May 25, 2006(Key vote)
Title: Immigration Reform Bill
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that increases border security and enforcement laws, establishes criteria for U.S. citizenship, and provides financial assistance programs for areas of immigration.
Provides funds to increase the number of port-of-entry inspectors, Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators, and border patrol agents (Sec. 101).
Allocates funds for a "virtual fence" along the southern U.S. border and for vehicle barriers on the Tucson and Yuma, Arizona, borders (Secs. 102, 106).
Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a surveillance and strategy plan in order to observe and secure U.S. land and maritime borders (Secs. 111, 112).
Calls upon the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to develop a visa policy and an information exchange plan to track individual immigrants who enter each country (Sec. 113).
Provides financial assistance for tribal, state, and local law enforcement within 100 miles of the US border with Canada or Mexico or in high impact areas (Sec. 153).
Includes interior enforcement provisions against undocumented immigrants thought to be involved in gang-related crimes, terrorism, fraud, immigrant smuggling, sexually offensive crimes, or who were denied entry by other countries (Secs. 201-205).
Establishes criminal penalties for immigrants who illegally enter or are present in the U.S., those who employ undocumented immigrants, and those who participate in undocumented immigrant harboring or smuggling (Sec. 274, 275).
Requires the Electronic Employment Verification System to be implemented and used by employers to ensure that undocumented immigrants are not employed and makes it illegal to hire or continue to employ undocumented immigrants (Sec. 274).
Creates a guest worker program (H-2C visa program) allowing no more than 200,000 immigrants annually to enter the U.S. and fill vacant jobs for a three-year admission period with the possibility of a three-year extension granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security after proof of employment and proof that the job can not be filled by an American (Sec. 403).
Exempts widows, orphans, minor children, spouses, and students with advance degrees from the annual cap of 480,000 for family sponsored immigrant visas (Secs. 501, 504, 506, 507).
Allows immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for the past five years to be eligible for U.S. citizenship as long as they pass a background check, pay all back taxes and fines, maintain a job for six additional years, learn English, and pay a fine (Sec. 601).
Requires any immigrant who has lived and worked in the U.S. for two years to register with the Homeland Department and must then leave the country three years after registration in order to apply for a visa and pass a background check (Sec. 601).
Establishes the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2006, which allows immigrants to receive permanent resident status through the Blue Card Program if they prove agricultural employment in the U.S. for two years prior to December 31, 2005 (Sec. 613).