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H.R. ___

To authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 20, 2018

Mr. Issa introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “DACA Compromise Act of 2018”.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) IN GENERAL.—Any term used in this Act that is used in the immigration laws (as defined in section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17))) shall have the meaning given such term in the immigration laws.

(2) DACA.—The term “DACA” means deferred action granted to an alien pursuant to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program announced by President Obama on June 15, 2012.

(3) DISABILITY.—The term “disability” has the meaning given such term in section 3(1) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102(1)).

(4) POVERTY LINE.—The term “poverty line” has the meaning given such term in section 673 of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902).

(5) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Homeland Security.

SEC. 3. PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS FOR CERTAIN LONG-TERM RESIDENTS WHO ENTERED THE UNITED STATES AS CHILDREN.

 

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall cancel the removal of, and adjust to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, an alien—

(1) who has been continuously present in the United States since June 15, 2012;

(2) who was granted DACA, unless the alien has engaged in conduct since the alien was granted DACA that would have rendered the alien ineligible for DACArenewal under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as in effect before September 5, 2017;

(3) who makes application for such adjustment not earlier than the date that is 2 years after the date on which the alien first was granted DACA;

(4) otherwise satisfies the requirements of this section; and

(5) to whom is available an immigrant visa pursuant to section 4.

(b) Procedures.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Homeland Security shall by rule establish a procedure allowing eligible individuals to apply for the relief available under this section without requiring placement in removal proceedings and without requiring the immediate availability of an immigrant visa pursuant to section 4. Such procedure shall provide for the ability of a minor to apply for such relief, including through a legal guardian or counsel.

(2) ALIENS SUBJECT TO REMOVAL.—The Secretary shall provide a reasonable opportunity to apply for relief under this section to any alien who requests such an opportunity or who appears prima facie eligible for relief under this section if the alien is in removal proceedings, is the subject of a final removal order, or is the subject of a voluntary departure order.

(c) Application Fee.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary may require an alien applying for permanent resident status under this section to pay a reasonable fee that is commensurate with the cost of processing the application.

(2) EXEMPTION.—An applicant may be exempted from paying the fee required under paragraph (1) if the alien—

(A) (i) is younger than 18 years of age;

(ii) received total income, during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the alien files an application under this section, that is less than 150 percent of the poverty line; and

(iii) is in foster care or otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support;

(B) is younger than 18 years of age and is homeless;

(C) (i) cannot care for himself or herself because of a serious, chronic disability; and

(ii) received total income, during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the alien files an application under this section, that is less than 150 percent of the poverty line; or

(D) (i) during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the alien files an application under this section, accumulated $10,000 or more in debt as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses incurred by the alien or an immediate family member of the alien; and

(ii) received total income, during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the alien files an application under this section, that is less than 150 percent of the poverty line.

(d) Submission Of Biometric And Biographic Data.—The Secretary may not grant an alien permanent resident status under this section unless the alien submits biometric and biographic data, in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary. The Secretary shall provide an alternative procedure for aliens who are unable to provide such biometric or biographic data because of a physical impairment.

(e) Background Checks.—

(1) REQUIREMENT FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS.—The Secretary shall utilize biometric, biographic, and other data that the Secretary determines appropriate—

(A) to conduct security and law enforcement background checks of an alien seeking permanent resident status under this section; and

(B) to determine whether there is any criminal, national security, or other factor that would render the alien ineligible for such status.

(2) COMPLETION OF BACKGROUND CHECKS.—The security and law enforcement background checks of an alien required under subparagraph (A) shall be completed, to the satisfaction of the Secretary, before the date on which the Secretary grants such alien permanent resident status under this section.

(f) Medical Examination.—

(1) REQUIREMENT.—An alien applying for permanent resident status under this section shall undergo a medical examination.

(2) POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.—The Secretary, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall prescribe policies and procedures for the nature and timing of the examination required under paragraph (1).

(g) Military Selective Service.—An alien applying for permanent resident status under this section shall establish that the alien has registered under the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.), if the alien is subject to registration under such Act.

(h) Treatment Of Aliens Pending Grant Of Permanent Residence.—

(1) LIMITATION ON REMOVAL.—The Secretary or the Attorney General may not remove an alien who—

(A) has pending an application for relief under this section and appears prima facie eligible for such relief;

(B) has an approved application for relief under this section and is awaiting the availability of an immigrant visa pursuant to section 4; or

(C) is ineligible to apply for relief under this section solely due to the date limitation in subsection (a)(3).

(2) PROVISIONAL PROTECTED STATUS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—In the case of an alien described in paragraph (1) whose DACA grant has ended, the Secretary shall grant provisional protected presence to the alien and shall provide the alien with employment authorization effective until the date on which—

(i) the alien’s application for relief under this section is finally denied; or

(ii) the Secretary cancels the removal of the alien and adjusts the status of the alien to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

(B) STATUS DURING PERIOD OF PROVISIONAL PROTECTED PRESENCE.—An alien granted provisional protected presence is not considered to be unlawfully present in the United States during the period beginning on the date such status is granted and ending on a date described in subparagraph (A), except that the Secretary may rescind an alien’s provisional protected presence and employment authorization under this paragraph if the Secretary determines that the alien—

(i) poses a threat to national security or a threat to public safety;

(ii) has traveled outside of the United States without authorization from the Secretary; or

(iii) has ceased to be continuously present in the United States since June 15, 2012.

(i) Treatment Of Certain Breaks In Presence.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—An alien shall be considered to have failed to maintain continuous presence in the United States under subsections (a)(1) and (h)(2)(B)(iii) if the alien has departed from the United States for any period in excess of 90 days or for any periods in the aggregate exceeding 180 days, unless such departure was authorized by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(2) EXCEPTION.—An alien who departed from the United States after the date of the enactment of this Act shall not be considered to have failed to maintain continuous presence in the United States if the alien’s absences from the United States are brief, casual, and innocent, whether or not such absences were authorized by the Secretary.

(3) EXTENSIONS FOR EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES.—The Secretary of Homeland Security may extend the time periods described in paragraph (1) if the alien demonstrates that the failure to timely return to the United States was due to exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances sufficient to justify an extension may include the serious illness of the alien, or death or serious illness of a spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or child.

SEC. 4. AVAILABILITY OF IMMIGRANT VISAS.

 

(a) Temporary Reallocation Of Certain Visas.—Beginning in the first fiscal year in which an immigrant visa is needed under section 3(a)(5) for an alien who is the beneficiary of an approved application for relief under section 3, the visas described in subsection (b) that are otherwise available for the aliens described in such subsection shall be reallocated as necessary for purposes of making visas available under section 3(a)(5).

(b) Visas Described.—For each fiscal year, the visas described in this subsection are the following:

(1) Visas otherwise allotted to the brothers and sisters of citizens of the United States under section 203(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(a)(4)).

(2) Visas otherwise allotted to diversity immigrants under section 203(c) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(c)), disregarding any visas necessary to offset adjustments of status under section 309 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility (8 U.S.C. 1101 note), as required by section 203(d) of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (8 U.S.C. 1151 note).

(3) One half of the visas otherwise allotted to married sons and married daughters of citizens of the United States under section 203(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(a)(3)).

(4) One half of the visas otherwise allotted to skilled workers, professionals, and other workers under section 203(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(3)), disregarding any visas necessary to offset adjustments of status under section 309 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility (8 U.S.C. 1101 note), as required by section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (8 U.S.C. 1151 note).

(c) Termination.—In no case shall the total number of visas reallocated under subsection (a) exceed the total number of aliens who have had an application approved under section 3.

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Mr Speaker,

I would like to begin by thanking you Mr Speaker for bringing this bill of mine to the floor, and to thank each and everyone of my co-sponsors for their support on this matter.

Mr Speaker, there are many reasons why failing to safeguard DACA, indeed abolishing it entirely as the President intends to do, would be a cruel and unjustifiable action but please allow me first to forestall a number of the considerations that may plague some in this House who would be prone to a degree of fear-mongering. DACA is not about enabling a "millions strong horde" to enter the USA, indeed these people are already here. DACA is about 800,000 people who came here before they were fifteen, have remained here as peaceful and law-abiding citizens, and have contributed immensely to our great nation. These people embody the very spirit of our American Dream, they don't ask for handouts, they just want to work and contribute to our society.

Mr Speaker, deporting these people would be a grave injustice on many levels. Most recipients of DACA have never known another country, most of them arrived before their seventh birthday, for the great majority the United States is the only place they have ever been able to call home. I ask you Mr Speaker, how would we in this Chamber feel if we were deported from our homes to a country that may as well be foreign to us? I know for a fact that if I were to be sent away to a nation I had not been to in many years, or even decades, I would struggle to cope, to subject these people to such an ordeal would be cruel in the extreme.

Mr Speaker, the standard argument for deporting undocumented immigrants is that they deserve that fate because they violated the law. In my view, the vast majority of undocumented migrants were justified in acting illegally because of the dire circumstances they are fleeing, and the deeply unjust nature of the law in question. But I can understand the argument that deliberate violations of the law should never be tolerated, regardless of circumstance. That theory, however, has no bearing on DACA recipients. In nearly all cases, they either did not come to the U.S. by their own choice, were not legally responsible for their actions at the time (because of their status as minors), or both. You don’t have be a philosopher or a legal theorist to realise that a seven year old has little choice but to go wherever her parents or guardians take her.

In addition to the great harm inflicted on DACA participants themselves Mr Speaker, ending the program would also damage the U.S. economy. As I said earlier in my remarks most  DACA recipients are productive members of society. Getting rid of them would impose substantial costs on employers and consumers. Not surprisingly Mr Speaker, protection from deportation has enabled program participants to earn higher incomes, establish more businesses, and otherwise make more contributions to the economy than they likely would have without it (see also here).

Mr Speaker, for the moral reasons I have outlined in my remarks and many more besides I commend this bill to the House and urge all to back me when I say I motion for Unanimous Consent.

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

The people in my congressional district, the 8th of Missouri, went for President Trump 75 to 21.  I know firsthand their feelings on illegal immigration.  However, after going to every city, town, and village in the district, one thing was made clear to me: They do not support pulling the rug out from under the Dreamers.   Hell, it's common sense.  You do not blame children for the sins of their parents.  That is a basic moral value that this country used to hold dear.  But these days, voters elect leaders, and the leaders never return to those that elected them.  Numbers don't lie, my rural district favored Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton, but numbers also don't tell the whole story.  These people want something done about illegal immigration and President Trump spoke to their concerns.  

But they support keeping law-abiding Dreamers here.  When I was in the National Guard, I befriended a man named Samuel, Sam for short.  Sam was brought here when he was a baby by his parents.  They escaped Pinochet's regime in Chile and found solace in this great nation.  Sam was one of the bravest men I knew and thanks to the Dream Act he was able to enlist and stay in this country.  He now is a Lieutenant in the Farmington Police Department, he has had more violent offenders put away than ever before in Farmington.  Granted, I helped a little bit, I was his boss after all.  *Chuckles*

The point is, by and large, Dreamers like Sam are making America stronger, safer, and should be apart of our shining city on a hill.  There are always bad apples, and those will be dealt with, but you cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Simple as that.  

I support a secure border and deportation of violent criminals.  But we need comprehensive reform as well, and this bill is a good start to the comprehensive process.  

I yield.  

PARTS WHICH ARE CROSSED OUT HAVE BEEN NOPED/RETCONED  

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Mr. Speaker,

The Honourable Gentleman from Missouri's 8th is very talented when it comes to using subtle words to mean things which are not being said; in his most recent comments to the floor, he referred to this group as "dreamers" which, of course, means "illegal immigrants" in this case. Perhaps they are, also, dreamers, but their ability to have a dream is secondary, I think, to the question of their legal status in these United States of America. That, Mr. Speaker, is, in fact, the only question here for debate: what is their legal status and what does that mean? It is clear to everyone that their legal status is set: they are illegally here in the United States. This is not to say that it is their fault that they are so, but it is a fact. Their citizenship is not with the United States of America, and they have no legal right to be present here. The next question which I have put forward is "what does that mean" and I believe that there are two sub-questions which must be answered before we can address that one directly:

First, what are the rights of a country pertaining to immigration; second, what are the responsibilities of a sovereign country to potential immigrants. With regards the first, the rights of a country are absolute when it comes to immigration. It is the absolute right of the people, through the apparatus of the state, to determine who, how many, and when they allow immigrants to enter and settle in their country. This is an inalienable right to a state; without this right, the state frankly ceases to exist. So it is clear that the United States of America has an absolute and unabridged right to choose who may enter the country. The second is what responsibilities a country has to potential immigrants, that is: people who are seeking to become immigrants by one way or another. Like with everything else, the United States, being a country of laws, has established a due process for immigration into our country. This process may seem laborious to many in this House (and they are free to attempt to change that through legislation should they wish); however, as we have all agreed previously, it is the absolute right of the United States to set these rules and boundaries. And we have, Mr. Speaker, set the rules and boundaries. Unfortunately, there are over 20,000,000 people in this country (a number which is seemingly ever-expanding) who have not adhered to those rules and boundaries. These are illegal immigrants. They have immigrated illegally. 

So now that these details are set out and crystal clear, we have a usable syllogism: 

1) The only way to become a legal immigrant to the United States is to follow the established rules and boundaries for entry;

2) The United States has no responsibility for those who are not legal immigrants to the United States;

3) Therefore, the United States has no responsibility to those who have not followed the established rules and boundaries for entry into the United States.

This is basic, entry-level logic. Basic. The Majority Party has decided to forsake logic, however, in order to promote some kind of political maneuvering, whether it is for the sake of securing a generation of new voters for their party or for signalling to the world what good people they are, the ultimate conclusion is this: their policy is not logical; it defies logic. It flies in the face of everything that our country has believes about immigration since its very founding, and it is inherently wrong and unfair to American citizens and to future legal immigrants, who choose to abide by the legal pathway to enter our country. I do not believe that there are any other questions which are pertinent to this case than those questions which I have already addressed; although I am sure the Member for Missouri's Eighth will disagree. 

