Excerpts of the report follow:
Purpose and Summary
H.R. 2821, the "American
Background and Need for the Legislation
I. TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant TPS to foreign nationals in
1/See generally INA Sec. 244; 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1254 (2019).
Since 1990, when the TPS provisions were enacted, a total of 21 countries (or parts of countries) have been designated for TPS. At present, ten countries hold TPS designations:
Notwithstanding compelling evidence that conditions in these countries remain dire, the
Last year, a federal court in Ramos v. Nielsen granted a preliminary injunction preventing the Administration from proceeding with the termination of TPS for
7/Ramos v. Nielsen, Case No. 18-cv-01554-
9/Bhattarai v. Nielsen, No. 19-cv-731 (
II. DEFERRED ENFORCEMENT DEPARTURE
In accordance with his constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations, the President has the discretion to grant DED to foreign nationals for foreign policy reasons.10 DED is a temporary and discretionary stay of removal that is similar in many respects to TPS except that it lacks explicit statutory basis.11 In 1992, President
III. THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF PROVIDING PERMANENT RELIEF TO TPS AND DED RECIPIENTS
In addition to the humanitarian effects, the failure to permanently protect TPS and DED holders would destabilize the economy and local communities by removing a long-term and reliable workforce from key industries. TPS recipients have lived in
20/For example, with a low 4.1 percent unemployment rate, the construction industry had roughly 278,000 job openings in
TPS holders make significant contributions to the
For the purposes of section 103(i) of
Witnesses shared their personal stories and highlighted the need for a legislative solution by exploring the critical contributions of TPS and DED recipients, many of whom have lived lawfully in
In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
1. An amendment by
2. Motion to report H.R. 2821, as amended, favorably was agreed to by a rollcall vote of 20 to 9.
Committee Oversight Findings
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
Committee Estimate of Budgetary Effects
In compliance with clause 3(d) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
Pursuant to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
Re H.R. 2821 the American
Dear Mr. Chairman: The
1/A relatively small number of people would be eligible for LPR status under both H.R. 2820 (the Dream Act) and H.R. 2821 (the American
H.R. 2821 would allow aliens who, as of
CBO estimates that H.R. 2821 would provide lawful immigration status and work authorization to nearly half a million people who otherwise would be physically present in
2The Administration has proposed to terminate TPS and DED for nationals of several countries. That policy is currently subject to a nationwide injunction. Spending and revenues in CBO's baseline reflect the expectation that the injunction will eventually be lifted and the Administration will implement its proposed policy.
Enacting the bill would affect direct spending because LPR status confers eligibility for federal benefits--health insurance subsidies and benefits under Medicaid and also under the
Enacting H.R. 2821 also would affect federal revenues because the increase in the number of workers with employment authorization would affect payroll taxes and individual and corporate income taxes. Some newly authorized workers also would become eligible for refundable tax credits (included in the spending total below). In addition, some of the fees established under the bill would be classified as revenues in the budget.
CBO and JCT estimate that enacting H.R. 2821 would increase direct spending by
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is
TABLE 1.--H.R. 2821, THE AMERICAN PROMISE ACT OF 2019
Duplication of Federal Programs
No provision of H.R. 2821 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the federal government known to be duplicative of another federal program, a program that was included in any report from the Government Accountability Office to
Performance Goals and Objectives
The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
Advisory on Earmarks
In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the
The following discussion describes the bill as reported by the Committee.
Title I. Treatment of Certain Nationals of Certain Countries Designated for Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforcement Departure.
Sec. 101. Adjustment of Status for Certain Nationals of Certain Countries Designated for Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure. Sections 101(a) and 101(b) direct the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General to cancel the removal and adjust the status of individuals who:
(1) are nationals of a foreign state with a TPS or DED designation on
(2) had or were otherwise eligible for TPS or DED relief on that date and have not since engaged in conduct that would render them ineligible for such relief; and
(3) have been continuously physically present for three years before the date enactment.
Such individuals must also demonstrate that they are not inadmissible on the following grounds under section 212(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. Sec. 1182(a)(2)): having health-related concerns; having engaged in criminal activity; posing a threat to national security; having been a stowaway; having engaged in alien smuggling; being subject to certain civil penalties; having engaged in student visa abuse; being ineligible for citizenship; having engaged in polygamy, international child abduction, or unlawful voting; or renouncing
Section 101(c)(1) allows the Secretary to impose a reasonable fee on applications for adjustment of status under the Act, not to exceed
Section 101(c)(2) prohibits the granting of an adjustment of status application under the Act until background check requirements are satisfied.
Section 101(c)(3) allows an applicant to withdraw an application without prejudice.
Title II. General Provisions.
