NDN Blog

NDN's Take on Senate Border/Immigration Bill After First Day of Judiciary Committee Markup

From NDN’s Kristian Ramos:

“After the first day of Senate Judiciary Mark-Up, it is clear the Senate Immigration Bill (S.744) retains significant bipartisan momentum.   Some smart amendments were added to the bill, but more importantly bad ones were rejected.   The thoughtful bipartisan core of the bill remains intact.  The adept management of this early stage of the Committee process leaves us optimistic about the bill’s passage.  Some additional observations:

The Grassley amendment Extending the Higher Border Apprehension Goals To The Whole Border – The Gang of Eight Bill called for new border security targets of 100% surveillance and 90% apprehension rate of people attempting to cross the border in what are called “high traffic” corridors where most of the north-bound flow lies.   Senator Chuck Grassley’s amendment #1 adopted yesterday extended that goal to the entire border.  

It remains to be seen if this is a good idea.   The original target appears achievable with the amount of money allocated, the time required (5 years) to achieve these goals, and taking into account where these apprehension rates are today.   A December report from the Government Accountability Office reported that of the Border Patrol’s nine southwest-border sectors, five had more than 30,000 apprehensions in fiscal 2011, making them a “high traffic” corridor.  Of these five, San Diego, CA had a 92% apprehension rate, El Centro, CA 91%, Tucson, AZ 87%, Laredo, TX 84 % and the Rio Grande corridor in Texas was 71%.

Given where things stand now, it seems reasonable that with the time allotted and additional resources the 5 high traffic corridors, where the overwhelming majority of the north bound flow lies, can hit the new 90% apprehension rate target.  Whether it is prudent to extend that goal to areas where far fewer migrants pass, and in places that are often remote and difficult to police, is something that deserves debate in the coming months. 

The Feinstein Infrastructure amendment - We were further heartened to see that Senator Diane Feinstein’s amendment #10, was adopted. This important amendment would allow the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the governors of the States in the Southwest border region and the Northern border region to establish a grant program “to construct transportation and support infrastructure improvements at existing and new international border crossings necessary to facilitate safe, secure, and efficient cross border movement of people, motor vehicles, and cargo.”

Coupled with the far-sighted commitment in the Senate Bill to add an additional 3,500 new customs agents, the improved legislation makes a truly significant commitment to investing in expanding legal trade and travel with Mexico.  As our new paper, Realizing the Strategic National Value of our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico details, the economic relationship between the US and Mexico has become one of the most important in the world.  In just the past 4 years, trade between US and Mexico has grown from $300 billion to $536 billion last year.  Mexico is now our 3rd largest trading partner, 2nd largest export market.  23 states in the US count Mexico as their number 1 or 2 export market of all the countries in the world.  The smart investments in this bill directed towards border infrastructure investment will help ensure that this explosive trade relationship continues to expand, and jobs on both sides of the border continue to be created.   

Bad Amendments Rejected, A Few More Good Ones Get Through –  Thankfully Senator John Cornyn’s amendment #1 and Ted Cruz’s amendment #1 calling for significant increases in US Border Patrol, and  gratuitous new border triggers, were rejected.  

Another positive note was the Committee's acceptance of Senator Chuck Grassley amendment #2 and Senator Jeff Flake’s amendment #2, each of which added greater oversight and accountability to the border provisions of the legislation. Finally, Senator Cornyn ‘s Amendment #6 enhances data collection and increases penalties on human trafficking.

New Report: "Realizing the Strategic National Value of our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico"

President Obama’s recent trip to Mexico emphasized the growing economic relationship between our two countries. In this spirit NDN and NPI's 21st Century Border Initiative is proud to release a new report, "Realizing the Strategic National Value of our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico." This new report will build on two previous papers produced with NPI by ASU's Erik Lee, "Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade With Mexico" and "Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to The United States."

