House Republicans have passed a bill to suspend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program established by the Obama administration in 2012 that protects from deportation certain undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children and allows individuals to obtain employment authorization documents if certain conditions are met.  House Republicans also passed a bill that would provide funding to address the immigration situation at the United States-Mexico border.

House Republicans contend DACA is among the causes, if not the chief cause, of the crisis at the border, arguing DACA encourages families to send their children to the United States expecting that they will not be deported and will have an opportunity to remain in the U.S.  The bill would defund DACA and discontinue the issuance of work permits to such workers, eliminating the attraction for children from countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.  House Democrats opposed the bill, arguing the approximately 600,000 individuals with DACA status and employment authorization documents would be returned to the stigmatized status of undocumented immigrants.  As the crisis on the border has received more attention, the intent and impact of DACA have become more controversial, with Republicans seeking to eliminate the program and Democrats seeking to protect it.

The chamber also passed legislation providing funding to address the growing border crisis. The measure would appropriate just under $700 million, a dramatically lower figure than that the White House requested, which had sought approximately $3.7 billion to be directed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Justice, the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.  House Democrats uniformly opposed their Republican counterparts’ funding bill, arguing that it is insufficient to address the serious humanitarian issues triggered by the border situation.

Although the twin bills passed before Congress took its August recess have little chance of passing the Democratic-led Senate, they represent a clear message from House Republicans as they left Washington for home to visit with constituents and in advance of what many observers expect will be executive action on immigration before the 2014 midterm elections.  The House Republicans’ emphasis remains on border security and they clearly have no interest in adopting the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed earlier in the year by the Senate and favored by their House Democratic colleagues and President Obama.

Although there may not be immigration legislation that passes both chambers in 2014, it appears clear that immigration issues will likely not fade from the national view, and will continue to occupy a prominent position among pro- and anti-immigration reform groups, not to mention in news cycles, in the lead-up to midterm elections.

 

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.