generated public controversy, with opponents citing concerns chiefly about terrorism and national security. As of August 31, 2016, the United States has admitted 10,740 Syrian refugees in FY2016, meeting the Obama Administration’s fiscal year goal. These new arrivals have been placed in 40 states. From October 1, 2010, through August 31, 2016, the United States admitted a total of 12,623 Syrian refugees.

The admission of refugees to the United States and their resettlement here are authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 114th Congress

The House and the Senate have considered immigration measures on a variety of issues in the 114th Congress. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113) extends four immigration programs through September 30, 2016: the EB-5 immigrant investor Regional Center Pilot Program, the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system, the Conrad State program for foreign medical graduates, and the special immigrant religious worker program. P.L. 114-113 also contains provisions on the Visa Waiver Program and certain nonimmigrant visa categories.

Other enacted immigration-related...

Interior Immigration Enforcement: Criminal Alien Programs

Congress has long supported efforts to identify, detain, and remove criminal aliens, defined as noncitizens who have been convicted of crimes in the United States. The apprehension and expeditious removal of criminal aliens has been a statutory priority since 1986, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and one of its predecessor agencies have operated programs targeting criminal aliens since 1988. Investments in DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) interior enforcement programs since 2004 have increased the number of potentially removable aliens identified within the...

Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Policy and Trends

Temporary visas for professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers have become an important gateway for high-skilled immigration to the United States. Over the past two decades, the number of visas issued for temporary employment-based admission has more than doubled from just over 400,000 in FY1994 to over 1 million in FY2015. While these visa numbers include some unskilled and low-skilled workers as well as accompanying family members, the visas for managerial, skilled, and professional workers dominate the trends.

Since 1952, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has...

Visa Waiver Program

The terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 and in Belgium in March 2016, which were perpetrated mainly by French and Belgian citizens, have increased focus on the potential security risks posed by the visa waiver program (VWP). The VWP allows nationals from certain countries, many of which are in Europe, to enter the United States as temporary visitors (nonimmigrants) for business or pleasure without first obtaining a visa from a U.S. consulate abroad. Temporary visitors for business or pleasure from non-VWP countries must obtain a visa from Department of State (DOS) officers at a...

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

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) specifies a complex set of numerical limits and preference categories for admitting lawful permanent residents (LPRs) that include economic priorities among the criteria for admission. Employment-based immigrants are admitted into the United States through one of the five available employment-based preference categories. Each preference category has its own eligibility criteria and numerical limits, and at times different application processes. The INA allocates 140,000 visas annually for employment-based LPRs, which amount to roughly 14% of the...

Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview

The scope of the executive’s discretion in implementing federal immigration law is a topic of perennial interest to Members and committees of Congress. Most recently, questions have been raised as to whether particular actions announced by the Obama Administration in November 2014 are within the executive’s authority. See generally CRS Legal Sidebar WSLG1442, The Obama Administration’s November 20, 2014, Actions as to Immigration: Pending Legal Challenges One Year Later, by Kate M. Manuel. However, similar questions were raised in the past about other executive actions including, but not...

Unaccompanied Alien Children: CRS Experts

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Remittances: Background and Issues for Congress

This report focuses on remittances, transfers of money and capital sent by migrants and foreign immigrant communities to their home country. At over $432 billion in 2015, remittances sent home by international migrants to developing countries are larger than official development assistance (ODA) and more stable than private capital flows to these countries.

The United States is the largest destination for international migrants and by far the largest source of global remittances. The World Bank estimates $56.3 billion in official remittance outflows from the United States in 2014. As the...

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Security, Enforcement and Investigations

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the second title of the homeland security appropriations bill—Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS). Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in recent years as “Security, Enforcement, and Investigations.”

The report provides...

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

The immigrant investor visa was created in 1990 to benefit the U.S. economy through employment creation and an influx of foreign capital into the United States. The visa is also referred to as the EB-5 visa because it is the fifth employment preference immigrant visa category. The EB-5 visa provides lawful permanent residence (i.e., LPR status) to foreign nationals who invest a specified amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise in the United States and create at least 10 jobs. The foreign nationals must invest $1,000,000, or $500,000 if they invest in a rural area or an area with...

Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry

Border enforcement is a core element of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to control unauthorized migration, with the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as the lead agency along most of the border. Border enforcement has been an ongoing subject of congressional interest since the 1970s, when unauthorized immigration to the United States first registered as a serious national problem; and border security has received additional attention in the years since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Since the 1990s, migration control at the border...

Unaccompanied Children from Central America: Foreign Policy Considerations

Since FY2011, the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) traveling to the United States from the “northern triangle” nations of Central America—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—has increased sharply. U.S. authorities encountered more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors from the region at the U.S. border in FY2014, a more than 1,200% increase compared to FY2011. This unexpected surge of children strained U.S. government resources and created a complex crisis with humanitarian implications. U.S. apprehensions of unaccompanied minors from the northern triangle declined by 45% in...

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Research and Development, Training, and Services

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the fourth title of the homeland security appropriations bill—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in appropriations acts in recent years as “Research and Development,...

U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends

This report is a chart book of selected immigration trends. Key immigration issues that Congress has considered in recent years include increased border security and immigration enforcement, expanded employment eligibility verification, reforms to the system for legal temporary and permanent immigration, and options to address the millions of unauthorized aliens residing in the country. The report offers snapshots of time series data, using the most complete and consistent time series currently available for each statistic. The key findings and elements germane to the data depicted are...

Border Security Metrics Between Ports of Entry

Understanding the risks present at the U.S. borders and developing methods to measure border security are key challenges for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Border Patrol, the agency within DHS charged with securing the border between ports of entry. Metrics for border security are used at both the strategic level, by DHS, and at the operational level by Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol). This report reviews DHS’s and the Border Patrol’s use of metrics in evaluating their objective to secure the border between ports of entry. DHS and the Border Patrol can...

Unauthorized Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis

The existence of a sizable population of “DREAMers” in the United States has prompted questions about unauthorized aliens’ eligibility for admission to public institutions of higher education, in-state tuition, and financial aid. The term DREAMer is widely used to describe aliens who were brought to the United States as children and raised here but lack legal immigration status. As children, DREAMers are entitled to public elementary and secondary education as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe. There, the Court struck down a Texas statute that prohibited the...

Haiti Under President Martelly: Current Conditions and Congressional Concerns

Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, Haiti has struggled to overcome its centuries-long legacy of authoritarianism, extreme poverty, and underdevelopment. Economic and social stability improved considerably, and many analysts believed Haiti was turning a corner toward sustainable development when it was set back by a massive earthquake in January 2010 that devastated much of the capital of Port-au-Prince. Although it is recovering, poverty remains massive and deep, and economic disparity is wide: Haiti...

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015: Changes to Domestic Human Trafficking Policies

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA, S. 178/P.L. 114-22), an omnibus bill that primarily includes anti-human trafficking provisions, was signed into law on May 29, 2015. The bill received broad congressional support, passing the Senate unanimously on April 22, 2015, and the House nearly unanimously (420-3) on May 19, 2015. Through amendments in the House and the Senate, the law incorporates the same or similar provisions from 10 of the 12 bills on trafficking that passed the House in the first few weeks of the 114th Congress: H.R. 159, H.R. 181, H.R. 246, H.R. 285, H.R. 350,...

The K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa: In Brief

The K nonimmigrant visa category was created in 1970 through P.L. 91-225, which amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Within the K visa category, the K-1 visa is a visa for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens and the K-2 visa is a visa for the fiancé(e)’s children. Congress later enacted legislation to provide protections for fiancé(e)s, specifically creating requirements around the use of international marriage brokers, the disclosure of the U.S. petitioner’s criminal background, the provision of information to fiancé(e)s on their rights, and additional protections for minors.

A...

Immigration: Noncitizen Eligibility for Needs-Based Housing Programs

The issue of noncitizen eligibility for federally funded programs, including needs-based housing programs, is a perennial issue in Congress. Noncitizen eligibility varies among the needs-based housing programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), such as Public Housing, Section 8 vouchers and project-based rental assistance, homeless assistance programs, housing for the elderly (§202) and the disabled (§811), the HOME program, and the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program. Two laws govern noncitizen eligibility for housing programs: Title...

The Islamic State—Frequently Asked Questions: Threats, Global Implications, and U.S. Policy Responses

In the wake of the deadly November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, U.S. policymakers are faced with a wide range of strategy and operational considerations related to the activities of and threats emanating from the Islamic State (IS). A terrorist attack such as this prompts an examination of U.S. domestic security precautions; the role of allies and coalition partners; the appropriate military and diplomatic reactions; the safety and security of infrastructure and that of travelers; and numerous additional discrete issues that require the active involvement of dozens of federal,...

Immigration: Visa Security Policies

The November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris have refocused attention on U.S. visa issuance and national security screening procedures that undergird the admission of foreign nationals to the United States. The visa issuance process is widely recognized as an integral part of immigration control and border security. Foreign nationals (i.e., aliens) not already legally residing in the United States who wish to come to the United States generally must obtain a visa to be admitted. The foreign national must establish that he/she is qualified for the visa under one of the various...

Syrian Refugee Admissions to the United States

This report discusses the U.S.'s plans to admit Syrian and other refugees in FY2016 and beyond. The Obama Administration initially proposed an overall refugee ceiling of 75,000 for FY2016 and held consultations with Congress on that proposal, as required by law.

Procedural Analysis of Private Laws Enacted: 1986-2015

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RS22450 Summary Between 1986 and 2015 (99th-114th Congresses), 170 private laws were enacted. As of this writing, no private laws have been enacted in the 114th Congress (2015-2016). Most private laws during this period dealt with immigration issues or claims against the government. Of these measures, 65% originated in the House, 9% had cosponsors, and 23% had companion bills. Most were enacted without amendment or need to resolve differences with the other house. This report examines the broad distinctions among these measures in terms of...

Birthright Citizenship Under the 14th Amendment of Persons Born in the United States to Alien Parents

This report traces the history of birthright citizenship under U.S. law and discusses some of the legislation in recent Congresses intended to alter it. In the current and recent Congresses, some Members have introduced or supported legislation that would revise or reinterpret the Citizenship Clause to address several concerns.

Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement: Performance Measures

Under current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidance on immigration-related worksite enforcement, the agency uses available civil and administrative tools, including civil fines and debarment, to penalize and prevent unlawful employment. According to 2012 estimates, there are some 8.1 million unauthorized workers in the U.S. civilian labor force.