As the report states: “Trade between Mexico and the United States is among one of the great untold success stories of the last four years. Key policies and investment in infrastructure can either help or hinder the enormous economic exchange between our countries. The current negotiations in Congress on comprehensive immigration reform offer a key window of opportunity to expand our ability to facilitate legitimate trade and tourism with Mexico and grow our economy in the process.” Below please find some key statistics featured in the report:

  • Six million U.S. jobs depend on our trade with Mexico. Trade relationship is critically important to our economic activity.  Bilateral trade is estimated to have reached $535.9 billion in 2012, nearly double the amount of trade since the President took office.
  • Mexico is on the rise, economic growth integral to Americas Economy. Mexico has a $1.76 trillion dollar economy, the twelfth largest in the world (measured by GDP purchasing power parity)
  • Investment in Infrastructure is Key.  Twenty-three states have Mexico as their number one or number two trading partner, multiplying jobs in both countries. Forty-seven U.S.-Mexico land ports of entry facilitate several hundreds of billions dollars in U.S.-Mexico trade every year

At an event announcing the report’s release NDN President Simon Rosenberg stated: "Our report shines a light on one of the most important economic stories of the last decade, one more American policy makers need to pay attention to - the rise of the Mexican economy, and the exploding trade relationship between Mexico and the United States.  Our report finds that trade between the US and Mexico was a staggering $536 billion last year up from $300 billion just 4 years ago.  These extraordinary results, validating the hemispheric ambition of NAFTA, have turned the US-Mexican economic relationship into one of the largest, and most important, in the world today."

Congressman Filemon Vela, (TX-34) said:  "The State of Texas has a 1,254-mile long border with Mexico. Texas’ multiple border crossings makes it the largest port-of-entry for goods traveling from Mexico into the United States as well as goods heading south from the US into Mexican markets. The Estimated Value if this trade for Texas is $285 Million,  which creates 3,037 jobs in Texas,  45% of imported produce comes through Texas and over last 15 years, imports have tripled in volume with 100K of the 160K loads of fresh and frozen produce that came through a single bridge in Hidalgo County I represent but not in my district. Trade with Mexico is critically important to both the United States and Texas. We hope to see it continue to increase in the future."

Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, AZ said: "As the Mayor of a city impacted by the state of Mexican-American relations, I have gone to great lengths to lay out a vision for an ever more productive and cooperative relationship with our neighbors to the South.  Truly, our relationship with Mexico is a symbiotic relationship with the potential to yield vast dividends, both financially and culturally.  Trade with Mexico generates jobs for Tucson in exports, logistics, supply chain management, tourism, scientific, technical and professional expertise- but in order for Tucson to be a hub for international trade, we need the right infrastructure at the border.  Throughout our nation's history, we have always thrived when engendering the best ideals of a diverse and complex country. In 2013, with new and emerging demographics, this ethic has never been more important."

Erik Lee, associate Director at Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) and writer of this report noted: "US-Mexico bilateral trade hit $535.9 billion in 2012 and is an economic force that all of us need to appreciate and understand better. President Obama’s extensive references to this enormous economic relationship last week essentially confirmed what we have known for years: the U.S.-Mexico relationship is essentially a commercial relationship, rather a security-based relationship.. We have a window of opportunity to increase this economic bonanza that includes key legislation (including immigration reform), new trade agreements and important pending infrastructure investments to facilitate trade and tourism. If we can get this done, we can set the stage for tremendous future shared prosperity."

For background on the event be sure to read Simon’s recent Huffington Post Op-ed, “The Border is Safer, Our Immigration System is Better;” Kristian's recent NBC Latino Op-Ed "Want to make the border safer? Pass common sense gun violence legislation;" see our round-up of our most important work on these issues; read some of our key reports, "Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade With Mexico" and "Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to The United States." Also, stay in touch with us via our website 21border.com. 

Today: Wed, May 8th - NPI to Release New Paper on US/Mexico Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry

Please join NDN and NPI's 21st Century Border Initiative for a special event where we will release a new report, "Realizing the Strategic National Value of our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico."  

