House to Vote on DACA Next Week as Republicans Put Forward Compromise Bill

June 15, 2018

With a strong chance that neither measure will muster a majority, the House of Representatives will be given a choice next week between two competing immigration bills: a new compromise that would extend the DACA program while also reducing legal immigration levels and a more restrictive measure championed by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act contains President Trump's four pillars for immigration reform—including a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, securing the border, eliminating the diversity visa lottery, and limiting family-based immigration.  Under the bill: 

  • DACA recipients and certain others who qualify under conditions similar to DACA recipients 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 a “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 will be eliminated.

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

President Trump threw cold water on the proposal, saying within 24 hours of its release that he "certainly wouldn't sign" it, citing his opinion that more border security is needed in any measure. 

Also to be voted on is Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) Securing America’s Future Act, or some version thereof.  The measure would drastically reduce legal immigration and does not include a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.  

The effort's future remains highly uncertain, with midterm elections just months away and negative early reactions to the bill from the President and conservative House members.  “We won't guarantee passage,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters.  “But we want to give members their ability to express their positions.”