DHS’s 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)....

Department of Homeland Security: FY2015 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2015 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While this report makes note of many budgetary resources provided to DHS, its primary focus is on funding approved by Congress through the appropriations process.

The Administration requested $38.332 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2015, as part of an overall budget of $60.919 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $0.938 billion, or 2.4%, decrease...

Selected Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 114th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a shifting...

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Functions and Funding

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), performs multiple functions including the adjudication of immigration and naturalization petitions, consideration of refugee and asylum claims and related humanitarian and international concerns, and a range of immigration-related services, such as issuing employment authorizations and processing nonimmigrant change-of-status petitions. Processing immigrant petitions remains USCIS’s leading function. In FY2014, it handled roughly 6 million petitions for immigration-related...

Balancing Tourism against Terrorism: The Visa Waiver Program

This report briefly discusses Congress's concern that some foreign fighters might exploit the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enter the United States and commit acts of terrorism. The VWP allows eligible visitors from 38 European nations and a few prosperous Asia-Pacific countries to enter the United States for short business or leisure stays without first obtaining a visa from a U.S. consulate abroad.

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his Immigration Accountability Executive Action which would revise some U.S. immigration policies and initiate several programs, including a revised border security policy for the Southwest border; deferred action programs for some unauthorized aliens; revised interior enforcement priorities; changes to aid the entry of skilled workers; promoting immigrant integration and naturalization; and several other initiatives the President indicated would improve the U.S. immigration system. The most controversial among these provisions would grant...

USCIS Funding and Accountability to Congress

This report briefly discusses funding for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). USCIS handles many immigration administration functions, the most prominent of which is processing and adjudicating immigrant petitions and applications.

Alien Removals and Returns: Overview and Trends

The ability to remove foreign nationals (aliens) who violate U.S. immigration law is central to the immigration enforcement system. Some lawful migrants violate the terms of their admittance, and some aliens enter the United States illegally, despite U.S. immigration laws and enforcement. In 2012, there were an estimated 11.4 million resident unauthorized aliens; estimates of other removable aliens, such as lawful permanent residents who commit crimes, are elusive. With total repatriations of over 600,000 people in FY2013—including about 440,000 formal removals—the removal and return of...

Border Security: Immigration Inspections at Ports of Entry

About 362 million travelers (citizens and non-citizens) entered the United States in FY2013, including about 102 million air passengers and crew, 18 million sea passengers and crew, and 242 million land travelers. At the same time about 205,000 aliens were denied admission at ports of entry (POEs); and about 24,000 persons were arrested at POEs on criminal warrants.

Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) is responsible for conducting immigration inspections at America’s 329 POEs. CBP’s primary...

Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and “DREAM Act” Legislation

Immigration reform has been hotly debated in recent years. Broadly construed, it encompasses a range of issues, including the highly controversial question of legalizing large numbers of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. A historically less controversial, more targeted legalization proposal has been included in “DREAM Act” legislation, which seeks to enable certain unauthorized aliens who entered the United States as children to obtain legal immigration status. The name DREAM Act derives from the bill title, Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, but it refers...

Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 113th Congress

Geographic proximity has ensured strong linkages between the United States and the Latin American and Caribbean region, with diverse U.S. interests, including economic, political, and security concerns. U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration has focused on four priorities: promoting economic and social opportunity; ensuring citizen security; strengthening effective democratic institutions; and securing a clean energy future. There was substantial continuity in U.S. policy toward the region during the first six years of the Obama Administration, which pursued some of...

Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Ebola in the United States: Frequently Asked Questions

Throughout 2014, an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has outpaced the efforts of health workers trying to contain it in three West African countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. (These are often referred to as “affected countries” or “countries with widespread transmission.” In mid-November, 2014, Ebola transmission also occurred for the second time in neighboring Mali. The extent of spread in Mali remains to be seen.) EVD cases have been imported to other countries, including the United States, where two nurses were infected while caring for a patient who had traveled from...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 113th Congress

Immigration reform was an active legislative issue in the first session of the 113th Congress. The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes provisions on border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, legalization of unauthorized aliens, immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, and humanitarian admissions. For its part, the House took a different approach to immigration reform. Rather than considering a single comprehensive...

Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Legislation in the 113th Congress

The admission of professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers raises a complex set of policy issues as the United States competes internationally for the most talented workers in the world, without adversely effecting U.S. workers and U.S. students entering the labor market. Legislative proposals that Congress has considered include streamlining procedures that govern the admission of professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers; increasing the number of temporary professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers admitted each year; requiring employers of...

India-U.S. Economic Relations: In Brief

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R43741 Summary As the world’s 3rd largest economy, India is an important trade and economic partner for the United States. The upcoming September 29-30 visit by recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his first to Washington, DC, has heightened congressional interest in the current status of the relationship. Modi’s visit provides the Obama Administration with an opportunity to advance the U.S.-India strategic partnership, including by discussing ways to foster greater trade and investment between the two nations. May 2014...

Unaccompanied Alien Children: Demographics in Brief

The number of 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. Overwhelmingly, the children are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The median age of unaccompanied children has decreased from 17 years in FY2011 to 16 years during the first seven months of FY2014. A greater share of males...

Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future

This report surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto.

At the threshold of many climate-change-related lawsuits are two barriers—whether the plaintiff has standing to sue and whether the claim being made presents a political question. Both barriers have forced courts to apply amorphous standards in a new and complex context.

Efforts to mitigate climate change—i.e., reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—have spawned a host of legal issues. The Supreme Court resolved a big one in 2007: the...

Border Security: CRS Experts

The following table lists the names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns related to border security. Policy areas identified include the following: Mission: scope, magnitude, relationship to departmental mission, functions and their interrelationships. Border surveillance: airports and air space; detection of nuclear and radiological materials; land borders; seaports and waterways. Immigration and foreign visitors: immigration; border “look out” systems; illegal entry; visa issuance and alien tracking. Transnational issues: border violence; foreign cooperation with...

India’s New Government and Implications for U.S. Interests

The United States and India have been pursuing a “strategic partnership” since 2004, and a 5th Strategic Dialogue session was held in New Delhi in late July 2014. A May 2014 national election seated a new Indian government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Top U.S. officials express eagerness to engage India’s new leadership and re-energize what some see as a relationship flagging in recent years. High hopes for the engagement have become moderated as expectations held in both capitals remain unmet, in part due to a global...

Asylum Policies for Unaccompanied Children Compared with Expedited Removal Policies for Unauthorized Adults: In Brief

The sheer number of Central American children coming to the United States who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and who lack proper immigration documents is raising complex and competing sets of humanitarian concerns and immigration control issues. Adults and families from the same three countries—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—have also been coming in increasing numbers over the same period. Current law provides that unaccompanied alien children (also referred to as unaccompanied children) are treated differently than adults or children with their parents who come to...

Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Specialty Crops: Selected Farm Bill and Federal Programs

U.S. farmers grow more than 350 types of fruit, vegetable, tree nut, flower, nursery, and other horticultural crops in addition to the major bulk commodity crops. Specialty crop producers are ineligible for the federal commodity price and income support programs that benefit commodity crop producers (e.g., grains and cotton); however, they are eligible for other types of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) support. Unlike federal support for commodity crops, support for specialty crops spans a wide range of existing USDA programs, many of which also provide support to other agricultural...

Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration

Since FY2008, the growth in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras seeking to enter the United States has increased substantially. Total unaccompanied child apprehensions increased from about 8,000 in FY2008 to 52,000 in the first 8 ½ months of FY2014. Since 2012, children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Central America’s “northern triangle”) account for almost all of this increase. Apprehension trends for these three countries are similar and diverge sharply from those for Mexican children. Unaccompanied child...

Iraq Crisis: CRS Experts

The table below provides names and contact information for CRS experts on various policy concerns of interest to Congress relating to the ongoing crisis in Iraq. Policy areas identified include the conflict in Iraq, al Qaeda affiliates, embassy security, military operations, war powers, sanctions, energy security, humanitarian issues and displaced persons, issues in the Middle East region, the United Nations, and other international actors.

Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 113th Congress

Legislation aimed at preventing trafficking in persons (TIP) is unambiguously part of the legislative agenda of the 113th Congress. TIP is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of contemporary criminal activity and is of significant interest to the United States as a serious human rights concern. TIP is both an international and domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards, as well as criminal law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) is the primary law that addresses human trafficking. Domestically, anti-TIP efforts provided...

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: President’s FY2015 Budget

Federal law requires the President to submit an annual budget to Congress no later than the first Monday in February. The budget informs Congress of the President’s overall federal fiscal policy based on proposed spending levels, revenues, and deficit (or surplus) levels. The budget request lays out the President’s relative priorities for federal programs, such as how much should be spent on defense, education, health, and other federal programs. The President’s budget may also include legislative proposals for spending and tax policy changes. While the President is not required to propose...

Unauthorized Aliens in the United States: Policy Discussion

The unauthorized immigrant (illegal alien) population in the United States is a key and controversial immigration issue. Competing views on how to address this population have been, and continue to be, a major obstacle to enacting immigration reform legislation.

It is unknown, at any point in time, how many unauthorized aliens are in the United States; what countries they are from; when they came to the United States; where they are living; and what their demographic, family, and other characteristics are. Demographers develop estimates about unauthorized aliens using available survey...

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of contemporary international criminal activity and is of significant interest to the United States and the international community as a serious human rights concern. TIP is both an international and a domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards, and criminal law.

In general, the trafficking business feeds on conditions of vulnerability, such as youth, gender, poverty, ignorance, social exclusion, political instability, and ongoing...

Department of Homeland Security: FY2014 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2014 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.0 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2014, as part of an overall budget of $60.0 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $10,833 million; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), $4,997 million; Transportation Security...

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): U.S. and International Response to Philippines Disaster

This report examines the impact of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which struck the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, and the U.S. and international response. Haiyan was one of the strongest typhoons to strike land on record. Over a 16 hour period, the “super typhoon,” with a force equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane and sustained winds of up to 195 mph, directly swept through six provinces in the central Philippines. The disaster quickly created a humanitarian crisis. In some of the hardest hit areas, particularly in coastal communities in Leyte province and the southern tip of Eastern...