The event is timed to provide perspective on President Obama’s visit to Mexico this week, and on the current debate about the border and immigration here in the United States.   Joining us for the release will is a terrific group of experts and elected officials to discuss the contents of the report:

Filemon Vela, Congressman (TX-34), whose district lies along the border and is co-chair of the House Border Caucus

Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, AZ

Erik Lee, Associate Director at Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS)

The discussion will take place at NDN's event space, just a block from the White House, at 729 15th Street, NW, Washington. We'll serve lunch at noon, and the program will begin promptly at 12:15, ending at 1:30pm. In case you cannot join us in person, we will also be streaming the event online

This new report will build on two previous papers produced by ASU’s Erik Lee, "Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade With Mexico" and "Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to The United States." 

Please RSVP here and we look forward to seeing you on May 8th!

NDN Backgrounder for the President's Trip to Mexico

NDN and its affiliate, the New Policy Institute (NPI), have been long-time thought leaders on the policy and politics of immigration reform and US-Mexico relations. Ahead of the President’s trip to Mexico Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN and NPI recently met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.  Be sure to check out some of the work we have done in this space: 


April -Event Mexican Ambassador Medina Mora Talks US-Mexico, Border, Immigration Reform: With the President announcing a May trip to Mexico, members of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” taking a constructive trip to the border, and the Senate set to announce their bi-partisan immigration legislation, please take a moment to watch our timely event on U.S.- Mexico relations, our southwest border and immigration.

April - Web Briefing: Understanding Modern Mexico - To take a deeper look at how Mexico is modernizing and growing, NPI Policy Direcotor of the 21st Century Border Initiative hosted a live web video briefing, with former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan and noted Mexican economist and author, Jorge Suarez-Velez.  Two recent articles by Tom Friedman about the growth and progress Mexico has seen over the past generation has sparked a vibrant bi-national debate, which our discussion will reference and expand upon. To watch the full video click here.

April – Web Briefing "Immigration Reform: How The Landscape Has Changed Since the House Last Voted in 2005 – Our Border Is Safer, Our Immigration System Is Better and Mexico Is Modernizing and Growing." - Simon delivers his new presentation on how the immigration debate has changed since 2005. This original work tells how immigration, the safety along the border, and the complex economic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico have improved since 2004. The fifteen to twenty minute presentation wasl followed by an extended Q&A session. To see the powerpoint please click here.

April - Kristian Publishes Op-ed on Gun Legislation and Immigration Reform - Kristian weighs in on how sensible solutions to reduce gun violence could help build on the progress in recent years in make the US-Mexican border even safer. Bottom line - more must be done to stop the illegal gun flow into Mexico. To read the full op-ed please click here.

March - Simon Speaks At Trilateral Border Issues Symposium At Arizona State University Simon Rosenberg will be speaking at the Tri Lateral Border Issues Conference at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona. With the recent issuance by the Department of Homeland Security of the Northern Border Strategy a number of border issues have been framed that this symposium will examine in the context of Canada-United States-Mexico trade and security. To read more about his speech please click here.

March - NDN Backgrounder: How The Immigration Reform Landscape Has Changed Since 2005: Simon recently briefed the House New Democrat Coalition, a group of 51 Members of Congress, on immigration reform and border issues. I wanted to share with you the Power Point we developed for the briefing. If you are interested in learning more about some of the issues at the heart of our current immigration debate this is a great place to start. To see the powerpoint please click here.

March -Kristian's Op-Ed Published in the Huffington Post: Kristian Ramos, Policy Director of the 21st Century Border Initiative wrote an op-ed titled: The Reality of Our Safer Border Makes Immigration Reform Possible, in which he describes how the progress made at our southwest border coupled with Mexicos remarkable transformation makes the prospects of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship much brighter. Kristian's full op-ed can be read here.

February - NDN Statement on House Border Caucus Letter to White House: NDN and the New Policy Institute released the following statement applauding a letter from the House Border Caucus Chairmen Reps. Grijalva and Vela letter to the President. The letter outlines three critical priorities for the US-Mexico border region: more customs agents to increase legal trade and tourism while aiding in critical enforcement needs; more investment in border infrastructure to modernize our aging port system in particular; and better Federal management of the complex economic and security opportunities and challenges of the region. To read the Mayor of Las Cruces letter to the White House please click here.