Sec. 201. Definitions. Section 201 defines the following terms: "Disability"; "Federal Poverty Line"; "Immigration Laws"; "Secretary"; "Uniformed Services"; and "Treatment of Expunged Convictions".
Sec. 202. Submission of Biometric and Biographic Data; Background Checks. Section 202 requires all applicants to provide biometric and biographic data and prohibits approval of an application unless security and background checks are completed to the Secretary of Homeland Security's satisfaction.
Sec. 203. Limitation on Removal; Application and Fee Exemption; Waiver of Grounds for Inadmissibility and Other Conditions on Eligible Individuals. Section 203(a) prohibits the removal of an individual who appears to be prima facie eligible for relief under the Act until a final decision establishing ineligibility for relief is rendered.
Section 203(b) allows an individual who has been ordered removed or granted voluntary departure to apply for adjustment of status under the Act without having to file a motion to reopen or other pleading with the immigration court. If the application is approved, the Secretary shall cancel the order of removal. If the Secretary renders a final decision to deny the application, the removal or voluntary departure order shall remain in effect.
Section 203(c) provides for a fee exemption for applicants who: (1) are younger than 18 years of age; (2) demonstrate income at less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line; (3) are in foster care or lack familial support; or (4) cannot care for themselves due to a serious, chronic disability.
Section 203(d) provides the Secretary with discretionary authority to waive the following grounds of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. Sec. 1182(a)(2)) for humanitarian purposes, family unity, or because a waiver is otherwise in the public interest: health-related grounds, certain criminal offenses, being a stowaway, alien smuggling, student visa abuse, or unlawful voting. The Secretary cannot waive the grounds described in this paragraph if it was based on a conviction that would make the individual ineligible for TPS under other provisions of the Act.
Section 203(e) allows applicants for adjustment of status under the Act to apply for advance parole (advance permission to return to
Section 203(f) allows individuals to apply for work authorization if their removal is stayed or if they have an application pending.
Sec. 204. Determination of Continuous Presence. Section 204(a) states that any period of continuous presence does not terminate when an individual is served with a notice to appear pursuant to section 239(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229(a)).
Section 204(b) states that an individual will have failed to maintain continuous physical presence if the individual departed
Section 204(c) allows the Secretary to waive--for humanitarian purposes, family unity, or if otherwise in the public interest--the physical presence requirement for an individual who was removed or departed
Sec. 205. Exemption from Numerical Limitations Section 205 states that there is no numerical limitation on the number of people who may be granted permanent resident status under the Act.
Sec. 206. Availability of Administrative and Judicial Review. Section 206(a) directs the Secretary to create an administrative review procedure within 30 days of enactment for individuals whose applications are denied or whose status is revoked.
Section 206(b) provides for judicial review in federal district court for applicants who are denied or have had their status revoked.
Section 206(c) states that applicants seeking administrative or judicial review may not be removed until a final decision on the application is rendered, except that an individual may be removed on criminal or national security grounds pending judicial review. An individual removed who prevails on judicial review must be promptly returned to
Sec. 207. Documentation Requirements. Section 207 sets forth the types of documentation that applicants may submit as proof of eligibility for relief under the Act in the following categories: Documents Establishing Identity; Documents Establishing Continuous Physical Presence; and Documents Establishing Exemption from Application Fees.
Section 207(d) allows the Secretary to prohibit or restrict the use of documents that are deemed unreliable for purposes of establishing identity, as well as other documents if the Secretary determines that relief under the Act is being obtained fraudulently to an unacceptable degree.
Sec. 208. Rulemaking. Section 208 requires the Secretary to publish interim regulations not later than 90 days after enactment. Final regulations must be published 180 days after the interim regulations are published.
Sec. 209. Confidentiality of Information. Section 209 prohibits the Secretary from: (1) disclosing or using application information (including information provided during administrative or judicial review) for immigration enforcement purposes; or (2) referring applicants to
Sec. 210. Grant Program to Assist Eligible Applicants. Section 210 authorizes appropriations and directs the Secretary to establish a program to award competitive grants to nonprofit organizations to provide services to eligible applicants including but not limited to: providing information on eligibility, screening prospective applicants for eligibility, preparing and submitting applications and supporting documentation, providing information on the rights and responsibilities of
Sec. 211. Provisions Affecting Eligibility for Adjustment of Status. Section 211 states that eligibility for relief under the Act does not preclude an individual from seeking any other status for which the individual might be eligible.
H.R. 2821 as reported by the Committee, takes what
The nearly 418,000 TPS holders currently in
2/See Chart 1.
Aliens currently inside
Alien recipients, whether still in
Aliens, whether inside
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows the DHS Secretary to designate a country for TPS if there are circumstances preventing the safe return of aliens to that country, or if a country is temporarily unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals.3
3/8 U.S.C. Sec. 1254(b)(1).
