“It’s clear that our current immigration system is broken and badly in need of change. Congress must turn its attention to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States and enact reform that provides a path to legalization and eventually citizenship, provided they play by the rules and pay their taxes. It’s important that we approach the issue of immigration with a sense of urgency, a spirit of compassion, and a commitment to security.”
– Rep. Adam Schiff
Fighting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Rep. Adam Schiff is a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and is an original co-sponsor of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15). This legislation would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, reduce our immigration backlog, and allow our country to attract the world's brightest and highest-skilled workers to help us better compete in a global market. The bill would also strengthen the security of our borders, require undocumented immigrants to pay back taxes and study English, and hold employers who hire unauthorized workers accountable. In 2013, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform with an overwhelming bipartisan majority and Rep. Schiff has repeatedly called on the House leadership to bring the Senate’s bill for a vote.
Because Congress has failed to act, Schiff supports the executive action taken by the President in November 2014 to protect certain undocumented immigrants with strong ties to the community and U.S. citizen family members from deportation. The President’s order prioritizes the removal of undocumented felons, gang members, and others, while protecting those who work hard and contribute positively in our communities and neighborhoods. While executive action is not a substitute for Congressional action, Schiff believed the President had waited long enough and acted appropriately to provide relief, allowing families to come out of the shadows.
Strengthening Our Economy by Retaining STEM-Educated Students
Rep. Adam Schiff believes that smart immigration laws can help grow the economy and create jobs. Every year, students from around the world study at our nation’s world-leading research institutions. However, our current immigration system makes it very difficult for these bright and motivated entrepreneurs to stay and develop their ideas in the U.S. We should do all we can to retain those who hold highly-coveted degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields and give them the chance to create the next high tech company here in the United States.
In 2012, Schiff introduced the INVEST in America Act, legislation which would provide a new option for permanent residency to immigrant entrepreneurs who are in the process of completing or have recently completed a graduate STEM degree from an accredited university in the U.S. To quality, immigrant entrepreneurs must start a new business relevant to the area of study; create at least two new jobs or invest $200,000 after two years; and create five jobs or invest $500,000 in the business within five years. Schiff is also supportive of measures that were incorporated into H.R. 15 that would reform the nonimmigrant programs for skilled workers by raising the cap on H-1B visas, and create new programs for less-skilled workers (H-2A and H-2B) and investors (EB-5).
Keeping Families Together
Rep. Adam Schiff recognizes that the current immigration system takes a horrendous toll on innocent families and has subjected millions of American-born children and young adults to years of cruel separation from their parents and the constant threat of deportation. This is why in 2014, as a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Schiff introduced an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would defund the deportation of parents and legal guardians of U.S. citizen and minor children to keep families together.
Furthermore, an estimated 3.4 million family members of U.S. citizens and green card holders have been mired in an inefficient and culturally insensitive family immigration system that leaves families waiting for decades before being reunited. Schiff is a strong proponent for structural changes to family-based visa programs in order to eliminate the long backlog of children, siblings, and spouses sponsored by U.S. citizens and reunite families as soon as possible, and executive action by the President to prevent further deportations.
Supporting DREAMers/Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients
Rep. Adam Schiff is supportive of administrative relief efforts for individuals who qualify for the DACA program, or deferred action that authorizes a non-U.S. citizen who entered the U.S. before the age of sixteen to remain in the U.S. on a temporary basis, and provides them with the opportunity to apply for a work permit. To qualify for the DACA program, an applicant must be between 15- 30 years old, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from an accredited U.S. high school or a GED program, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces, and must not have been convicted of a felony offense or significant misdemeanor.
Protecting Our Borders
As a former federal prosecutor who prosecuted illegal immigrant smuggling, Rep. Adam Schiff believes in robust border security and enforcement measures, and recognizes the need to give prosecutors and law enforcement new tools to fight crime. Schiff supports immigration reform measures that ensure that our border agents and immigration enforcement agencies have adequate resources to better secure our borders and combat the illegal entry of people, weapons, drugs, and contraband. H.R. 15 would hire 3,500 additional Customs and Border Protection officers, increase technology and infrastructure for functional 24-hour surveillance of the southern border, and direct the Department of Homeland Security to devise a plan for implementing a biometric exit system.