U.S. House Passes “Dreamer” Legislation
Last Wednesday, the House of Representative passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which would extend legal protections for individuals in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.
Under this legislation, DACA recipients could earn conditional permanent resident status for ten years and void removal proceedings if they came to the U.S. at age 17 or younger and arrived at least four years before the enactment of the original DREAM Act, graduated from high school, have no serious convictions, and pass a background check. They would be eligible for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status if they complete two years at a U.S. higher education institution, serve two years in the military, or be steadily employed. They could also gain access to federal financial aid and professional, commercial and business licenses.
TPS would be granted, and removal proceedings cancelled, if an individual was in the U.S. for three years before the Act’s enactment and had been eligible for TPS status as of September 2016. Additionally, when TPS is terminated, the bill requires a detailed report to be issued describing the qualitative and quantitative methods used to determine if the conditions of the recipient’s home country have improved.
USCIS Reaches Cap for Additional H-2B Visas for FY 2019
On June 7, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced they had received enough petitions to reach the additional maximum 30,000 visas made available for returning workers under the H-2B cap for FY 2019. Last month, the USCIS had agreed to issue up to 30,000 additional H-2B visas for the second half of FY 2019, which runs through September 30, 2019.
According to USCIS, they will reject and return any cap-subject petitions received after June 5, together with any accompanying filing fees.
USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for:
- Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
- Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
- Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from Nov. 28, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2029.
Tax Extenders Update
Members of the Senate and House of Representatives continue to discuss a path forward on tax extenders but progress has been slow. The House Ways and Means Committee is reportedly looking to scale back the list of tax extenders while Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently announced the formation of six bipartisan taskforces to examine the issue further. In February, Senators Grassley and Wyden introduced legislation which would extend the temporary tax provisions that expired at the end of 2017 and 2018 through the end of this year.