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker, I'm afraid that the gentleman from New York is from one of those Echo Chambers I mentioned. 

His contention is that I'm covering up my "nefarious" hidden beliefs with using the word "Dreamer." The fact is, friend, my beliefs on this matter has evolved. Before I joined the National Guard I had a mindset similar to those of the Gentleman from New York.

As I got to know many Dreamers along my career path, I realized that my original thoughts were poorly thought out. 

Illegal immigration is a tough issue. But problem solving won't occur on the fringes. We need to come to the center to solve this. Democrats like myself need to support tough border security and a stregthening E-Verify. And to the Republicans: you all need to move to the place of governing. It can't happen if we keep on sounding like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore got elected to Congress. 

I yield. 

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Mr. Speaker,

A good portion of my friends are forgetting to consider what the result of this bill would be on the lives of our citizens! We have gotten too caught up on the labels that the culture wars have forced on us, where people are arguing over what to call these poor children, that they are not focusing on the economic punishment that we would have to accept if we chose to deport them. Not only would we be spending tens of millions of dollars to catch them all but we would also lose a large portion of the workforce, in sectors that Americans would be unwilling to replace them. How many Americans are willing to do the manual labor in the Arizona and California heat for minimum wage? How many businesses would be shut down because they could not afford to pay their workers the amount that legality requires? I call upon my economically minded brothers and sisters to put aside the emotions and support this bill, not to prop up illegal immigrants or support dreamers, but to prevent a disastrous economic outcome from occurring.

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

The rule of law is all about deterrence. So when we fail to follow it, we squander its deterring effects. Ending DACA and turning off the amnesty-magnet is now more important than ever as we still haven't strengthened our immigration laws in any meaningful way. While “protecting” illegal aliens from the consequences of breaking the law may make them feel good and virtuous, if they get their way on DACA the incentives for further law-breaking at our border will only increase. Economists call this the “moral hazard” problem. When you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. We saw this on great display with Reagan's 1986 amnesty and the growth of illegal immigration in the years following it. Given the economic and social pressures here and across the border, we need to ensure against amnesty and the moral hazard it creates, now more than ever.

Additionally amnesty and the ensuing illegal immigration it will bring is a downward pressure on American wages and hurts American labor. It's the basic law of supply and demand applied to the labor market. Big business loves DACA. Progressives claiming to defend labor will suddenly side with the Koch brothers when it comes to defending illegal aliens for some reason these days. They forget how champions of labor such as Cesar Chavez fought tooth and nail to maintain bargaining power against illegal immigration for years. Pro-amnesty is anti-labor at it's very core.

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

The congressman from Wisconsin has failed to realize that these undocumented immigrants have taken jobs in fields that American citizens would not choose to work in. They make up 50% of all field and crop workers, 26.7% of grounds keepers, and 19% of building cleaning and pest control jobs. In the last decade, they have increased Social Security coffers by $100 Billion and Medicare by $35.1 Billion. During the time span of 1990-2013 when the rate they came over tripled, violent crime fell by 48%.They contribute $13.2 Billion to Federal taxes and $7.8 Billion to State. Removing them would shrink the labor force by 6.4%,  reduce the GDP by $1.6 Trillion, shrink the economy by 5.7%, and cost the government $400 Billion to do it. The plan from our friend representing the cheeseheads would harm our farmers, our businesses, our state and federal governments, our poor and elderly, and we would have to pay $400 Billion dollars for that privilege.

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

We shouldn't even be considering this unless we also secure our border at the same time.

I move to add the following section to the bill:

Quote

 

SEC. 5. CONSTRUCTION OF PHYSICAL BARRIER ALONG U.S.-MEXICO BORDER.

(a) A physical precast concrete wall no less than 30 feet high and extending no less than 10 feet underground shall be constructed along no less than 1,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border by December 31, 2020. 

(b) $12,000,000,000 is appropriated for this section. 

 

I yield. 

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Mr. Speaker,

I also believe that it is important to protect our border and if it will take a physical wall on the border to ensure that these DREAMERs have a fair chance in this country, I'm all for it.

In a show of unity,  I also second the motion to amend.

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

I rise to add the following two sections as one single amendment:

Quote

 

SEC. 6. RESTRICTION ON WELFARE BENEFITS FOR CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS.
For purposes of the 5-year eligibility waiting period under section 403 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1613), an individual who has met the requirements under section 5 for adjustment from conditional permanent resident status to lawful permanent resident status shall be considered, as of the date of such adjustment, to have completed the 5-year period specified in such section.

SEC. 7. BENEFITS FOR RELATIVES OF ALIENS GRANTED CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, nothing in this Act may be construed to provide a spouse, parent, child, or other family member of an alien granted conditional permanent resident status or lawful permanent resident status under this Act with any immigration benefit or special consideration for such relatives to be admitted into or remain in the United States.

 

I yield. 

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