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Key Takeaways From the House's 'Compromise' Immigration Bill

The Republican proposal would end family separation at the border.
Activists rally outside the New York office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) on January 10th, 2018, in New York City.

Activists rally outside the New York office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) on January 10th, 2018, in New York City. 

The United States House of Representatives is moving closer to voting on two bills—one very conservative and the other a conservative "compromise"—that would make sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy.

News of the upcoming vote on both bills came shortly after the Trump administration announced its plan to detain unaccompanied migrant children in "tent cities" on military bases in Texas.

The more conservative bill, introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), is the "Secure America's Future Act." The bill makes deep cuts to legal immigration, boosts interior enforcement, and only gives temporary status to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, known as Dreamers.

It's not expected to make it far in the House of Representatives, so some moderate Republicans proposed a "compromise": the new "Border Security and Immigration Reform Act." The nearly 300-page bill takes a hardline stance on building a southern border wall, but also attempts to appease more moderate lawmakers. Here are some highlights.

  • The bill breaks from the Trump administration's new policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border. It states that accompanied migrant children apprehended at the border must not be separated from their parent or family while they remain in custody of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • The proposal would provide a six-year renewable status to Dreamers, protecting anyone brought to the country illegally as a child before 2007. Trump has continually pushed to end DACA, but the program is a selling point for many Democrats.
  • In total, the bill includes funding that fulfills President Donald Trump's $25 billion request for border security. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will receive $16.6 billion of those funds for a border wall including "physical barriers and associated detection technology, roads, and lighting."
  • However, the bill also contains a provision that the government can cancel DACA visas if the wall funding is rescinded.
  • The compromise would eliminate some family-based immigration categories, including siblings or married children of U.S. citizens. It also eliminates the diversity visa lottery program.