Skip to content

Question: I have heard that there are a large number of new immigration bills that are in Congress. Can you give a summary?

Answer: Yes, there are a significant number of bills. Whether they actually become law will only be determined by time. However, it does appear that there should be a significant number of changes in the coming year. Below are just a few of the bills introduced.

The Uniting American Families Act or the Permanent Partners Immigration Act: Introduced on June 21 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), S. 1278 would provide a mechanism for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their permanent partners for residence in the United States. S. 1278 defines the term “permanent partner” to mean an individual 18 years of age or older who (a) is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 years of age or older in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment; (b) is financially interdependent with that other individual; (c) is not married to or in a permanent partnership with anyone other than that other individual; (d) is unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under the INA; and (e) is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of that other individual. The bill is companion legislation to H.R. 3006 below.

The Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act of 2005: Introduced on January 24, 2005, by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), S. 119 would build upon the Homeland Security Act, which transferred the care and custody of unaccompanied alien children from the former INS to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Among other things, the bill would ensure that unaccompanied alien children have access to counsel; give ORR the authority to provide guardians to such children; establish minimum standards for the care and custody of unaccompanied alien minors; and strengthen policies for permanent protection of unaccompanied alien children. The bill is similar to legislation that Senator Feinstein introduced in the 108th Congress.

The Civil Liberties Restoration Act: Introduced on April 6 by Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), H.R. 1502 seeks to roll back some of the most egregious post-9/11 policies and strike an appropriate balance between security needs and liberty interests. Among other things, H.R. 1502 would secure due process protections and civil liberties for non-citizens in the U.S., enhance the effectiveness of our nation’s enforcement activities, restore the confidence of immigrant communities in the fairness of our government, and facilitate our efforts at promoting human rights and democracy around the world.

The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act: Introduced on May 12 by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and others, S. 1033 would comprehensively reform our immigration laws so that they enhance our national security and address the concerns of American businesses and families. Among other things, the bill would establish a break-the-mold new essential worker visa program (the H-5A visa) while also providing a mechanism by which eligible undocumented immigrants present in the U.S. on the date of the bill’s introduction could adjust to temporary nonimmigrant (H-5B) status; promote family unity and reduce backlogs; call for the creation and implementation of a national strategy for border security and enhanced border intelligence; create new enforcement regimes; and promote circular migration patterns. House companion legislation (H.R. 2330) was introduced on May 12 by Representatives Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL).

The Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security (AgJobs) Act of 2005: Introduced on February 10, 2005 by Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), S. 359 would create an earned adjustment program for undocumented farm workers who would be eligible to apply for temporary immigration status based on their past work experience, and could become permanent residents upon satisfying prospective work requirements. The legislation would also streamline the existing H-2A foreign agricultural worker program while preserving and enhancing key labor protections. Representatives Chris Cannon (R-UT) and Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced a companion measure in the House (H.R. 884). The bill is similar to legislation that the two Senators introduced in the 108th Congress.

The Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2005: Introduced on May 4 by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), H.R. 2092 would, among many other things, increase the allocation of family-based immigrant visas; provide age-out protection for children; provide earned access to legalization; provide adjustment of status for certain children; update the registry provisions; and enhance border security.

We have fought long and hard to try to get reform of unfair immigration laws, and hopefully, this will be the year that much of the positive reform happens.

Home » Immigration Updates » What new Bills are on the Horizon?

What new Bills are on the Horizon?