February - Simon's Op-Ed Published in the Huffington Post: NDN President Simon Rosenberg wrote an op-ed titled "The Immigration System is Better, the Border is Safer, But More To Do," in which he describes today's novel immigration landscape and the steps that we must take as a nation to institute effective, lasting immigration reform. Simon's full piece can be found here.

January - Simon Talks Immigration Reform on PBS NewsHour: In an extended interview with Christina Bellantoni of PBS NewsHour, Simon offered his thoughts on immigration reform. Simon discusses our improved border security apparatus and advances in interior enforcement, and emphasizes the need to account for our changing economic dynamic in crafting new immigration legislation. A recording of Simon's interview can be found here.

January - NDN Event “Perspectives from the US-Mexico Border Region,” NDN/New Policy Institute hosted another salient event,  which focused on opportunities and challenges unique to our shared border. Simon moderated the discussion between Mayors Greg Stanton of Phoenix, Raul Salinas of Laredo, Ken Miyagishima of Las Cruces, and Eduardo Olmos of Torreon, Mexico. C-SPAN’s live recording of the event can be found here.


March 2012 -Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States: The New Policy Institute and ASU published a seminal report, which argues that increasing tourism from Mexico should be a major priority for our new national tourism strategy. Please read the full report here.

December 2011 Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade with Mexico: This New Policy Institute paper, researched by The North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) at Arizona State University, explores the important and growing economic relationship between the United States and Mexico.  Among the paper’s more interesting findings is that, remarkably, 22 states now count Mexico as their first or second largest export market, including our two biggest states, California and Texas. Please read the full report here.

Border Bulletin- Immigration Bill is Tougher on Crossings, Sierra Club backs immigration reform , More

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Wall Street Journal – Immigration Bill is Tougher on Crossings - The Senate immigration bill introduced last week calls for tripling the number of criminal prosecutions of migrants who illegally enter the U.S. along the busiest border area, but the court that handles cases there already has an overloaded docket and a chronic shortage of resources. Before 2005, migrants apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol were returned to their country or processed through civil immigration courts. As part of George W. Bush’s strategy to get tough on border policy, he launched a program dubbed Operation Streamline mandating that those arrested for unlawful entry would be prosecuted in criminal court and, if convicted, face a prison sentence.

Politico – Sierra Club backs immigration reform - Immigration reform supporters have a new ally — the environmental lobby. The Sierra Club’s board voted Wednesday to support comprehensive immigration reform, POLITICO has learned. The backing from the nation’s oldest environmental group is a major shift that could help immigration reform supporters gain momentum as they try to push the measure through the Senate. It is another sign that some of the historical opponents to overhauling the country’s immigration laws, like evangelicals, are switching sides in this controversial debate.

ABC News – Schumer and Mccain See Huge Majority for Immigration Bill - Two drafters of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill believe they can achieve the impossible in today’s fractious Congress: convince majorities of both Republicans and Democrats in the upper chamber to support the proposal. “Maybe this is hopeful, but it would be wonderful if we could get a majority on both sides,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), a leading Democrat in the “Gang of Eight,” told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think it’s very doable,” added Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), a top Republican in the “Gang.”

Open Position – 21st Century Border Initiative Policy Associate (Temporary)

Open Position – 21st Century Border Initiative Policy Associate (Temporary)

In April of 2010 the governments of Mexico and the United States issued a Declaration of the 21st Century Border. This declaration stated an understanding that: “a joint and collaborative administration of their common border is critical to transforming management of the border to enhance security and efficiency.’’

With immigration reform before Congress, the border, security and our bi-lateral relationship with Mexico is central to the debate before the country. The 21st Century Border Initiative of NDN/NPI has been designed to support, promote and develop this important vision for how our two countries manage our common border region. We have done this by facilitating events, papers, essays and creating a network of like minded individuals both inside and outside the beltway.

About the Position:

The 21st Century Border Initiative Associate supports and reports directly to both the Policy Director and the President. The Associate manages the 21st Century Border Initiative blog, updating it daily with news salient to the southwest border region and the ongoing immigration debate. The Associate also supports NDN senior staff in creating program priorities and talking points, and provides updates on legislative developments as they occur. The Associate is also responsible for helping to plan large events and assisting with outreach efforts targeting southwest border networks, members of Congress, and administration officials. Outreach assistance includes developing, managing, and maintaining media and contact lists. The Associate will have the opportunity to write original content and conduct original research to be posted on the 21st Century Border Initiative website and on the NDN homepage.


Ideal candidates will have an undergraduate degree as well as a background in politics and a working knowledge of the current immigration reform debate. Candidates must possess strong research and writing skills, and be able to work independently and communicate with high level staff both at NDN and elsewhere. Knowledge of social media (including twitter and Wordpress) are required. Spanish proficiency is a plus.

To apply, please send your resume and a cover letter to cbowman@ndn.org.

The deadline to apply for this posting will be Monday, April 29.


Border Bulletin - Immigration and Fear, don’t “exploit” Boston to “derail” immigration, more

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New York Times Editorial – Immigration and Fear: Much of the country was still waking up to the mayhem and confusion outside Boston on Friday morning when Senator Charles Grassley decided to link the hunt for terrorist bombers to immigration reform. “How can individuals evade authorities and plan such attacks on our soil?” asked Mr. Grassley, the Iowa Republican, at the beginning of a hearing on the Senate’s immigration bill. “How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.?”

CBS News: Sen. Leahy: Don’t “exploit” Boston to “derail” immigration: Convening the Senate Judiciary Committee for its second hearing on immigration reform, committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT., on Monday urged his Senate colleagues to stop using the Boston Marathon bombings as an excuse to slow down immigration reform.

Talking Points Memo: Former Republican Cabinet Secretary Dismantles ‘Dangerous’ Right-Wing Immigration: A former cabinet secretary under President George W. Bush took apart a main talking point that conservatives have used to oppose immigration reform. Speaking at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez addressed the notion, oft-repeated on the right, that immigrants “take jobs away from Americans.”

4 (Relatively) Quick Takeaways From Senate Immigration Reform Bill

The just released Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is 844 pages long piece of legislation crafted by a bi-partisan group of 8 Senators, four Senate DemocratsChuck Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Bob Menendez (NJ), and Michael Bennet (CO and four Senate Republicans John McCain (AZ), Lindsay Graham (SC), Marco Rubio (FL), and Jeff Flake (AZ). There is a lot of immigration policy to navigate in this legislation, below please find four big takeaways from the bill.

1. Pathway to Citizenship is Earned: The Senate bill provides a legalization program that could put most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants on the road to eventual citizenship.  This is a several step legalization program that first allows people to apply for “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI) status and then, after 10 years, for lawful permanent resident status, and then after 3 more years U.S. citizenship.

Below are some of the specifics to orient your understanding of this process.

  • Registration Requirements: Immigrants who entered the United States before December 31, 2011 and have been physically present in the U.S. since that time will be eligible to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status provided they pass a background check, have not been convicted of a serious crime, pay any assessed tax liability, and pay appropriate fees and a $500 fine. Initial registration will be valid for six years. It provides for work and travel authorization, and includes spouses and children in the United States on the same application. 
  • Renewal: RPIs applying for renewal will be subject to a new background check, payment of processing fees, payment of taxes, and a $500 fine. RPIs must provide evidence of having been 1) regularly employed while meeting a requirement that he/she is not likely to become a public charge or 2) having resources to demonstrate 100% of the poverty level.
  • Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residency:  At the end of ten years, RPIs may apply for adjustment of status, provided that they demonstrate: 1) they are admissible, 2) pay an additional $1000 fine per adult plus application fees; 3) prove they are learning English; 4) pay their taxes; 5) pass a background check and 6) demonstrate compliance with the employment requirement. Specifically, they must show: 1) theyhave regularly worked in the U.S. such that they are not likely to become a public charge or 2) they have resources to meet 125% of the Federal Poverty Level. Under the revamped legal immigration system, individuals present in the U.S. for 10 years in lawful status can adjust status to lawful permanent residence including RPIs and other legal immigrants. RPIs may apply for naturalization after an additional three year wait, making the total path to citizenship about 13 years. The bill includes a “back of the line” requirement: RPIs may not adjust status until the family and employment backlogs are cleared.