An Analysis of STEM Education Funding at the NSF: Trends and Policy Discussion

Federal policy makers have a long-standing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that dates to at least the 1st Congress. This interest is largely driven by concerns about the national science and engineering workforce, which is widely believed to play a central role in U.S. global economic competitiveness and national security.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a key component of the federal STEM education effort. Several inventories of the federal STEM education portfolio have highlighted NSF’s important role—both in terms of funding and in...

Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986

Estimates derived from the March Supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that the unauthorized resident alien population (commonly referred to as illegal aliens) rose from 3.2 million in 1986 to 12.4 million in 2007, before leveling off at 11.7 million in 2012. The estimated number of unauthorized aliens had dropped to 1.9 million in 1988 following passage of a 1986 law that legalized several million unauthorized aliens. Jeffrey Passel, a demographer with the Pew Research Center, has been involved in making these estimations since he worked at the...

Nonimmigrant Overstays: Brief Synthesis of the Issue

As Congress debates comprehensive immigration reform and its component parts of immigration control (i.e., border security and interior enforcement), legal reform (i.e., temporary and permanent admissions), and the resolution of unauthorized alien residents, concerns arise over the capacity of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to identify and remove temporary aliens on nonimmigrant visas who fail to depart after their visas expire. It is estimated that each year hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals overstay their nonimmigrant visas or enter the country illegally (with...

U.S. Naturalization Policy

Naturalization is the process that grants U.S. citizenship to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who fulfill requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In general, U.S. immigration policy gives all LPRs the opportunity to naturalize, and doing so is a voluntary act. LPRs in most cases must have resided continuously in the United States for five years, show they possess good moral character, demonstrate English competency, and pass a U.S. government and history examination as part of their naturalization interview. The INA waives some of these...

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: A Primer

The term “STEM education” refers to teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically includes educational activities across all grade levels—from pre-school to post-doctorate—in both formal (e.g., classrooms) and informal (e.g., afterschool programs) settings. Federal policy makers have an active and enduring interest in STEM education, and the topic is frequently raised in federal science, education, workforce, national security, and immigration policy debates. For example, more than 225 bills containing the term “science education”...

Unauthorized Alien Students: Legislation in the 109th and 110th Congresses

Legalization of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States is a key issue in immigration reform. Recent discussions of this issue have focused mainly on controversial legislative proposals to create a pathway to legal status for a large majority of today’s unauthorized aliens. For many years, however, narrower bills were regularly introduced in Congress that sought to provide both legal immigration status and education-related relief to a subgroup of the larger unauthorized population: individuals who were brought, as children, to live in the United States by their parents or...

Postsecondary Education Issues in the 113th Congress

The 113th Congress may face an array of policy issues affecting postsecondary education. Many of these postsecondary education issues may be considered as part of efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). However, postsecondary education issues also may emerge as part of other legislative efforts such as comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), reform of the federal tax code, or the annual appropriations process.

This report identifies and briefly examines several postsecondary education policy issue areas that may be of general interest. For each of these...

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 113th Congress

With the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), many observers have made a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. DHS is currently the third-largest department in the federal government, although it does not incorporate all of the homeland security functions at the federal level. The definition of homeland security remains unsettled, and questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of the department have been raised since it was first proposed. Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has...

Interior Immigration Enforcement: Programs Targeting Criminal Aliens

Congress has a long-standing interest in seeing that immigration enforcement agencies identify and deport criminal aliens. The expeditious removal of such aliens has been a statutory priority since 1986, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its predecessor agency have operated programs targeting criminal aliens since 1988. These programs have grown substantially since FY2005, and deportations of criminal aliens—along with other unauthorized immigrants—have grown proportionally.

Despite the interest in criminal aliens, inconsistencies in data quality, data collection, and...

Immigration Enforcement: Major Provisions in H.R. 2278, the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (SAFE Act)

Reforming the nation’s immigration laws has been the subject of significant legislative activity in the 113th Congress. In June, the Senate passed an omnibus immigration bill (S. 744) that addresses a broad array of issues, including immigration enforcement and border security, verification of aliens’ employment eligibility, the temporary and permanent admission of foreign nationals into the country, and the creation of mechanisms for some unauthorized aliens to acquire legal status. The House, in contrast, has focused legislative activity on a number of stand-alone bills that would reform...

Immigration Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) includes provisions to assist foreign nationals who have been victims of domestic abuse. These provisions, initially enacted by Congress with the Immigration Act of 1990 and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994, afford benefits to abused foreign nationals and allow them to self-petition for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status independently of the U.S. citizen or LPR relatives who originally sponsored them. Congress reauthorized VAWA with the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000, which also created the U visa for foreign...

Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress: Short Summary of Senate-Passed S. 744

For several years, some Members of Congress have favored “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR), a label that commonly refers to omnibus legislation that includes increased border security and immigration enforcement, expanded employment eligibility verification, revision of nonimmigrant visas and legal permanent immigration, and legalization for some unauthorized aliens residing in the country. The omnibus legislative approach contrasts with incremental revisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and other immigration laws that would address some but not all of these...

Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress: Major Provisions in Senate-Passed S. 744

For several years, some Members of Congress have favored “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR), a label that commonly refers to omnibus legislation that includes increased border security and immigration enforcement, expanded employment eligibility verification, revision of nonimmigrant visas and legal permanent immigration, and legalization for some unauthorized aliens residing in the country. The omnibus legislative approach contrasts with incremental revisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that would address some but not all of these elements, and with sequential...

Department of Homeland Security: FY2013 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2013 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.510 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2013, as part of an overall budget of $59.501 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $90 million, or 0.2%, decrease from the $39.600 billion enacted for FY2012 through the consolidated appropriations act (P.L. 112-74).

Congress did not enact final FY2013 appropriations legislation...

Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy: Issues for the 113th Congress

This report examines human rights issues in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including ongoing rights abuses, legal reforms, and the development of civil society. Major events of the past year include the PRC leadership transition, the Wukan protests over land expropriation, the negotiations that allowed legal advocate Chen Guangcheng to leave China, and the Tibetan self-immolations. Ongoing human rights problems include excessive use of force by public security forces, unlawful detention, torture of detainees, arbitrary use of state security laws against political dissidents and...

Brief History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Efforts in the 109th and 110th Congresses to Inform Policy Discussions in the 113th Congress

Leaders in both chambers of Congress have listed immigration reform as a legislative priority in the 113th Congress. Most policymakers agree that the main issues in “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR) include increased border security and immigration enforcement, improved employment eligibility verification, revision of legal immigration, and options to address the millions of unauthorized aliens residing in the country. These elements were among the features that President Barack Obama emphasized when he called for the 113th Congress to take up CIR legislation.

Similar to President...

Border Security: Understanding Threats at U.S. Borders

The United States confronts a wide array of threats at U.S. borders, ranging from terrorists who may have weapons of mass destruction, to transnational criminals smuggling drugs or counterfeit goods, to unauthorized migrants intending to live and work in the United States. Given this diversity of threats, how may Congress and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set border security priorities and allocate scarce enforcement resources?

In general, DHS’s answer to this question is organized around risk management, a process that involves risk assessment and the allocation of resources...

Unauthorized Aliens: Policy Options for Providing Targeted Immigration Relief

The 113th Congress is expected to consider comprehensive immigration reform legislation. If and when it does, a key challenge will be how to address the unauthorized alien population, estimated to number some 11 million. The unauthorized alien population is often treated as if it were monolithic, but it is, in fact, quite diverse. It includes individuals who entered the United States in different ways, for different reasons, and who have different types of connections to the United States. The circumstances of individuals who compose the unauthorized alien population affect their treatment...

Mexico and the 112th Congress

The United States and Mexico have a close and complex bilateral relationship as neighbors and partners under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Although security issues have recently dominated the U.S. relationship with Mexico, analysts predict that bilateral relations may shift toward economic matters now that President Enrique Peña Nieto has taken office. Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) defeated leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Josefina Vázquez Mota of the conservative National Action Party...

Immigration-Related Detention

The 113th Congress may consider a comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration system (CIR), and during such discussions, the detention of noncitizens in the United States might be an issue. Congress may choose to reevaluate detention priorities (i.e., who should be detained, when they should be detained) and detention resources. Under the law, there is broad authority to detain foreign nationals (aliens/noncitizens) while awaiting a determination of whether the noncitizen should be removed from the United States. The law also mandates that certain categories of aliens are subject to...

Cuba: Issues for the 112th Congress

Cuba remains a one-party communist state with a poor record on human rights. The country’s political succession in 2006 from the long-ruling Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl was characterized by a remarkable degree of stability. The government of Raúl Castro has implemented limited economic policy changes, including an expansion of self-employment. A party congress held in April 2011 laid out numerous economic goals that, if implemented, could significantly alter Cuba’s state-dominated economic model. Few observers expect the government to ease its tight control over the political system....

Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S. Policy and Key Issues for Congress in 2012

Geographic proximity has ensured strong linkages between the United States and the Latin American and Caribbean region, with diverse U.S. interests, including economic, political and security concerns. U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration has focused on four priorities: promoting economic and social opportunity; ensuring citizen security; strengthening effective democratic institutions; and securing a clean energy future. There has been substantial continuity in U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration, which has pursued some of the same basic...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 112th Congress

Immigration 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,...

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

Although the United States remains the leading host country for international students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields, the global competition for talent has intensified. A record number of STEM graduates—both U.S. residents and foreign nationals—are entering the U.S. labor market, and there is a renewed focus on creating additional immigration pathways for foreign professional workers in STEM fields. Current law sets an annual worldwide level of 140,000 employment-based admissions, which includes the spouses and children in addition to the principal...

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. Under current law, certain lower-skilled foreign workers, sometimes referred to as guest workers, may be admitted to the United States to perform temporary service or labor under two temporary worker visas: the H-2A visa for agricultural workers and the H-2B visa for nonagricultural workers. Both programs are administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration...

Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

The power to prescribe rules as to which aliens may enter the United States and which aliens may be removed resides solely with the federal government, and primarily with Congress. Concomitant to its exclusive power to determine which aliens may enter and which may stay in the country, the federal government also has the power to proscribe activities that subvert this system. Congress has defined our nation’s immigration laws in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a comprehensive set of laws governing legal immigration, naturalization, work authorization, and the entry and removal...

