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One Year Later: DHS Working To Fix Our Broken Immigration System

One year after Secretary Jeh Johnson took steps to fix our broken immigration policies, here's where we stand.

Strengthen Border Security

  • DHS’s Southern Border and Approaches Campaign enhances border security and better uses our resources to target threats.
  • The number of border apprehensions are at their lowest levels since the 1970s and the undocumented population in the U.S. has stopped growing.

Focus On Convicted Criminals, Not Families

  • New Department-wide enforcement and removal priorities place top priority on national security and public safety threats and recent border crossers.
  • The majority of ICE interior arrests and removals over the past year fall into the Priority 1 (convicted felons and aggravated felons) and Priority 2 (significant or multiple misdemeanants, not including traffic convictions) categories.
  • Approximately 97% of those in detention are convicted criminals or recent border-crossers.

Keep Convicted Criminals Out Of Communities

  • DHS ended Secure Communities, and replaced it with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to take custody of convicted criminals before they are released from jails.
  • The vast majority of local law enforcement agencies are now working with us to keep criminals out of our communities.

Promote Citizenship And Integration

  • To promote access to U.S. citizenship, DHS has launched the Stand Stronger public awareness campaign to enhance awareness of the process, rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
  • We now permit the use of credit cards as a payment option for the naturalization fee.
  • We also have co-led the White House Task Force on New Americans on a strategic action plan to better integrate immigrants and refugees linguistically, civically, and economically.

Unite Families

  • Issued a proposed rule to expand eligibility of the 3- and 10-year bar waiver to spouses, sons and daughters of permanent residents. Relatives of U.S. citizens are already eligible for the waiver.
  • We have also published proposed guidance clarifying the “extreme hardship” standard so more eligible families are able to apply for waivers and avoid years of separation.

Support Businesses, Worked, Students And Entrepreneurs

  • To help the United States compete for global talent, work permits have now been authorized to tens of thousands of spouses of H-1B high-skilled workers on the path to obtaining green cards.
  • Revisions to the Visa Bulletin will ensure all green cards allotted each year are used.
  • Clarified options for multi-national companies transferring skilled employees to offices in the United States, to provide greater certainty for businesses.
  • Issued a proposed rule to expand and strengthen opportunities for foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to gain on-the-job training.
  • Proposing a draft rule and new guidance to enhance options for high skilled workers to change jobs and accept promotions while they wait for their green cards to become available.
Last Published Date: November 20, 2015
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