2. Border Plan is Comprehensive: Stage one requires the DHS Secretary to develop a Comprehensive Border Security Strategy and Southern Border Fencing Strategy within six months before the registration period for Registered Provisional Immigrant status (RPI) begins.  These strategies must be designed to achieve persistent surveillance of the border and a 90% effectiveness rate for apprehensions and returns in high risk border sectors. The bill appropriates $3 billion for this plan which will include technology, personnel and other  resources.  It also provides funding for 3,500 additional Customs agents (OFO Officers) nationwide.

The “triggers” require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit, within 6 months of enactment, two plans. The first is a strategy to achieve a 90% effective rate goal in high risk sectors of the Southern border. The second is a fencing plan designed to reinforce current fencing and barriers. The initial legalization program does not begin until these plans are submitted.  The legalization program also will not begin until implementing regulations are issued – within 12 months after enactment of the bill.

If, after five years, the 90% effectiveness rate in high risk sectors has not been achieved, an additional pool of resources will be authorized for appropriation and a commission of experts and elected officials from border states will be formed. The border commission will issue recommendations to DHS regarding additional measures that should be adopted to help reach the 90% effectiveness rate goal. 

Two other enforcement “triggers” that have to be met before RPIs can apply for permanent residence involve  implementation of the E-Verify program and entry-exit controls at air and sea ports. Both of these triggers are achievable and should not delay the path to permanent residence.

  • Reallocation of Customs Agents From Northern to Southern BorderThe second thing that this section of the legislation does is allow the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to reassign or station U.S. Customs and Border protection officers and agents from the northern border to the southern border. They are authorized to be appropriated as such from the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund established by this piece of legislation.
  • DHS Oversight: To protect the integrity of the system, additional resources and training will be devoted to implementing a DHS-wide use of force policy and associated training in appropriate use of force and the impact of federal operations on border communities.  A Border Oversight Taskforce is established to take testimony and conduct hearings in order to review and recommend changes to existing border policies.  The current duties of the USCIS Ombudsman’s office will be expanded to encompass all DHS immigration functions. DHS will be required to issue regulations on racial profiling that are based on a study analyzing individualized data on DHS officers enforcement activity.

3. Expedited Path for DREAMERs and Farmworkers: DREAMERs can earn permanent legal status within five years, and are then immediately eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.  DREAMERs who have been previously deported may still be eligible to apply for legal status if they meet certain requirements, even if they don’t have a qualifying U.S. relationship. Farmworkers are eligible for an expedited five year path to permanent legal status and then eventual citizenship under current law.  In order to qualify, among other things, they must continue working in the agricultural sector for an additional 3-5 years post-enactment. 

Other essential workers may apply for a new “W” worker visa which will allow them to enter and work in the U.S. for participating employers, change jobs to other W employers, and eventually self-petition for lawful permanent status under the new merit based program.

Both the W visa program and the new agricultural worker program are subject to important standards for wages and working conditions, negotiated by labor to protect both immigrant and native-born workers. Finally, there are new protections against employers using immigration status to intimidate workers and to prevent international recruiters from misleading or otherwise mistreating those they bring to the U.S.

4. Changes To High Skill Visa Programs Are Significant:   This legislation does away with caps for the highest skilled employment based green cards.   The legislation also changes the H-1B high skilled visa program by expanding the current cap from 65,000 to 110,000 with an option to ultimately increase the cap to 180,000 visas annually based on a High Skilled Jobs Demand Index.

The legislation also allows for work authorization for spouses and children.  Increases requirements for recruiting and offering jobs to U.S. workers at higher wages prior to hiring foreign workers. Increases fines and wage requirements for companies that are heavy-users of H-1B visas. After 3 years, companies whose workforce is more than fifty percent H-1Bs are barred.

Border Bulletin - Bi-Partisan Senate Group Releases Immigration Outline, Analysis and more

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Outline of the Border Security Section of The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 - Today the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight” released an outline for immigration reform below is the section on Border Security, check back here tomorrow for more analysis and commentary on this important piece of legislation. Below you will find the border section of the legislative outline highlighted.