Ability of Unauthorized Aliens to Claim Refundable Tax Credits

In 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported that individuals who were not authorized to work in the United States received $4.2 billion by claiming the refundable portion of the child tax credit—the additional child tax credit (ACTC). The ACTC is available to working families with children under age 17. The report sparked considerable concern that unauthorized aliens were obtaining refundable tax credits. The TIGTA audit was based upon an analysis of tax returns filed by persons with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). The Internal...

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...

Federal Taxation of Aliens Working in the United States

A question that often arises is whether unauthorized aliens and other foreign nationals working in the United States are subject to U.S. taxes. The federal tax consequences for these individuals are dependent on (a) whether an individual is classified as a resident or nonresident alien and (b) whether a tax treaty or totalization agreement exists between the United States and the individual’s home country.

In general, an individual is a resident alien if he or she is a lawful permanent U.S. resident or is in the United States for a substantial period of time during the current and past...

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. These principles are embodied in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA specifies a complex set of numerical limits and preference categories that give priorities for permanent immigration reflecting these principles. Legal permanent residents (LPRs) refer to foreign nationals who live permanently in the United States.

During FY2010, a total...

Homeland Security Department: FY2012 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2012 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a total appropriation (mandatory and discretionary) of $45,015 million in budget authority for FY2012. This amounts to a $1,610 million, or a 3.7%, increase from the $43,405 million enacted for FY2011 through the continuing resolution (P.L. 112-10). Total budget authority, including appropriations, fee revenues, and trust funds in the Administration’s budget request for DHS for FY2012 amounts to $57,079 million as compared to $55,783 million enacted for FY2011.

Net...

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. Although the foreign born are relatively small in absolute terms—39.9 million people representing 12.9% of the total U.S. population of 309.3...

Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress

There is a broad-based consensus that the U.S. immigration system is broken. This consensus erodes, however, as soon as the options to reform the U.S. immigration system are debated. Substantial efforts to comprehensively reform immigration law failed in the 109th and 110th Congresses. Whether and how the 112th Congress will address immigration reform in the midst of historically high levels of unemployment and budgetary constrictions is difficult to project.

The number of foreign-born people residing in the United States is at the highest level in U.S. history and has reached a...

Fiscal Impacts of the Foreign-Born Population

This report reviews estimates of fiscal impacts to the federal, state, and local governments of the foreign born who reside in the United States. It examines the academic and policy literature on fiscal impacts of two populations: all U.S. foreign born and unauthorized aliens. Computing such fiscal impacts involves numerous methodological and conceptual challenges, and resulting estimates vary considerably according to the assumptions used, including those about the time frame considered, the treatment of U.S.-born children, the unit of analysis used, and which costs and revenues are...

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 112th Congress

With the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, many observers are making a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. In the wake of those attacks, Congress made extensive changes to the structure and function of many agencies, establishing a consolidated Department of Homeland Security and dedicating significant additional resources expressly to the security of the homeland. After the initial surge of activity, evolution of America’s response has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a...

Homeland Security Department: FY2011 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2011 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $45.0 billion in budget authority for FY2011. This amounts to a $1.1 billion, or a 2.4% increase from the $43.9 billion enacted for FY2010. Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2011 amounts to $52.6 billion as compared to $51.7 billion enacted for FY2010.

Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $9,809 million; Immigration and Customs...

Visa Security Policy: Roles of the Departments of State and Homeland Security

Foreign nationals (i.e., aliens) not already legally residing in the United States who wish to come to the United States generally must obtain a visa to be admitted, with certain exceptions noted in law. The Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) each play key roles in administering the law and policies on the admission of aliens. Although the DOS’s Consular Affairs is responsible for issuing visas, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) in DHS approves immigrant petitions, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in DHS operates the Visa Security Program...

Asylum and “Credible Fear” Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy

Foreign nationals seeking asylum must demonstrate a well-founded fear that if returned home, they will be persecuted based upon one of five characteristics: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Foreign nationals arriving or present in the United States may apply for asylum affirmatively with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security after arrival into the country, or they may seek asylum defensively before a Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)...

Congressionally Chartered Nonprofit Organizations (“Title 36 Corporations”): What They Are and How Congress Treats Them

The chartering by Congress of organizations with a patriotic, charitable, historical, or educational purpose is essentially a 20th century practice. There are currently some 92 nonprofit corporations listed in Title 36, Subtitle II, of the U.S. Code. These so-called “Title 36 corporations,” such as the Girl Scouts of America and the National Academy of Public Administration, are typically incorporated first under state law, then request that Congress grant them a congressional or federal charter.

Chartered corporations listed in Title 36 are not agencies of the United States, and their...

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...

Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Issues

The purpose of the diversity immigrant visa lottery is, as the name suggests, to encourage legal immigration from countries other than the major sending countries of current immigrants to the United States. Current law weights the allocation of immigrant visas heavily toward aliens with close family in the United States and, to a lesser extent, toward aliens who meet particular employment needs. The diversity immigrant category was added to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by the Immigration Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-649) to stimulate “new seed” immigration (i.e., to foster new, more...

The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States

The United States, the third most populous country globally, accounts for about 4.5% of the world’s population. The U.S. population—currently estimated at 308.7 million persons—has more than doubled since its 1950 level of 152.3 million. More than just being double in size, the population has become qualitatively different from what it was in 1950. As noted by the Population Reference Bureau, “The U.S. is getting bigger, older, and more diverse.” The objective of this report is to highlight some of the demographic changes that have already occurred since 1950 and to illustrate how these...

U.S. Immigration Policy on Temporary Admissions

U.S. law provides for the temporary admission of various categories of foreign nationals, who are known as nonimmigrants. Nonimmigrants are admitted for a designated period of time and a specific purpose. They include a wide range of visitors, including tourists, foreign students, diplomats, and temporary workers. There are 24 major nonimmigrant visa categories. These visa categories are commonly referred to by the letter and numeral that denotes their subsection in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); for example, B-2 tourists, E-2 treaty investors, F-1 foreign students, H-1B...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 111th Congress

The Speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader of the 111th Congress pledged to take up comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the most controversial piece of which concerns unauthorized aliens in the United States. Although the 111th Congress did not take up a comprehensive immigration bill, it did consider a narrower DREAM Act proposal to legalize the status of certain unauthorized alien students. On December 8, 2010, the House approved a version of the DREAM Act as an amendment to an unrelated bill, the Removal Clarification Act of 2010 (H.R. 5281). A cloture motion in...

Federal Evacuation Policy: Issues for Congress

When government officials become aware of an impending disaster, they may take steps to protect citizens before the incident occurs. Evacuation of the geographic area that may be affected is one option to ensure public safety. If implemented properly, evacuation can be an effective strategy for saving lives. Evacuations and decisions to evacuate, however, can also entail complex factors and elevated risks. Decisions to evacuate may require officials to balance potentially costly, hazardous, or unnecessary evacuations against the possibility of loss of life due to a delayed order to...

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...

Economics and National Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

As the world begins the second decade of the twenty-first century, the United States holds what should be a winning hand of a preeminent military, large economy, strong alliances, and democratic values. The nation’s security should be secure. Yet the debate over national security seems to be both intensifying and broadening. The problem appears not only in the difficulty of finding a winning strategy in the long war against acts of terrorism but having to face economic constraints that loom large in the public debate. In addition, the global financial crisis and recession have highlighted...

State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments

An estimated 37 million foreign-born persons currently reside in the United States, almost a third of whom may be present without legal authorization. The reaction of state and local jurisdictions to unauthorized immigration has varied. In some cases, states and localities have adopted measures intended to deter unlawfully present aliens from arriving and settling within their jurisdictions, including by restricting such aliens’ access to work, housing, and benefits. Typically, such measures have sought to (1) limit the hiring and employment of unauthorized aliens, including through the...

Immigration of Foreign Workers: Labor Market Tests and Protections

Economic indicators confirm that the U.S. economy sunk into a recession in December 2007. Although some economic indicators suggest that growth has resumed, unemployment remains high and is projected to remain so for some time. Historically, international migration ebbs during economic crises; for example, immigration to the United States was at its lowest levels during the Great Depression. While preliminary statistical trends hint at a slowing of migration pressures, it remains unclear how the economic recession of the past two years has affected immigration. Addressing these contentious...

Immigration Reform Issues in the 111th Congress

There is a broad-based consensus that the U.S. immigration system is broken. This consensus erodes, however, as soon as the options to reform the U.S. immigration system are debated. The number of foreign-born people residing in the United States is at the highest level in U.S. history and has reached a proportion of the U.S. population—12.6%—not seen since the early 20th century. Of the 38 million foreign-born residents in the United States, approximately 16.4 million are naturalized citizens. According to the latest estimates by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), about 10.8...

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).

FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs

The Administration requested $64.3 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations: $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan; $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid; and $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related relief and reconstruction aid; $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; $600 million for border security, and $129 million to reduce backlogs in patent requests;...

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.

Liberia’s Post-War Development: Key Issues and U.S. Assistance

This report covers developments in Liberia, a small, poor West African country. Liberia held elections in October 2005, with a presidential runoff in November, a key step in a peace-building process following its second civil war in a decade. That war began in 1999, escalated in 2000, and ended in 2003. It pitted the forces of Charles Taylor, elected president in 1997 after Liberia’s first civil war (1989-1997), against two armed anti-Taylor rebel groups. The war also destabilized neighboring states, which accepted Liberian refugees and, in some cases, hosted anti-Taylor forces and became...

People Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection Policies

Since at least the 1980s, the border has played a central role in U.S. policy discussions. Policymakers have for years debated the best strategy for providing border protection. What has emerged from these efforts has been a generally agreed upon framework of mission and goals. However, some question whether the strategy has been sufficiently mapped out in a comprehensive fashion. The broad framework currently in place is generally supported by a collection of agency or function-specific strategic elements that show some commonalities.

For congressional policymakers, the current state of...

Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response

The largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti devastated parts of the country, including the capital, on January 12, 2010. The quake, centered about 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, had a magnitude of 7.0. A series of strong aftershocks have followed. Experts estimate the earthquake caused $8 to $14 billion in damage. Approximately 3 million people, roughly one-third of the overall population, have been affected by the earthquake with estimates ranging from 1.2 to 2 million people displaced. The government of Haiti is reporting an estimated 230,000 deaths and 300,600 injured. In the...

