[Excerpt] The Speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader of the 111th Congress pledged to take up comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the most controversial piece of which concerns unauthorized aliens in the United States. Although the 111th Congress did not take up a comprehensive immigration bill, it did consider a narrower DREAM Act proposal to legalize the status of certain unauthorized alien students. On December 8, 2010, the House approved a version of the DREAM Act as an amendment to an unrelated bill, the Removal Clarification Act of 2010 (H.R. 5281). A cloture motion in the Senate to agree to the House DREAM Act amendment failed on a 55-41 vote on December 18, 2010.
The 111th Congress also considered other immigration issues and enacted a number of targeted immigration provisions. It passed legislation (P.L. 111-8, P.L. 111-9, P.L. 111-68, P.L. 111-83) to extend the life of several immigration programs—the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system, the Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, the Conrad State J-1 Waiver Program, and the special immigrant visa for religious workers—until September 30, 2012. Among the other subjects of legislation enacted by the 111th Congress were border security (P.L. 111-5, P.L. 111-32, P.L. 111-83, P.L. 111-230, P.L. 111-281, P.L. 111-376), refugees (P.L. 111-8, P.L. 111-117), and Haitian migrants (P.L. 111-212, P.L. 111-293).
This report discusses these and other immigration-related issues that have received legislative action or are of significant congressional interest. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations are addressed in CRS Report R40642, Homeland Security Department: FY2010 Appropriations, and, for the most part, are not covered here.