House Republicans Introduce Their Own Immigration Bill
An immigration bill newly introduced by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives could serve as a springboard for a bipartisan reform effort but finding compromise could prove challenging given the political polarization surrounding the immigration debate.
The bill, dubbed the Dignity Act, offers a pathway to citizenship, which could prove appealing to Democrats, but it also contains provisions that have been divisive in the past, such as ramped-up border enforcement and language to bring back the border wall. It also envisions making all employers use the oft-derided E-Verify system to confirm whether new hires may legally work in the country.
Despite its more controversial provisions, the Dignity Act represents an attempt to start a bipartisan conversation on an issue that has seen little agreement between the two parties in recent year.
The bill, introduced Tuesday, February 8, would give unauthorized immigrants the chance to enroll in a 10-year “Dignity Program” that would protect them from deportation and allow them to work legally in the U.S. as long as they fulfill certain conditions, such as passing a background check and paying $10,000 into a newly established fund meant to help U.S. workers.
Immigrants who complete the requirements of the “Dignity Program” would be eligible to enroll in the “Redemption Program,” which offers five years of lawful permanent resident status that could be renewed indefinitely.
In addition to tweaking some existing programs that give foreigners temporary work authorization, the bill also mandates that all employers would need to use the E-Verify system, which has been criticized as burdensome and occasionally inaccurate. Currently, most employers aren’t required by federal law to use the system, although some states mandate it.
Source: Mike LaSusa, Law360, February 9, 2022: https://www.law360.com/immigration/articles/1463156/gop-immigration-bill-faces-roadblocks-from-both-parties
New Brookings Report Shows that Immigration Is Key to Developing Innovation Hubs
On February 14, the Brookings Institution released a report that argues that immigration is a key driver in the development of innovation hubs in new markets.
According to the summary provided on Brookings’ website, the report states that “pro-business migration reforms significantly increase the number of patents filed by the MNC [multinational corporations] within a country, while the opposite is true for policies deterring business-related migration. Negative reforms also decrease the quality of the patents filed across several criteria. Further, we show that negative migration reforms significantly decrease the share of global patents filed by subsidiaries in the country that implemented such policies, and that this effect is stronger for the historical leaders in global knowledge production: Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany. On the contrary, positive migration reforms substantially increase the share of global patents filed in countries with low initial shares of knowledge production. This finding suggests that policies affecting human mobility have contributed to the observed shift in the geography of innovation towards emerging markets.”
The complete report is available at: https://www.hbs.edu/ris/Publication%20Files/22-047_22adb27b-5576-4d2b-bf2c-be3c4e0dcd8c.pdf
Source: Dany Bahar, Prithwiraj Choudhury, and Sara Signorelli, Brookings, February 14, 2022: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2022/02/14/immigration-is-the-key-to-emerging-markets-becoming-innovation-hubs/
USCIS Releases Revised Mission Statement
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new mission statement after asking its employees to “submit words that they felt best illustrated the agency’s work.” The new mission statement reflects that feedback, along with Biden administration priorities and Director Ur Jaddou’s “vision for an inclusive and accessible agency,” USCIS said in a news release on February 9, 2022. The agency has 19,000 employees and contractors working at more than 200 offices worldwide.
The new mission statement says, “USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.” The USCIS mission statement web page also lists and describes the agency’s “core values,” including integrity, respect, innovation, and vigilance.
The new mission statement, with its emphasis on welcoming and respect, reflects USCIS’s restoring of the agency’s focus on services. The revision is a shift away from the previous administration’s changes emphasizing security and dropping the phrase, “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants.”
In a statement announcing the new mission statement, Director Jaddou said, “At its core, USCIS is about delivering decisions to families, businesses, workers, and those seeking refuge in our country on their applications, petitions, requests, and appeals. This new mission statement reflects the inclusive character of both our country and this agency.”
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) “applauded” the new mission statement. Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director, said the new statement “hopefully signals a return to a welcoming, service-driven USCIS that faithfully administers its statutory purpose with integrity.”
Source: ABIL Newsletter, February 13, 2022
- USCIS Mission and Core Values, Feb. 9, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/mission-and-core-values
- AILA statement, Feb. 9, 2022, https://www.aila.org/advo-media/press-releases/2022/uscis-needs-to-give-meaning-to-the-words