Noncitizen Eligibility and Verification Issues in the Health Care Reform Legislation

Health care reform legislation raises a significant set of complex issues, and among the thornier for policy makers are the noncitizen eligibility and verification issues. That the treatment of foreign nationals complicates health care reform legislation is not surprising given that reform of immigration policy poses its own constellation of controversial policy options. This report focuses on this nexus of immigration law and health care reform in the major health care reform bills that are receiving action. These are the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (H.R. 3200), as...

The Department of Homeland Security Intelligence Enterprise: Operational Overview and Oversight Challenges for Congress

The primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, the Department) is to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks that do occur in the United States.” Since its inception in 2003, DHS has had an intelligence component to support this mission and has been a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).

Following a major reorganization of the DHS (called the Second Stage Review or “2SR”) in July 2005, former Secretary of Homeland...

Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs

The United States has two main programs for temporarily importing low-skilled workers, or guest workers. Agricultural guest workers enter through the H-2A visa program, and other guest workers enter through the H-2B visa program. Before an employer can file a petition with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to import workers under either program, the employer must apply to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for a certification that U.S. workers capable of performing the work are not available and that the employment of alien workers will not adversely affect the wages and...

Immigration Visa Issuances and Grounds for Exclusion: Policy and Trends

The conventional wisdom is that the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, prompted a substantive change in U.S. immigration policy on visa issuances and the grounds for excluding foreign nationals from the United States. A series of laws enacted in the 1990s, however, may have done as much or more to set current U.S. visa policy and the legal grounds for exclusion. This report’s review of the legislative developments in visa policy over the past 20 years and analysis of the statistical trends in visa issuances and denials provide a nuanced study of U.S. visa policy and the grounds for...

Alien Legalization and Adjustment of Status: A Primer

Immigration patterns have changed substantially since 1952, when policy makers codifying the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) assumed that most aliens becoming legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States would be arriving from abroad. In 1975, more than 80% of all LPRs arrived from abroad. By 2005, however, only 34% of all aliens who became LPRs had arrived from abroad; most LPRs adjust status within the United States.

This report summarizes the main avenues for foreign nationals currently in the United States—legally or illegally—to become LPRs. Alien legalization or...

Foreign Investor Visas: Policies and Issues

With the current economic downturn, Members of the 111th Congress are likely to be faced with many policy options aimed at economic improvement, including the possible consideration of amending visa categories for foreign investors. Foreign investors are often viewed as providing employment opportunities for U.S. citizens rather than displacing native workers. Yet, extending foreign investor visas provides several potential risks as well, such as visa abuses and security concerns. Thus, a potential policy question for Congress—and particularly legal permanent resident (LPR) investors—is...

The MS-13 and 18th Street Gangs: Emerging Transnational Gang Threats?

This report provides an overview of the MS-13 and M-18 gangs,5 examines how MS-13 and M-18 gangs are different from other gangs and organized crime groups, and discusses what constitutes a transnational gang. The report also explores whether MS-13 and M-18 gangs are transnational gangs, and discusses the various federal responses to these gangs.

Immigration: Terrorist Grounds for Exclusion and Removal of Aliens

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) spells out a strict set of admissions criteria and exclusion rules for all foreign nationals who come permanently to the United States as immigrants (i.e., legal permanent residents) or temporarily as nonimmigrants. Notably, any alien who engages in terrorist activity, or is a representative or member of a designated foreign terrorist organization, is generally inadmissible. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the INA was broadened to deny entry to representatives of groups that endorse terrorism, prominent individuals who endorse...

The Effects on U.S. Farm Workers of an Agricultural Guest Worker Program

Guest worker programs are meant to assure employers (e.g., fruit, vegetable, and horticultural specialty growers) of an adequate supply of labor when and where it is needed while not adding permanent residents to the U.S. population. They include mechanisms such as the H-2A program’s labor certification process to avoid adversely affecting the wages and working conditions of comparable U.S. workers. If changes to the H-2A program or creation of a new agricultural guest worker program led growers to employ many more aliens, the effects of the Bracero program might be instructive: although...

Homeland Security Department: FY2010 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2010 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $44.1 billion in budget authority for FY2010. This amounts to a $2.8 billion, or a 6.7% increase over the $41.2 billion enacted for FY2009 (not including supplemental funding). Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2010 amounts to $55.1 billion.

Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $10,049 million; Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

Farm Labor Shortages and Immigration Policy

The connection between farm labor and immigration policies is a longstanding one, particularly with regard to U.S. employers’ use of workers from Mexico. The Congress periodically has revisited the issue during debates on guest worker programs, increased border enforcement, and employer sanctions to curb the flow of unauthorized workers. Two decades ago, the Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA, P.L. 99-603) to reduce illegal entry into the United States by imposing sanctions on employers who knowingly hire persons who lack permission to work in the country. In...

2009 H1N1 "Swine Flu": CRS Experts

This report includes a table which provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to swine influenza A virus (H1N1). Policy areas identified include: Identification, diagnosis, and surveillance of the virus; Treatment and prevention: antiviral drugs (Tamiflu, Relenza) and vaccines; Declarations of emergencies; Official plans and organizational responsibilities; and Restrictions on travel and trade.

Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200

This report outlines the treatment of noncitizens under H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. The report analyzes specific provisions in H.R. 3200, and whether there are eligibility requirements for noncitizens in the selected provisions.

Foreign Medical Graduates: A Brief Overview of the J-1 Visa Waiver Program

The Educational and Cultural Exchange Visitor program has become a gateway for foreign medical graduates (FMGs) to gain admission to the United States as nonimmigrants for the purpose of graduate medical education and training. The visa most of these physicians enter under is the J-1 nonimmigrant visa. Under the J-1 visa program, participants must return to their home country after completing their education or training for a period of at least two years before they can apply for another nonimmigrant visa or legal permanent resident (LPR) status, unless they are granted a waiver of the...

Policy Challenges in International Migration

Immigration is a leading policy concern for many countries around the world, including the United States. Members of Congress have for several years had immigration policy as one of their main legislative issues. Yet, determining an optimal immigration policy has grown increasingly complex as economic, cultural, and security pressures all compete for political consideration. In an effort to tackle some of this complexity, this report serves as a broad overview of the standard theory of international migration and offers a brief synopsis of the major immigration-related policy challenges...

Cuban Migration to the United States: Policy and Trends

Many of the issues surrounding Cuban migration are unique but not new. Normal immigration from Cuba has been elusive since Fidel Castro came to power. Over the past 50 years, the practice of Cubans fleeing by boat to the United States has become commonplace, and at some points reached the levels of a mass exodus. Since the last upsurge of “boat people” in the mid-1990s, the United States and Cuba worked toward establishing safe, legal immigration, which includes returning migrants interdicted by the U.S. Coast Guard. These migration policies, however, are not without critics.

The...

U.S. Policies on Iraq: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to Iraq. Policy areas identified include: U.S. policies on Iraq; governance in Iraq and U.S. military issues; refugees, internally displaced persons, and humanitarian assistance; prospects for Iraq's economy; resource and funding requirements; and the international context--the regional political and security environment.

Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border

Congress has repeatedly shown interest in examining and expanding the barriers being deployed along the U.S. international land border. The United States Border Patrol (USBP) deploys fencing, which aims to impede the illegal entry of individuals, and vehicle barriers, which aim to impede the illegal entry of vehicles (but not individuals) along the border.

The USBP first began erecting physical barriers in 1990 to deter illegal entries and drug smuggling in its San Diego sector. The ensuing 14-mile-long San Diego “primary fence” formed part of the USBP’s “Prevention Through Deterrence”...

Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement

Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws has received a significant amount of attention. Some observers contend that the federal government does not have adequate resources to enforce immigration law and that state and local law enforcement entities should be utilized. Others, however, question what role state and local law enforcement agencies should have in light of limited state and local resources and immigration expertise.

Congress defined our nation’s immigration laws in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which contains...

Homeland Security Department: FY2009 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2009 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $38,849 million in budget authority for FY2009. The House Appropriations Committee reported its version of the FY2009 DHS Appropriations bill on June 24, 2008. The bill was filed on September 18, 2008, as H.R. 6947, and the accompanying report has been numbered H.Rept. 110-862. House-reported H.R. 6947 would have provided a net appropriation of $41,137 million in budget authority for DHS for FY2009. This amounted to an increase of $2,288...

Unauthorized Employment in the United States: Issues, Options, and Legislation

As immigration reform and the illegal alien population have gained congressional and public attention in the past several years, the issue of unauthorized employment has come to the fore. It is widely accepted that most unauthorized aliens enter and remain in the United States in order to work. Thus, eliminating employment opportunities for these aliens has been seen as key to curtailing unauthorized immigration.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to add provisions, sometimes referred to as employer sanctions, that made...

Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis?

Some aspects of the humanitarian crisis many feared would take place in March 2003 with the initial military operation in Iraq unfolded later as a result of the ongoing insurgency and sectarian violence. It is estimated that in total (including those displaced prior to the war) there may be as many as 2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and other neighboring states, and approximately 2.7 million Iraqis who have been displaced within Iraq itself.

Between 2004-2007, the violence and insecurity resulting from the ongoing sectarian strife, terrorism, and insurgency in Iraq...

State Medicaid and SCRIP Coverage of Noncitizens

This report focuses on the laws governing noncitizen eligibility for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and -- to the extent of available data -- implementation of these policies at the state level

Immigration Policy on Expedited Removal of Aliens

Expedited removal, an immigration enforcement strategy originally conceived to operate at the borders and ports of entry, is being expanded, raising a set of policy, resource, and logistical questions. Expedited removal is a provision under which an alien who lacks proper documentation or has committed fraud or willful misrepresentation of facts may be removed from the United States without any further hearings or review, unless the alien indicates a fear of persecution. Congress added expedited removal to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in 1996, making it mandatory for arriving...

PEPFAR Reauthorization: Key Policy Debates and Changes to U.S. International HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Programs and Funding

The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-25) authorized $15 billion for U.S. global efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria from FY2004 through FY2008. It also authorized the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) to oversee U.S. government efforts to combat HIV/AIDS internationally. This coordinated U.S. government effort to combat HIV/AIDS globally implements the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a five-year initiative proposed by President Bush in January 2003.

In 2007, President Bush urged...

Health Care for Noncitizens in Immigration Detention

Congressional hearings and press coverage critical of the medical care received by those in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have raised interest in the subject. The law provides broad authority to detain aliens while awaiting a determination of whether they should be removed from the United States and mandates that certain categories of aliens are subject to mandatory detention by DHS. Aliens not subject to mandatory detention may be detained, paroled, or released on bond.

