Immigrants to the United States need to understand the relationship between Congress and Immigration laws.
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election. Each of the 435 members of the House of Representatives represents a district and serves a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population. The 100 Senators serve staggered six-year terms. Each state has two senators, regardless of population. Every two years, approximately one-third of the Senate is elected at a time.
Our web site enables you to find the text of immigration laws, pending immigration legislation, and to write to your Members of Congress.
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The following immigration bills were introduced in Congress in 2020:
On 8/22/20, Representatives Lofgren, Nadler, Fortenberry, Cleaver, Buck, Welch, and Raskin introduced the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act (H.R. 8089). The bill seeks to temporarily prevent the need for USCIS furloughs by immediately increasing USCIS premium processing revenues.
On July 9, 2020, Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) introduced a bill to provide supplemental appropriations to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and for other purposes.
Reps. Escobar (TX-16) and Wilson (FL-24) introduced the “Immigration Enforcement Moratorium Act” to halt the administration’s harmful immigration enforcement activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing AILA’s prior calls on DOJ to cease in-person removal proceedings.
On 6/16/20, Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Stefanik (R-NY) introduced the National Security Innovation Pathway Act to establish a process for admitting essential scientists and technical experts into the United States to promote and protect the National Security Innovation Base.
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) announced the “Immigration Enforcement Moratorium Act,” citing AILA’s prior calls on the DOJ to cease in-person removal proceedings during the public health emergency and introducing measures to promote fairness in immigration courts.
On June 1, 2020, Representative Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Coronavirus Containment Act of 2020 to require ICE to ensure that foreign nationals test negative for SARS-CoV-2 before repatriation or removal, and for other purposes.
On 5/12/20, Representative Lowey (D-NY), introduced the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act) (H.R.__) to making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes.
On 5/8/20, Representatives Schneider, Cole, Finkenauer, and Bacon introduced H.R. 6788, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, which seeks to enhance the healthcare workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic by recapturing 40,000 unused immigrant visas for doctors and nurses.
On 4/17/20, Representative Jayapal (D-WA), introduced the Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together Act (FIRST Act) (H.R. 6537) to require the release of most individuals detained by ICE during a national emergency related to a communicable disease.
On 4/30/20, Senator Booker (D-NJ), introduced the Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together Act (S.__) to require the release of most individuals detained by ICE during a national emergency related to a communicable disease.
On 5/5/20, Senators Perdue, Young, Cornyn, Durbin, Coons, and Leahy introduced S. 3599, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, which seeks to enhance the healthcare workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic by recapturing 40,000 unused immigrant visas for doctors and nurses.
On 2/26/20, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced H.R. 5971, the Case Backlog Transparency and Accountability Act of 2020. The bill establishes new USCIS and GAO reporting requirements concerning the status and contributors to USCIS’s case backlog.
The NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214) would repeal several iterations of the travel ban and ensure that no future administration could issue similar bans that would block immigrants from entering the United States based on their religion. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2214 on 7/22/20.
The Access to Counsel Act of 2020 (H.R. 5581) guarantees access to legal counsel for people who are arriving at ports of entry and are subject to secondary or deferred inspection by CBP. The House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed H.R. 5581 on 2/12/20.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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