House Republican leaders Thursday sent their members an immigration bill that will likely be Congress’ last significant chance before the midterm elections to address the status of “Dreamers,” family separation and other complex immigration issues.
The PBS NewsHour obtained a copy of the draft 293-page bill, titled “The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act.” Here are some highlights.
- The proposal would provide a six-year renewable status to so-called “Dreamers,” protecting anyone brought to the country illegally as a child before 2007. That’s an expansion of the population currently protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. President Donald Trump last year pledged to end DACA, but it remains in operation while courts decide its fate.
- To qualify for protection under the House GOP proposal, individuals would need to meet certain criteria, such as currently being in school or having completed high school, and cannot have a criminal conviction. It also would provide new merit-based visas to children of agricultural and skilled workers in the country on E1, E2 and H1B visas.
- The compromise would eliminate some family-based immigration categories, including siblings or married children of U.S. citizens.
- In addition, the bill includes funding for Trump’s $25 billion request to build a border wall and other measures to strengthen border security.
- Notably, the Republican proposal addresses the issue of family separation, breaking with the Trump administration’s policy and stipulating that children apprehended at the border must not be separated from their parent or guardian while in custody of U.S. immigration officials.
Read the full proposal here: