Immigration Bills Compared

Highlights of the House and Senate and border security measures


Senate House
Border enforcement
• Authorizes 370 miles of new triple-layer fencing plus 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
• Authorizes hiring an additional 1,000 Border Patrol agents this year, for a total of 3,000 more agents this year.
• Authorizes an additional 14,000 Border Patrol agents by 2011 to the current force of 11,300 agents.
• Authorizes additional detention facilities for apprehended illegal immigrants.
• Limits National Guard tours of duty on the U.S.-Mexico border to 21 days.
Border enforcement
• Requires building double-layer fencing along 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border between Mexico and the United States.
• Requires mandatory detention for all non-Mexican illegal immigrants arrested at ports of entry or at land and sea borders.
• Establishes mandatory sentences for smuggling illegal immigrants and for re-entering the United States illegally after deportation.
Policy affecting those interacting with immigrants
• Requires employers and subcontractors to use within 18 months an electronic system to verify that new hires are legal. Increases the maximum fine on employers for hiring illegal workers to $20,000 for each worker and imposes jail time for repeat offenders.
• Declares English the country's national language.
Policy affecting those interacting with immigrants
• Makes it a felony to assist, encourage, direct or induce a person to enter or attempt to enter or remain in the United States illegally.
• Beginning in six years, all employers would have to use a database to verify the Social Security numbers of all employees.
• Increases the maximum fine for employers of illegal workers from the current $10,000 to $40,000 per violation; establishes prison sentences of up to 30 years for repeat offenders.
Policy affecting immigrants
• Allows illegal immigrants who have been in the country five years or more to remain, continue working, and eventually become legal permanent residents and citizens after paying at least $3,250 in fines and fees, paying back taxes, and learning English.
• Requires illegal immigrants in the United States between two and five years to go to a point of entry at the border and file an application to return.
• Requires those in the country less than two years to leave.
• Illegal immigrants convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors would be deported no matter how long they have been in the United States.
• Creates a special guest-worker program for an estimated 1.5 million immigrant farm workers, who could also earn legal permanent residency.
• Increases the number of H1-B visas for skilled workers from 65,000 to 115,000 annually, beginning in 2007. Immigrants with certain advanced degrees would not be subject to the caps, which could rise by 20 percent depending on labor market demands.
• Provides 200,000 new temporary guest-worker visas a year.
Policy affecting immigrants
• Makes illegal presence in the country a felony and increases penalties for first-time illegal entry to the United States.
• Makes a drunken driving conviction a deportable offense.

The Washington Post


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