The medical care required to be provided to...

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors

Since enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, the Immigration and Nationality Act has contained a designation for a group of children defined as “unaccompanied refugee minors” (URMs): refugee children in the United States under the age of 18, without a parent or close relative who is willing or able to care for them. The State Department identifies refugee children overseas who are eligible for resettlement in the United States but who do not have a parent or guardian. Once these URMs are admitted to the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) Office of Refugee...

Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 110th Congress

Over the past two decades, the Latin America and Caribbean region has made enormous strides in terms of political and economic development, with regular free and fair elections the norm in most countries. Although the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, it rebounded from 2004-2007, with strong economic growth. In 2008, however, the advent of the global financial crisis and U.S. economic recession began to be felt in Latin America. Growth began to slow as commodity prices and the demand for exports and services from the region declined. Several nations also...

Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity

Congress has broad plenary authority to determine classes of aliens who may be admitted into the United States and the grounds for which they may be removed. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, certain conduct may either disqualify an alien from entering the United States (“inadmissibility”) or provide grounds for his or her removal/deportation. Prominently included among this conduct is criminal activity. “Criminal activity” comprises acts violative of federal, state, or, in many cases, foreign criminal law. It does not cover violations of the INA that are...

Refugee and Asylum-Seeker Inflows in the United States and Other OECD Member States

A refugee is a person fleeing his or her country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylum-seekers are individuals that claim to be refugees and apply for sanctuary from within a potential host country, but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been evaluated and determined. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) collects data on the millions of refugees and asylum-seekers worldwide and their inflows to the United States and other...

CRS Issue Statement on Child Well-Being

The nation's future depends in large part on its children's ability to develop into contributing adult members of society. For that reason, and for what many would consider a society's moral responsibility to care for the young and vulnerable, Congress and the nation take an interest in promoting children's well-being. It can be argued that children are the nation's most valuable resource, constituting the next generation of workers, taxpayers, and parents. Their well-being and ability to develop into productive adults in an increasingly competitive global economy is influenced by a...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 110th Congress

Comprehensive immigration reform was the subject of much discussion at the start of the 110th Congress. In the spring of 2007, the Senate considered several broad immigration reform measures aimed at addressing a host of perceived problems with the U.S. immigration system. These measures combined border security and interior enforcement provisions with provisions on temporary workers, permanent admissions, and unauthorized aliens. In June 2007, the Senate voted on a motion to invoke cloture on one of these measures (S. 1639), which, if approved, would have ultimately brought the bill to a...

Haiti: Post-Hurricane Conditions and Assistance

In August and September 2008, four major storms directly hit or passed close to Haiti, causing widespread devastation. As of early October, 2008, the U.S. government has either provided or pledged just over $30 million in humanitarian assistance to affected Haitian populations in response to the hurricanes in Haiti. Congress provided not less than $100 million for hurricane relief and reconstruction assistance for Haiti and other Caribbean countries in the FY2009 continuing appropriations resolution (P.L. 110-329) signed into law September 30, 2008. The Haitian government says it needs...

Immigration Fraud: Policies, Investigations, and Issues

Immigration fraud is reportedly widespread, though reliable estimates of its pervasiveness are not available. Given that an estimated12 million aliens are residing in the United States without legal authorization, it is reasonable to presume that many of these unauthorized aliens are committing document fraud. The extent to which unauthorized aliens enter with fraudulently obtained documents or acquire bogus documents after entry is not known.

Immigration fraud is generally grouped into two types—immigration-related “document fraud” and immigration “benefit fraud” (“benefit fraud” involves...

Farm Labor: The Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2008 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 110th Congress for the FY2008 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161), Congress has provided $54.637 billion in CJS appropriations, a 3.4% increase over the FY2007 enacted level and a 2.2% increase over the Administration’s request. This amount includes $6.857 billion for the Department of Commerce (a 3.5% increase over the FY2007 enacted level), $23.592 billion for the Department of Justice (a 1.6% increase), $23.38 billion for science agencies (a 5.3%...

Homeland Security Department: FY2008 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2008 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $35.5 billion in net budget authority for FY2008. The requested net appropriation for major components of the department included the following: $8,783 million for Customs and Border Protection (CBP); $4,168 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); $3,608 million for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); $8,457 million for the U.S. Coast Guard; $1,399 million for the Secret Service; $1,047 for the National Protection...

Unaccompanied Alien Children: Policies and Issues

Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current Congressional Concerns

Following the first free and fair elections in Haiti’s history, Jean-Bertrand Aristide first became Haitian President in February 1991. He was overthrown by a military coup in September 1991. For over three years, the military regime resisted international demands that Aristide be restored to office. In September 1994, after a U.S. military intervention had been launched, the military regime agreed to Aristide’s return, the immediate, unopposed entry of U.S. troops, and the resignation of its leadership. President Aristide returned to Haiti in October 1994 under the protection of some...

Visa Issuances: Policy, Issues, and Legislation

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, considerable concern has been raised because the 19 terrorists were aliens who apparently entered the United States with temporary visas despite provisions in immigration laws that bar the admission of terrorists. Foreign nationals not already legally residing in the United States who wish to come to the United States generally must obtain a visa to be admitted, with certain exceptions noted in law. The report of the 9/11 Commission maintained that border security was not considered a national security matter prior to September 11, and as a...

North Korean Refugees in China and Human Rights Issues: International Response and U.S. Policy Options

North Koreans have been crossing the border into China, many in search of refuge, since the height of North Korea’s famine in the 1990s. The State Department estimates that 30,000-50,000 North Korean refugees currently live in China (some non-governmental organizations estimate the number is closer to 300,000) and believes those who are repatriated may face punishment ranging from a few months of “labor correction” to execution. A number of reports also document the difficult conditions faced by North Koreans who remain in China. The plight of the North Koreans focuses attention not only...

Point Systems for Immigrant Selection: Options and Issues

Replacing or supplementing the current preference system for admitting legal permanent residents (LPRs) with a point system is garnering considerable interest for the first time in over a decade. Briefly, point systems such as those of Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand assign prospective immigrants with credits if they have specified attributes, most often based on educational attainment, skill sets used in shortage occupations, extent of work experience, language proficiency, and desirable age range.

President George W. Bush has stated that comprehensive immigration reform...

Immigration: Legislative Issues on Nonimmigrant Professional Specialty (H-1B) Workers

The economic prosperity of the 1990s fueled a drive to increase the levels of employment-based immigration. Both the Congress and the Federal Reserve Board then expressed concern that a scarcity of labor could curtail the pace of economic growth. A primary response was to increase the supply of foreign temporary professional workers through FY2003. When the H-1B annual numerical limits reverted to 65,000 in FY2005, that limit was reached on the first day. The FY2006 limit was reached before the fiscal year began. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the FY2008 H-1B...

Immigration Reform: Brief Synthesis of Issue

U.S. immigration policy is a highly contentious issue in the 110th Congress. The number of foreign-born people residing in the United States is at the highest level in U.S. history and has reached a proportion of the U.S. population not seen since the early 20th century. There is a broad-based consensus that the U.S. immigration system is broken. This consensus erodes, however, as soon as the options to reform the U.S. immigration system are debated. Senate action on comprehensive immigration reform legislation stalled at the end of June 2007 after several weeks of intensive debate. This...

Border Security: The San Diego Fence

This report outlines the issues involved with DHS’s construction of the San Diego border fence and highlights some of the major legislative and administrative developments regarding its completion; it will be updated as warranted. (For more analysis of border fencing and other barriers, please see CRS Report RL33659, Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border, by Chad C. Haddal, Yule Kim, and Michael John Garcia.) Congress first authorized the construction of a 14-mile, triple-layered fence along the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego in the Illegal Immigration Reform and...

H.R. 1 (Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007) and S. 4 (Improving America’s Security Act of 2007): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 1 (Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007) and S. 4 (Improving America’s Security Act of 2007) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (January 9, 2007) and Senate (March 13, 2007) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process and as the analyses began. Titles unique to S. 4 follow...

Private Immigration Legislation

Private immigration bills warrant careful consideration with regard to precedent since they are a special form of relief allowing the circumvention of the public laws concerning immigration and nationality in uniquely meritorious cases. This report will give an overview of the congressional subcommittee procedure and precedents concerning private immigration bills. This report will not cover parliamentary procedural issues for private bills, which are covered by CRS Report 98-628, Private Bills: Procedure in the House, by Richard S. Beth.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Specialty Crops: A Primer on Government Programs

U.S. farmers grow more than 250 types of fruit, vegetable, tree nut, flower, ornamental nursery, and turfgrass crops in addition to the major bulk commodity crops. Although specialty crops are ineligible for the federal commodity price and income support programs, they are eligible for other types of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) support, such as crop insurance, disaster assistance, and, under certain conditions, ad hoc market loss assistance payments.

The industry also benefits generally from USDA programs to enhance marketing opportunities; protect sellers from fraudulent...

Immigration Issues in Trade Agreements

The connections between trade and migration are as longstanding as the historic movements of goods and people. The desire for commerce may often be the principal motivation, but the need to send people to facilitate the transactions soon follows. Recognition of this phenomenon is incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which includes provisions for aliens who are entering the United States solely as “treaty traders” and “treaty investors.” Although the United States has not created a common market for the movement of labor with our trading partners, there are...

U.S. Immigration Policy on Asylum Seekers

The United States has long held to the principle that it will not return a foreign national to a country where his life or freedom would be threatened. This principle is embodied in several provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), most notably in provisions defining refugees and asylees. Aliens seeking asylum must demonstrate a well-founded fear that if returned home, they will be persecuted based upon one of five characteristics: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Aliens present in the United States may apply for...

Toward More Effective Immigration Policies: Selected Organizational Issues

As Congress weighs comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would likely include additional border and interior enforcement, a significant expansion of guest workers, and perhaps include increased levels of permanent immigration, some question whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can handle the increased immigration workload. There are concerns that the immigration responsibilities in the DHS are not functioning effectively. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a “Second Stage Review” (2SR) in 2005 that includes strengthening border security and interior...

