House Delays Vote on DACA Measure

June 22, 2018

The House of Representatives delayed until next week a vote on the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, a comprehensive immigration reform measure that would establish a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients while reducing legal immigration levels by way of a new merit-based green card system.

What employers need to know about the bill:

  • DACA recipients and certain others who qualify may apply for a 6-year indefinitely renewable contingent nonimmigrant legal status.

  • A merit-based green card program would be established for: (1) any individual granted the above-mentioned contingent nonimmigrant status due to DACA eligibility; and (2) children of E-1, E-2, H-1B, and L workers who were brought by their parents lawfully into the U.S. as minors and have been continuously in the U.S. for 10 years before the date of enactment.

  • Legal immigration would be reduced by significant cuts to family-based migration and elimination of the visa lottery program.  The green cards from those programs would be reallocated to the merit-based visa program for DACA recipients detailed above, though once DACA recipients age out of the program the visas would be eliminated.

  • The per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants would be eliminated.

Goodlatte bill, discharge petition bite the dust:  Rep. Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) more restrictive Securing America's Future Act was predictably voted down Thursday by 193 to 231, a closer margin than expected.  The procedural effect of the rejection of the Goodlatte bill was also to extinguish the discharge petition that, despite never achieving the necessary signatures, had compelled the House leadership to schedule the immigration votes.

If the other measure is passed, the Senate is likely to be an inhospitable climate, as the legislation will need at least nine Senate Democrats to sign on—a tall order.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated he does not intend to lose valuable floor time to a measure he is unhopeful will pass.

Meanwhile, debate rages on in the courts, as multiple lawsuits and two nationwide injunctions by federal judges have halted the President's order to end the DACA program.  A third nationwide injunction, which will order the government to accept new DACA applications as well as renewals, will likely be initiated on July 23.