HTML _ IB98016 - Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 105th Congress
12-Feb-1999; Joyce Vialet; 14 p.

Abstract: Immigration legislation enacted and considered in the 105th Congress can be divided into three categories: (1) legislation prompted by the major immigration and welfare legislation enacted in the 104th Congress; (2) legislation in response to the expiration dates of existing provisions; and (3) legislation which addressed emerging new issues -- issues that the 104th Congress did not address, or issues that arose since then. Significant legislation enacted by the 105th Congress consisted of modifications of the two major immigration and welfare enactments of the 104th Congress: (1) the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 (Division C of P.L. 104-208); and (2) the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA; P.L. 104-193). Legislation enacted in response to the 1996 immigration and welfare acts: restored or extended eligibility of certain legal aliens here by August 22, 1996 and refugees for SSI, Medicaid, and food stamps (P.L. 105-33, P.L. 105-185, P.L. 105-306); provided various forms of relief from deportation for Central Americans, Haitians, and other groups (P.L. 105-100, P.L. 105-277); delayed the effective date of some entry/exit controls (P.L. 105-277); and repealed vaccination requirements for adopted children under age 10 (P.L. 105-73). Legislation enacted in response to the expiration of existing laws: extended the visa waiver program through April 30, 2000 (P.L. 105-173); repealed a provision allowing adjustment to permanent status by aliens here illegally (P.L. 105-119); extended the religious worker immigrant category through September 30, 2000 (P.L. 105-54); and extended ¨Lautenberg amendment,¨ requiring a lesser burden of proof for refugee status for certain former Soviets and Indochinese, through September 1999 (P.L. 105-277). Probably the most significant new immigration issue resulting in legislation this Congress was the temporary admission of professional (¨H-1B¨) workers. P.L. 105-277, the FY1999 Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act enacted at the end of the 105th Congress, included provisions to increase the 65,000 cap on H-1B ¨specialty occupation workers¨ and address certain perceived abuses in their use. Legislation addressing the temporary admission of agricultural workers and nurses was also considered but not enacted. Naturalization issues received attention for the first time in several years, although no final action was taken. Legislation aimed at curbing fraud and abuse in the naturalization process was introduced by the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary immigration subcommittees. There was also concern about the growing backlogs and waiting time for naturalization. Reorganizing the federal immigration system was also considered, and appears likely to be an issue in the next Congress. [read report]

Topics: Population

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