[Excerpt] The Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader have pledged to take up comprehensive immigration reform legislation at some point in the 111th Congress. Efforts to enact broad immigration reform in the 109th and 110th Congresses were unsuccessful. It is unclear what the components of any immigration reform proposals that the 111th Congress may consider will be. In the past, comprehensive bills have addressed border security, enforcement of immigration laws within the United States (interior enforcement), employment eligibility verification, temporary worker programs, permanent admissions and, most controversially, unauthorized aliens in the United States.
The 111th Congress has considered various immigration issues and has enacted a number of targeted immigration provisions. It has passed legislation (P.L. 111-8, P.L. 111-9, P.L. 111-68) 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—all of which are currently authorized until October 31, 2009. With respect to these programs, the House-passed and Senate-passed versions of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2892), include different provisions to further extend E-Verify. The Senate-passed bill also would extend the other three programs. Among the other subjects of legislation enacted by this Congress are refugees (P.L. 111-8) and border security (P.L. 111-5, P.L. 111-32).
This report discusses these and other immigration-related issues that have seen 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. This report will be updated as legislative developments occur.