Wenstrup Statement on House Immigration Legislation

Press Release

Date: June 27, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) released the following statement after H.R. 6136 The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act failed to pass the House:

"Our border security is directly tied to national security. Congress can no longer sit idly by as our border has become a hub for terrorists and drug and human trafficking, all while our current immigration system punishes those who follow the legal process to enter our nation.

"I supported this legislation because it would have solved so many problems facing our nation. It enhances our border security, and promotes a legal immigration system similar to that of our forefathers. It focuses on naturalization and merit, not amnesty. While I am disappointed that The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act did not pass the House, I am encouraged that President Trump supported this legislation and remain committed to finding a legislative solution to fix the problems with our immigration system and national safety," said Congressman Brad Wenstrup.

About H.R. 6136:

Border Authorization and Funding

Provides advanced appropriations of the President's $25 billion request, including funding for the wall, border technology, and border access roads and mobility
Authorizes use of the National Guard along the southern border to construct physical barriers and provide other support on the border
Closing Enforcement Loopholes and Ending Catch and Release

Provides equal treatment of all unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border by ensuring the safe and expeditious return to their home country of children from both contiguous and noncontiguous countries (unless the child has a legitimate asylum claim)
Clarifies the Flores Settlement by ensuring accompanied alien minors apprehended at the border must not be separated from their parent or legal guardian while in DHS custody
Ensures that dangerous criminal aliens who are subject to final orders of removal remain in detention until they are physically removed from the United States
Ensures that alien gang members, alien gang associates, and aliens who participate in gang-related activities can be detained and removed by DHS
Legal Immigration Reforms

Eliminates the diversity visa lottery and reallocates 55,000 visas to a merit-based green card program
Eliminates family preference categories for married children and siblings of adult U.S. citizens, and instead prioritizes merit and employment-based visas.
Shifts to a "First-In-Line" Visa System by eliminating the existing, arbitrary per-country percentage caps that have caused backlogs in the employment-based green card system.

Permits the DACA population to apply for a 6-year indefinitely renewable contingent nonimmigrant legal status
Eligibility Requirements:
Entry prior to June 15, 2007 and continuous presence since that date
Under 16 years of age at time of entry into the United States
Under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012
Enrolled in an educational institute in the U.S. or has acquired a high school diploma or GED
Applicants are not disqualified for a minor criminal conviction or traffic violations.
Applicants are disqualified for certain convictions, including felonies, federal aggravated felonies, violent misdemeanors, one or more misdemeanor DUIs, two or more misdemeanor convictions, and certain juvenile adjudications.
New Merit-Based Visa Program

Children of E1, E2, H1B, 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
Any individual granted a "contingent non-immigrant status" due to DACA eligibility
Visa Allocation - the following visas will be stored in escrow annually for the five years following enactment:
55,000 green cards from the diversity visa lottery and
23,400 green cards from the F-3 family based immigration category
Visa Availability - beginning in the sixth year of the program, the first green cards would be awarded under the new program only if the advanced appropriated funds for border security for that fiscal year have been made available for obligation, have not been transferred or reprogrammed for other non-border security purposes, and have not been rescinded
Each year, the green cards will be awarded by selecting one candidate with the most points in each of the four categories (E, H1B, L, and "contingent non-immigrant status")
The process will repeat, selecting a candidate from each category, if one is eligible, until all the available green cards for that year are allocated or until no eligible applicants remain
Unused green cards will roll over to the next year and new green cards become available at a steady rate of 78,400 per year until all the applications are processed and all approved applicants have received green cards
When no eligible applicants remain the 78,400 green cards made available annually for this program will be eliminated and not reallocated
Prioritization of Green Cards
The new program will establish a point system through which applicants can garner prioritization based on qualifications such as education level, English language proficiency, military service and continuous employment
Individuals would earn more points for achieving higher levels of education
The program will establish a threshold number of points that will be required for eligibility, but applicants will have the opportunity under this program to earn the necessary points to meet the threshold in future years