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Chaffetz Introduces Common-Sense Immigration Reforms

“The legal immigration system is broken”

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Washington, Jan 10, 2017 | comments
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced a series of immigration reform bills to fix the legal immigration process and remove incentives for people to come to the United States illegally.

“The legal immigration system is broken. When we penalize people for coming here legally, but reward those who abuse the system, we tacitly encourage more illegal immigration. These reforms take important steps to fix our broken legal process and minimize abuse of our generous asylum program. Simple reforms can have a big impact on national security and job creation,” Chaffetz said.

H.R. 391, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, tightens the “credible fear” standard asylum seekers must meet. Under the existing system, anyone caught illegally crossing the border can simply claim a credible fear of persecution, knowing their claim will not be adjudicated for several years. Meanwhile, they receive a work permit and access to welfare benefits - opportunities unavailable to those trying to immigrate legally. With a low standard to meet, 92% of credible fear claims – a threshold basis were asylum - were granted in 2013. Even when evidence suggests asylum claims are fraudulent, a GAO study found the Obama Administration still granted asylum.

This bill was originally introduced as H.R. 1153 in the 114th Congress and was passed through the Judiciary Committee with a 21-12 vote.

H.R. 392, Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act replaces the current per-country caps on immigration with a first-come first-served visa system without increasing the total number of available visas. The current system of awarding no more than 7% of available employment-based visas to one country is discriminatory. It ultimately imposes decades-long wait times for people from some countries, creating a backlog of qualified workers. The bill makes no changes to the current law limiting US employers to hire foreign workers except when there are no qualified, willing, able, and available American citizens.

An identical version of this bill (H.R. 3012) passed the House during the 112th Congress with a bipartisan vote of 389 to 15. Subsequent versions of the bill were introduced in the 113th (HR 633) and 114th (HR 213) Congresses but did not receive a vote.

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