Unauthorized Aliens in the United States: Estimates Since 1986

Agricultural Issues in the 110th Congress

A number of issues of interest to U.S. agriculture are expected to be addressed by the 110th Congress. At the top of the agenda, Congress will be considering the unfinished business of FY2007 funding levels for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and activities in the annual agriculture appropriations bill. Separately, attempts might be made to reconsider a multi-billion dollar emergency farm disaster assistance package that was debated but not passed in the 109th Congress. Since most provisions of the current omnibus farm bill expire in 2007, the 110th Congress will be making...

Cuban Migration Policy and Issues

Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 109th Congress

Over the past two decades, the Latin America and Caribbean region has made enormous strides in terms of political and economic development. In 2006, elections for head of government were held in 12 countries in the region, including the close election in Mexico in July, the re-election of presidents in Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and Venezuela, and the election of former heads of government in Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and St. Lucia. Although the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, it has rebounded since 2004. Nevertheless, several nations faced...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 110th Congress

The 110th Congress will face a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues in the opening days of its tenure. This report identifies major issues most likely to be on the legislative agenda, discusses critical policy choices at stake, and summarizes some of the major alternatives that Congress may consider. The report lists Congressional Research Service reports that address these issues, and it identifies key analysts and their areas of responsibility.

A major issue confronting the new Congress is what to do in Iraq. The Baker/Hamilton-led Iraq Study Group recommended...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 109th Congress

Security concerns have figured prominently in the development of and debate on immigration legislation in the 109th Congress. In May 2005, the REAL ID Act became law as Division B of P.L. 109-13. It contains a number of immigration and identification document-related provisions intended to improve homeland security. Among these are provisions: to make changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) with respect to asylum and other forms of relief from removal; to expand the terrorism-related grounds for alien inadmissibility and deportation; and to set standards for state-issued...

9/11 Commission Recommendations: Implementation Status

This report provides a review of the 9/11 Commission recommendations and the status of their implementation at the end of the 109th Congress. The discussions herein are organized on the basis of policy themes that are at the core of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, rather than through a review of each numbered item set out in the Commission’s final report. The analysis was produced by a large team of CRS Specialists, analysts, and attorneys who are responsible for the wide variety of policy areas covered by the 9/11 Commission in its work. The authors of the varied segments of this...

Proposals in the 109th Congress to Split the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Proposals to split the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have been before Congress for decades. Proponents of a split generally argue that the current Ninth Circuit is overburdened, and that creating two or more new circuits with reduced geography, population, and caseloads would improve judicial administration. Opponents of a split reject those claims, saying that the current Ninth Circuit functions well and that the court is a model of innovation. Opponents of a split also suggest that efforts to divide the circuit represent an attack on judicial independence, a claim supporters of a split...

Homeland Security Department: FY2007 Appropriations

The annual consideration of appropriations bills (regular, continuing, and supplemental) by Congress is part of a complex set of budget processes that also encompasses the consideration of budget resolutions, revenue and debt-limit legislation, other spending measures, and reconciliation bills. In addition, the operation of programs and the spending of appropriated funds are subject to constraints established in authorizing statutes. Congressional action on the budget for a fiscal year usually begins following the submission of the President’s budget at the beginning of each annual session...

Caribbean Region: Issues in U.S. Relations

With some 34 million people and 16 independent nations sharing an African ethnic heritage, the Caribbean is a diverse region that includes some of the hemisphere’s richest and poorest nations. The region consists of 13 island nations, from the Bahamas in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south; Belize, which is geographically located in Central America; and the two nations of Guyana and Suriname, located on the north central coast of South America. With the exception of Cuba and Haiti, regular elections in the region are the norm, and for the most part have been free and fair....

Honduras: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations

This report discusses the relationship of United States with Honduras, characterized by significant foreign assistance, an important trade partnership, a U.S. military presence in the country, and cooperation on a range of transnational issues.

Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress

A number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture have been or are being addressed by the 109th Congress. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-171), enacted in February 2006, included a net reduction in spending on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandatory programs of $2.7 billion over five years, and the reauthorization of a dairy income support program. Other issues of importance to agriculture during the second session of the 109th Congress include the consideration of emergency farm disaster assistance; multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; concerns about...

Immigration Related Border Security Legislation in the 109th Congress

Border security is considered a central aspect of the United States’ overall homeland security. Securing the border involves controlling the official ports of entry (POE) through which legitimate travelers and commerce enter the country, as well as monitoring and patrolling the nation’s land and maritime borders to detect and interdict the entry of illegal persons and contraband. The Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the lead federal agency charged with securing our nation’s borders at and between POE.

In the 109th Congress, there are a...

Science and Technology Policy: Issues for the 109th Congress

Border Security: Apprehension of ”Other Than Mexican” Aliens

Immigration Policy for Intracompany Transfers (L Visa): Issues and Legislation

Concerns are growing that the visa category that allows executives and managers of multinational corporations to work temporarily in the United States is being misused. This visa category, commonly referred to as the L visa, permits multinational firms to transfer top-level personnel to their locations in the United States for five to seven years. The number of L visas issued has increased by 363.5% over the past 25 years. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued only 26,535 L visas in FY1980. L visa issuances began increasing in the mid-1990s and peaked at 122,981 in FY2005. Some are...

Immigration Enforcement Within the United States

An estimated 11 million unauthorized aliens reside in the United States, and this population is estimated to increase by 500,000 annually. Each year, approximately 1 million aliens are apprehended trying to enter the United States illegally. Although most of these aliens enter the United States for economic opportunities and family reunification, or to avoid civil strife and political unrest, some are criminals, and some may be terrorists. All are violating the United States’ immigration laws.

Immigration enforcement is the regulation of those who violate provisions of the Immigration and...

Mexico-United States Dialogue on Migration and Border Issues, 2001-2006

This report, which will be updated periodically, focuses on the interactions between Mexico and the United States on migration and border issues during the administrations of President George W. Bush and President Vicente Fox of Mexico These interactions are increasingly tense in 2006 due to violence in the border region and debate over U.S. immigration reform. The discussions and agreements fall into four areas: (1) the bilateral migration talks, (2) the Partnership for Prosperity, (3) the Border Partnership Agreement, and (4) the trilateral “Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of...

Homeland Security Department: FY2006 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2006 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $30.6 billion in net budget authority for FY2006, of which $29.6 billion is discretionary budget authority, and $1 billion is mandatory budget authority. P.L. 109-90 was signed into law on October 18, 2005, and provides a net appropriation of $31.9 billion for DHS and $30.8 billion in discretionary budget authority.

The President’s request for appropriations includes the following break out of net budget authority for the four Titles of the DHS...

Monitoring Foreign Students in the United States: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

There has been increased interest in monitoring foreign students while maintaining the long tradition of permitting international scholars to study in the United States. There are three main avenues for students from other countries to temporarily come to the United States to study, and each involves admission as a nonimmigrant. The three visa categories used by foreign students are: F visas for academic study; M visas for vocational study; and J visas for cultural exchange. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented an electronic foreign student monitoring system. ...

Central America and the Dominican Republic in the Context of the Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States

This report explains the conditions in five countries in Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and one country in the Caribbean (Dominican Republic) that will be partners with the United States in the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) signed in August 2004. All of the signatory countries except Costa Rica have approved the pact. The agreement will enter into force for the approving countries on an agreed date, tentatively January 1, 2006. In U.S. approval action, the House and Senate passed the...

Hurricane Katrina-Related Immigration Issues and Legislation

The devastation and displacement caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region of the United States has very specific implications for foreign nationals who lived in the region. Whether the foreign national is a legal permanent resident (LPR), a nonimmigrant (e.g., temporary resident such a foreign student, intracompany transferee, or guest worker) or an unauthorized alien (i.e., illegal immigrant) is a significant additional factor in how federal laws and policies are applied. In this context, the key question is whether Congress should relax any of these laws pertaining...

Border Security and the Southwest Border: Background, Legislation, and Issues

Border security has emerged as an area of public concern, particularly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Although recent public concerns pertaining to border security may be attributed to the threat of potential terrorists coming into the country, past concerns that centered around drug and human smuggling and the illegal entry of migrants remain important issues. As Congress passes legislation to enhance border security (e.g., P.L. 109-13) and the Administration puts into place procedures to tighten border enforcement, concerns over terrorists exploiting the porous southwest...

Immigration: Analysis of the Major Provisions of the REAL ID Act of 2005

During the 108th Congress, a number of proposals related to immigration and identification-document security were introduced, some of which were considered in the context of implementing recommendations made by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission) and enacted pursuant to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458). At the time that the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act was adopted, some congressional leaders reportedly agreed to revisit certain immigration and document-security...

FY2005 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan, Tsunami Relief, and Other Activities

On February 14, 2005, President Bush submitted an $81.9 billion supplemental appropriation request for FY2005 (subsequently amended to total $82.04 billion) to provide funds for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the “global war on terror,” reconstruction in Afghanistan, Tsunami relief and rehabilitation, and other activities. As the fifth supplemental of the Bush Administration to focus on the “global war on terrorism” and homeland security, these supplemental funds for FY2005 would be in addition to the $25.7 billion received in August 2004 as part of the FY2005 DOD...

Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) and Related Funding Programs: FY2005 Assistance

In 2004, Congress considered a number of issues relating to the Andean region and drug trafficking. The Administration requested $731 million for the Andean Counterdrug Initiative for FY2005, and $114 million for economic assistance programs. Congress also changed the level of U.S. military and civilian contractor personnel allowed to be deployed in Colombia, in response to an Administration request. Congress continues to express concern with the volume of drugs readily available in the United States and elsewhere in the world. The three largest producers of cocaine are Colombia, Bolivia,...

The Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)

Border Security: Inspections Practices, Policies, and Issues

The United States now has a unified inspections operation at the borders; a single inspector is charged with examining people, animals, plants, goods, and cargo upon entry to the country. The transfer of these functions to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) marks a significant policy shift for all of these functions, clarifying that -- although there are important commercial, economic, health, humanitarian, and immigration responsibilities -- ensuring the security of our borders is the top priority. The decision by DHS officials to further integrate the inspection duties so that...

Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 108th Congress

The United States and Mexico have a special relationship as neighbors and partners under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The friendly relationship has been strengthened by President Bush's meetings with President Fox but has been weakened by disagreements over Iraq and other issues. Major congressional issues are trade, migration/border security, drug trafficking, and political issues. Trade. Since 1994, NAFTA institutions have been functioning, trade between the countries has tripled, and allegations of violations of labor and environmental laws have been considered....

