On October 2, 2013, members of the Democratic Political Party in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R. 15, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”. H.R. 15 is a comprehensive immigration reform bill mirrored after the U.S. Senate’s immigration reform bill S. 744, which passed the U.S. Senate in June with a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32.
House Democrats’ immigration bill is essentially the same as the Senate’s bill. It has the same name and many of the same provisions as the Senate bill, including providing legal status and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, making changes to the current immigration system, creating new visa categories and requiring employers to use E-Verify.
The main difference in the House Democrats’ bill relates to the issue of border security. The House Democrats’ bill removes the Corker-Hoeven border security amendment, also known as the “border surge” amendment. The border surge amendment included requirements to increase the number of federal border agents and build a 700 mile fence along the southern border. In the House Democrats’ bill, the border surge amendment is replaced with Rep. Michael McCaul’s Border Security Results Act, H.R. 1417, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a comprehensive strategy plan to gain and maintain operational control of the country’s international borders.
House Democrats are hopeful that introducing this bill will allow the U.S. House of Representatives to move forward with developing and passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation.