It’s almost the end of June and here we are with another edition of Policy Watch! Congress lately has been once more busy with immigration, so we’re going to take a quick look at those to help keep you informed. Before that, in an update from our last edition of Policy Watch, The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act was signed into law June 18, 2018.
Recently there have been two high profile bills being considered in the House of Representatives. We’re going to dive into them today, so feel free to share your thoughts!
First up is Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia’s “Securing America’s Future Act.” We’ve covered the Goodlatte bill previously, which has lingered in committee since January as Republican leadership prepared for a vote.
The bill is primarily a complete overhaul of America’s immigration system, which includes reducing annual levels of legal immigration, end the diversity visa lottery, restrict family immigration sponsorship, and mandate an e-verify
system for employers.
The Goodlatte bill was brought to a vote June 21, 2018 and failed to pass 193-231. While some bills are known to come back from the dead (as we’ll see later,) it’s unlikely that Congress will revisit this particular bill, especially after President Trump’s remarks that Republicans “shouldn’t waste their time” with immigration reform until after the midterms.
House Republicans are looking to give immigration reform one more shot though. During congressional debate, two bills were proposed: The Goodlatte bill described above, and the “compromise bill,” a more moderate bill that was crafted to supposedly appeal to both Republicans and Democrats. The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act is said “compromise bill.”
Details on HR 6316 are still sparse and have changed numerous times, but the latest version includes a requirement for employers to electronically check the immigration status of workers, known as E-Verify, as well as an overhaul of the guest worker program that allows businesses, especially in construction, agriculture and service industries, to hire foreigners. It also sets aside funds for a “border wall system” and gives legal status to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and allows for a pathway to citizenship.
The bill was voted on in the House June 27, and failed to pass 300-121. It is unlikely that the bill will be brought forth again.
More commonly known as the “Farm bill,” the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 was introduced in April by Representative Michael Conaway of Texas. The general content of the bill is relatively innocuous, but a controversial aspect was the addition of changes to the SNAP system, more commonly known as food stamps. The changes would mandate stricter work requirements that could cut food stamps to millions of Americans.
The House of Representatives passed the Farm bill June 21 by a narrow margin, but it is unlikely what the future of the bill will be, as the Senate is currently considering a similar bill without the cuts to the SNAP program.
Have a bill in Congress or in your state you’d like us to highlight? Comment or send us a message!