Immigration Enforcement: Major Provisions in H.R. 2278, the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (SAFE Act) [August 20, 2013]   [open pdf - 492KB]

"Reforming the nation's immigration laws has been the subject of significant legislative activity in the 113th Congress. In June, the Senate passed an omnibus immigration bill (S. 744) that addresses a broad array of issues, including immigration enforcement and border security, verification of aliens' employment eligibility, the temporary and permanent admission of foreign nationals into the country, and the creation of mechanisms for some unauthorized aliens to acquire legal status. The House, in contrast, has focused legislative activity on a number of standalone bills that would reform specific aspects of immigration law. The House Judiciary Committee has ordered several of these bills to be reported, including proposals that focus on strengthening immigration control and enforcement. […] The SAFE Act generally imposes more significant penalties for immigration-related violations and more stringent requirements relating to the detention and removal of aliens than the Senate-passed bill. Perhaps most significantly, the SAFE Act would make an alien's knowing unauthorized presence a criminal offense, whereas the Senate bill would not make unlawful presence a crime. In fact, the Senate bill would establish procedures whereby some of the current unauthorized population could potentially acquire legal status, while neither the SAFE Act nor the other bills ordered to be reported by the House Judiciary Committee, to date, make similar provisions for legalization. The SAFE Act more closely resembles the last comprehensive immigration enforcement legislation passed by the House, H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (109th Congress), though it differs from the earlier legislation on many specific matters. This report discusses the SAFE Act, as reported out of the House Judiciary Committee. For discussion of other immigration reform proposals in the 113th Congress and prior Congresses, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report CRS Report R43097, Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress: Major Provisions in Senate-Passed S. 744, by Marc R. Rosenblum and Ruth Ellen Wasem, and CRS Report R42980, Brief History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Efforts in the 109th and 110th Congresses to Inform Policy Discussions in the 113th Congress, by Ruth Ellen Wasem."

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CRS Report for Congress, R43192
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