The effect of a TPS designation is that nationals of the designated country who are inside
TPS is usually initially designated for a period of 18 months and then redesignated in 18-month increments after the Secretary reviews the conditions in the country to determine whether the conditions for the TPS designation continue. If the Secretary determines the country no longer meets the conditions for the TPS designation, the Secretary is required by the statute to terminate the designation.5
5/8 U.S.C. Sec. 1254(b)(3)(B).
At least 60 days before the expiration of the TPS designation, or any extension thereof, the Secretary, after consultations with appropriate Government agencies, must review the conditions in a foreign state designated for TPS to determine whether the conditions for the TPS designation continue to be met and, if so, the length of an extension.6 If the Secretary determines the foreign state no longer meets the conditions for the TPS designation, the Secretary must terminate the designation. Such termination may not take effect "earlier than 60 days after the date the Notice [of termination] is published [in the
6/8 U.S.C. Sec. 1254a(b)(3)(A), (C).
7/8 U.S.C. Sec. 1254a(b)(3)(B).
During the markup, Chairman Nadler stated, "The President opted to terminate these protections despite continuing political instability and compelling evidence that social and environmental conditions in those countries remain dire. . . ." Such a statement does not allow for the fact that the relevant statute (8 U.S.C. 1254) requires a termination when the conditions for designation are no longer in place. And it implies that once a country is designated for TPS, the designation can never be terminated unless the case is made that the country is a relative paradise.
Upon review of TPS status for certain countries in consultation with the
8/USCIS Website, at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary- protected-status.
Unfortunately, what was intended by
DED is a purely discretionary grant the President can use based on his foreign policy powers to provide a deferral of enforced departure for certain aliens. In 2007, President
10/Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security,
. . . conditions in
Accordingly, I find that conditions in
11/Memorandum on Extension of Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians,
With H.R. 2821, the
12/Statement of Chairman
H.R. 2821 will incentivize the filing of fraudulent applications. H.R. 2821 permits various categories of low- reliability evidence to be submitted in support of an application, including mere affidavits to establish continuous physical presence.14 H.R. 2821 also contains an expansive confidentiality provision15 that prevents information contained in an application from being used for law enforcement purposes. Similar confidentiality provisions in the 1986 Special Agricultural Worker amnesty program incentivized widespread fraud in the program and have hampered law enforcement efforts. Moreover, aliens found to be ineligible and removable are prohibited under H.R. 2821 from being referred to
14/Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2821, 116th Cong. (American
15/Id. at Sec. 209.
16/Id. at Sec. 209(b).
17/8 C.F.R. Sec. 244.16.
H.R. 2821 also contains a provision expressly permitting an alien to withdraw their application at any time, merely by making a request, which the Secretary has no discretion to ignore.18 The withdrawal "shall not prejudice any future application filed by the applicant for any immigration benefit under this Act or under the Immigration and Nationality Act . . ."19 meaning an alien can file a fraudulent application, and once they are caught simply request to withdraw their application with no consequences--criminal or immigration- related. Where there are no consequences for filing a fraudulent application, H.R. 2821 incentivizes filing fraudulent applications on the chance that an alien could be granted a green card.
18/Id. at Sec. 101(c)(3).
H.R. 2821 creates a taxpayer-funded grant program to support the filing of applications for benefits. It would permit taxpayer money to be obligated through 2030. Aliens applying for other immigration benefits through the normal process must find and pay for their own legal and technical assistance. The special path to citizenship that H.R. 2821 confers is a significant immigration benefit that treats certain immigrants better than others. There is no reason whatsoever that
H.R. 2821 also treats its potential beneficiaries better than legal immigrants who have followed the law. As written, the bill does not permit the Secretary to consider discretionary factors when determining whether an alien with TPS or DED is eligible to receive lawful permanent residence. The vast majority of other immigration benefits provided through the Immigration and Nationality Act--including adjustment of status--are discretionary and the alien must demonstrate they merit the status in the exercise of discretion. But
H.R. 2821 grants green cards to an untold number of aliens, whether or not they entered the country illegally, whether they have been here for many years or a few years, whether or not they were TPS or DED recipients, and whether or not they have already left the country.
As written, H.R. 2821 contains no enforcement provisions, and is simply a vehicle designed to give green cards to a great number of people. Meanwhile,
Yet in the midst of a true crisis, H.R. 2821 does nothing whatsoever to address the resource needs of our law enforcement personnel on the border, nor will it do anything to address the root causes of the legal loopholes in
We urge our colleagues to oppose this legislation.
The full text of the report is found at: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/116th-congress/house-report/97/1?s=1&r=2