Washington Post – Key provisions expected in immigration legislation proposal:The Washington Post has put together a truly terrific outline of the entire recently released immigration legislation proposal. Below please find a handy info graphic outlining what each of the sections of the legislative outline do. The sections presented below are the Path to Citizenship, Border Control, H-1B high-skilled visas, Guest worker “W-visa” program and Changes to family visa program.

New York Times – Immigration Overhaul Proposal Is Likely to Ignite Fierce Debate: The introduction of sweeping immigration legislation on Tuesday is likely to ignite a months-long battle between those who want citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants and opponents who view such an approach as amnesty. A bipartisan group of eight senators plans to unveil legislation, drafted largely in secret, that would provide a 13-year path to American citizenship for illegal immigrants who arrived in the country before Dec. 31, 2011, but would demand that tougher border controls be in place first. The legislation is certain to unleash a torrent of attacks from Republican opponents on the immigration overhaul, similar to the kind of criticism that killed an effort supported by President George W. Bush in 2007.

At NDN, Mexican Ambassador Medina Mora, Meissner, Alden Talk US-Mexico, Border, Immigration Reform

With the President announcing a May trip to Mexico, members of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” taking a constructive trip to the border, and the Senate set to announce their bi-partisan immigration legislation, please take a moment to watch our timely event on U.S.- Mexico relations, our southwest border and immigration.

This event contextualized many of the issues at the heart of the coming immigration debate and featured Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, Mexican Ambassador to the United States with respondents: Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director of the US Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute, and Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, The Council of Foreign Relations. Nelson Cunningham, President and co-founder of McClarty Associates, and former special advisor to President Clinton moderated the discussion.

NDN President Simon Rosenberg opened the event by noting:"Because of an increased investment, a better strategy, better cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico, perhaps unprecedented cooperation between our two countries, our border is safer on the U.S. side, our immigration system is better, and Mexico itself is modernizing and growing.

Ambassador Medina-Mora in his key note speech highlighted the deep connections between our two countries. by commenting: Migration between Mexico and the United States is in constant tranformation but the pace of change has been faster and more dramatic in the last twenty years. In that time span we have seen both an exponential growth of Mexican immigration to this country in the 90's and a significant slow down that has reached almost a zero net balance in 2010 according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Doris Meissner's response to the Ambassadors key note contextualized exactly how long it has taken to get the U.S. Mexico border to where it is today: Borders that work is another key idea to the coming immigration debate. Borders are designed both to prevent illegal entry but also to facilitate legal entry of both people and goods. Borders are part of both countries prosperity well being and we needed to make them both be more effective and more functional.

The final responded was Edward Alden, who talked about metrics for border security are still a key component of measuring progress in the region. "In 1965 the U.S created the architecture of the modern immigration system, in 1986 the Congress tried to solve what was then the growing problem of illegal immigration, this bill is an effort to do both. To rewrite our immigration system for the future, and to estsblish rules for controlling in an ongoing basis illegal immigration.

This is just a snap shot of the many converations that took place at our event please watch the full video presentation here. This is just the latest in a series of events we are putting on ahead of the release of Congressional immigration legislation. Simon delivered his new presentation titled "Immigration Reform: How The Landscape Has Changed" This original work tells how immigration, the safety along the border, and the complex economic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico have improved since 2004. Check out the power point here.

Also be sure to check out this web video presentation which took a deep look at how Mexico is modernizing and growing. NPI Policy Director Kristian Ramos hosted this live web video briefing, “Understanding Modern Mexico,” with former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan and noted Mexican economist and author, Jorge Suarez-Velez.  To watch this video briefing please click here.

For background on the event be sure to read Simon’s recent Huffington Post Op-ed, “The Border is Safer, Our Immigration System is Better;” Kristian's just released op-ed "Want To Make The Border Safer? Pass Gun Violence Legislation." see our round-up of our most important work on these issues; and stay in touch with us via our website 21border.com.

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