9/11 Commission: Legislative Action Concerning U.S. Immigration Law and Policy in the 108th Congress

Reforming the enforcement of immigration law is a core component of the recommendations made by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission). The 19 hijackers responsible for the 9/11 attacks were foreign nationals, many of whom were able to obtain visas to enter the United States through the use of forged documents. Incomplete intelligence and screening enabled many of the hijackers to enter the United States despite flaws in their entry documents or suspicions regarding their past associations. According to the Commission, up to...

Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 108th Congress

The Latin American and Caribbean region has made enormous strides over the past two decades in political development, with all countries but Cuba having regular free and fair elections for head of state. But several nations have faced considerable challenges that have threatened political stability, including economic decline and rising poverty, violent guerrilla conflicts, drug trafficking, and increasing crime. Bush Administration officials maintain that U.S. policy toward Latin America has three overarching goals: strengthening security; promoting democracy and good governance;...

Liberia: Transition to Peace

This report, which is updated periodically, covers recent events in Liberia and related U.S. policy. In 2003, Liberia began a post-conflict transition process to achieve enduring peace, socio-economic reconstruction and democratic governance. This process resulted from the signing of a peace accord and the resignation of then-president Charles Taylor in August 2003, after months of international mediation. The accord ended a civil war that burgeoned in 2000 which pitted the forces of Taylor against two armed anti-Taylor rebel groups. The war led to an extreme deterioration in...

H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (October 8, 2004) and Senate (October 6, 2004) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill, because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process to date. For purposes of clarity, we refer to the House-passed bill as...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 108th Congress

The 108th Congress has considered and is considering legislation on a wide range of immigration issues. Chief among these are the immigration-related recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission), expedited naturalization through military service, and foreign temporary workers and business personnel.

Several major bills that seek to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission propose significant revisions to U.S. immigration law: H.R. 10 , S. 2845 , S. 2774 / H.R. 5040 , and H.R. 5024 . Of these bills,...

Immigration: A Guide to Internet Sources

The U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

On September 4, 2003, President Bush signed the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement ( P.L. 108-78 ) into law in a White House ceremony. The agreement went into effect on January 1, 2004. In late July 2003, the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act had passed the House by a vote of 272-155 and the Senate by a vote of 66-32. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will, with a phase-in period, eliminate tariffs on all goods traded between them, cover trade in services, and protect intellectual property rights. In July 2003, the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance...

Visa Policy: Roles of the Departments of State and Homeland Security

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, considerable concern has been raised because the 19 terrorists were aliens who apparently entered the United States on temporary visas despite provisions in immigration laws that bar the admission of terrorists. Fears that lax enforcement of immigration laws regulating the admission of foreign nationals into the United States may continue to make the United States vulnerable to further terrorist attacks have led many to call for revisions in the policy as well as changes in who administers immigration law.

Foreign nationals not already...

Andean Regional Initiative (ARI): FY2003 Supplemental and FY2004 Assistance for Colombia and Neighbors

In 2003, Congress considered President Bush's requests for FY2004 and FY2003 supplemental assistance for Colombia and six regional neighbors in a continuation of the Andean Regional Initiative (ARI) launched in 2001. ARI was proposed as an expansion of support for Plan Colombia, under the Clinton Administration, with more funding for social and economic development programs for Colombia and its neighbors, who are affected by Colombia's struggle against guerrillas and drug traffickers. From FY2000 through FY2003, Colombia and other ARI recipients have received more than $3 billion in U.S....

Immigration: Alien Registration

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many U.S. officials and others have expressed concerns that the U.S. government is unaware of the addresses and whereabouts of many foreign nationals in the country. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) contains provisions for the registration of aliens, including the requirement that aliens provide notification of any change of address within 10 days. For many years, however, this address reporting requirement was generally not enforced. The INA also authorizes the Attorney General to prescribe special regulations for the registration...

Haiti: Issues for Congress

The U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement: Economic and Trade Policy Issues

On June 6, 2003, the United States and Chile signed a long anticipated bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in Miami, Florida, concluding a 14-round negotiation process that began on December 6, 2000. Following hearings before the House Ways and Means, Senate Finance, and both Judiciary Committees, the House passed the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Implementation Act ( H.R. 2738 ) by a vote of 270 to 156, followed by the Senate one week later, 66 to 31. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on September 3, 2003 ( P.L. 108-77 ) and it will take effect on January 1, 2004. Chile has now...

Authority to Enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in the Wake of the Homeland Security Act: Legal Issues

For decades, the administrative authority to interpret, implement, enforce, and adjudicate immigration law within the U.S. lay almost exclusively with one officer: the Attorney General. The most general statement of this power was found in Section 103(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA), the statute that comprehensively regulates immigration law in the United States. With the transfer of nearly all immigration functions to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003, however, Section 103(a)(1) of the INA has necessarily required various modifications to...

Department of Homeland Security: Consolidation of Border and Transportation Security Agencies

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 ( P.L. 107-296 ) transferred several border and transportation security agencies to the newly established Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which became operational March 1, 2003, consolidating some of them in a Directorate of Border and Transportation Security. The Act charges this new directorate with securing the borders; territorial waters; terminals; waterways; and air, land and sea transportation systems of the United States; and managing the nation's ports of entry. As in the past, the challenge for policymakers is to provide a level of border...

Immigration and Naturalization Fundamentals

Congress typically considers a wide range of immigration issues and now that the number of foreign born residents of the United States—32.5 million in 2002—is at the highest point in U.S. history, the debates over immigration policies grow in importance. As a backdrop to these debates, this report provides an introduction to immigration and naturalization policy, concepts, and statistical trends. It touches on a range of topics, including numerical limits, refugees and asylees, exclusion, naturalization, illegal aliens, eligibility for federal benefits, and taxation. This report does not...

Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 107th Congress

Appropriations for FY2003: Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies

The Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and other related agencies (often referred to as CJS) appropriations for FY2003 were completed by Congress and signed ( P.L. 108-7 ) by the President on February 20, 2003, five months into the budget year. The enacted CJS appropriation provides $44,773.7 million in new budget authority (before applying an across-the-board rescission of 0.65%). President Bush sent the FY2003 budget request to Congress on February 4, 2002 seeking a total budget authority level for CJS appropriations of $44,019.0 million -- a mandatory level of $649.3 million...

Immigration Legislation Enacted in the 107th Congress

The 107th Congress enacted a variety of immigration-related laws. The Homeland Security Act ( P.L. 107-296 ) reorganizes the federal government with the creation of a new Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security. As part of this reorganization, it abolishes the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and transfers INS's enforcement and service functions to separate bureaus within the new department. The USA PATRIOT Act ( P.L. 107-56 ) and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act ( P.L. 107-173 ) contain important provisions on border security, admissions policy, and...

Fruits and Vegetables: Issues for Congress

Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers: Policy, Trends, and Legislative Issues

This report discusses the revision of U.S. immigration policy on agricultural guest workers that are coming from various perspectives, and several major bills have already been introduced in the 107th Congress.

U.S. International Refugee Assistance: Issues for Congress

The United States is the largest national contributor to international humanitarian assistance programs for refugees. Traditionally, it contributes to refugee appeals both to alleviate the suffering of innocent victims and out of concern that refugee flows can lead to instability in countries or regions important to U.S. foreign policy interests. The United States is also the largest resettlement country. The money for humanitarian assistance and some of the costs of resettlement in the United States is authorized under the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account of the Department...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 107th Congress

European Counterterrorist Efforts: Political Will and Diverse Responses in the First Year After September 11

The attacks of September 11 prompted the Bush Administration to improve law enforcement and other coordination between the United States and European governments dealing with international terrorism. European governments have also taken measures to enhance cooperation among themselves. Most notable are European Union efforts to enhance cross-border sharing of intelligence and police information, extend the reach of warrants, and strengthen external border controls. Some European countries have a long history of fighting terrorism, and have refined existing practices as part of their...

Federal Research and Development Organization, Policy, and Funding for Counterterrorism

Before the September 11th terrorist attacks, experts questioned whether the government was prepared adequately to conduct and use research and development (R&D) to counter terrorism. They cited inadequate planning; conflicting information about agency funding; the absence of coordinated ways to set priorities and eliminate duplication; and the need to use research resources effectively. Mechanisms have been established since then to set specific R&D priorities and to coordinate interagency policy. The Office of Homeland Security (OHS), created by Executive Order 13228, does not list R&D...

Refugee Assistance in the Foreign Aid Bill: Problems and Prospects

Immigration Legislation and Status Adjustment Legislation

Appropriations for FY2001: Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

FOOD STAMPS: BACKGROUND AND FUNDING

Appropriations for FY2000: Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Immigration Fundamentals

Immigration Fundamentals

Appropriations for FY1999: Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Appropriations for FY1999: Treasury, Postal Service, Executive Office of the President, and General Government

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It summarizes the current legislative status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related legislative activity.

Immigration Fundamentals

This report describes the fundamentals of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which was enacted in 1952 and significantly amended since, most recently by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Immigration-Related Provisions of Selected Bills on Religious Persecution

This report analyzes immigration-related provisions of H.R. 2431, the “Freedom from Religious Persecution Act,” as passed by the House on May 14, 1998, and S. 1868, the “International Religious Freedom Act,” as introduced in the Senate.

Immigration: The “H-2A” Temporary Agricultural Worker Program

In recent years, there have been various legislative efforts to modify or supplement the existing H-2A temporary agricultural program authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Concern has centered on making the program easier for growers to use while still maintaining protections for domestic labor. Growers have made limited use of the program in the past and a few years ago program usage was in decline. Current trends, however, show an increase due in part to increased demand from tobacco growers. This report provides information on the H-2A program, illustrates current...

Immigration: Reasons for Growth, 1981-1995

Immigration Issues and Legislation in the 98th Congress

This report discusses Immigration reform, which continues to be of concern in the '96th Congress, and legislation has been moving quickly. Specific issues include illegal immigration, temporary workers, legalization, asylum adjudications, and legal immigration. The legislation under consideration is the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1983, popularly referred to as the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, introduced in the House and Senate on Feb, 17, 1983 as H.R. 1510 and S. 529.

A Brief History of U.S. Immigration Policy

U.S. immigration policy has been shaped not only by the perceived needs of this country, but by the needs and aspirations of the immigrants themselves. This report reviews the major streams of immigration to the United States in the context of the country's changing views of immigration.