"Despite President Obama's calls for a national conversation on immigration reform, immigration has not been a front-burner issue for the 112th Congress. Unlike in some past years, there has been little discussion in this Congress of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which typically has encompassed border security, employment eligibility verification, temporary worker programs, permanent admissions, and unauthorized aliens, among other issues. The 112th Congress has, however, taken legislative action on some immigration-related measures. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-74) contains provisions on border security, visa security, tourist visas, refugees, and other immigration issues. Legislation has also been enacted on military service-based immigration benefits (P.L. 112-58), border tunnels (P.L. 112- 127), and E-2 treaty investor visas (P.L. 112-130). In addition, the House and Senate have each passed other immigration-related legislation. Both houses have passed different bills (H.R. 4970, S. 1925) to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The House has passed, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has reported, legislation (H.R. 915) that would provide statutory authority for the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) initiative. The House has passed bills that would reform permanent employment-based and family-based admissions (H.R. 3012) and to reauthorize the H-1C temporary worker category for nurses (H.R. 1933). It also has passed legislation on border security at and between ports of entry (H.R. 1299) and student visa reform (H.R. 3120). The Senate has passed a bill (S. 3245) that would extend the authorization for four immigration programs for three years, until September 30, 2015. The four programs are (1) the EB-5 visa program for immigrant investors, (2) the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification program, (3) the special immigrant religious worker program, and (4) the Conrad State J-1 visa waiver program for foreign medical graduates. The Senate FY2013 DHS Appropriations bill (S. 3216), as reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee, would likewise extend these four programs until September 30, 2015."
CRS Report for Congress, R42036