This afternoon, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill, H.R. 15, known as the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” Nearly identical to the immigration bill that passed the Senate in June, this bill similarly aims to address issues related to border security, immigrant and non-immigrant visas, interior enforcement, and more. Sponsors Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-TX), and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).
Like S. 744, the House legislation would implement much-needed reforms to the refugee and asylum systems, such as the repeal of the one-year filing deadline that causes excessive hardship for asylum seekers and the elimination of provisions that separate asylees and refugees from close family members. The bill would extend and improve the Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa programs, allowing individuals who face danger as a result of their work for the American government to continue to seek safety in the United States. H.R. 15 additionally includes provisions that would allow certain refugee children to join their parents in the United States and remedy gaps in current law that can permanently separate families.
One notable difference between this legislation and the Senate bill is the substitution of border security provisions from Rep. Michael McCaul’s (R-TX) bipartisan Border Security Results Act of 2013 in place of the Senate-passed Corker-Hoeven Amendment.