Reps. Will Hurd (R., Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D., Calif.) revealed Monday a draft version of their proposal for implementing a legislative version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.
The new bill is focused primarily on finding a way to give DACA recipients green card status, while simultaneously tightening security on the border, CNN reports.
The program, implemented under President Barack Obama, allowed otherwise-illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to avoid deportation and receive work permits. There are currently an estimated 700,000 thousand DACA recipients living and working the United States.
In September, President Donald Trump's administration brought an end to the program, arguing that it represented an unconstitutional overreach of executive power. Simultaneously, however, Trump called on Congress to "legalize DACA." The fate of DACA recipients has since become one component of broader negotiations about Trump's immigration agenda, including his insistence on building a southern border wall.
Hurd and Aguilar's bill would offer individuals who meet certain requirements—among them a background check and work, education, or service experience—the ability to apply for permanent residency.
It would aim to address concerns about chain migration simply by explicitly preserving the status quo in federal law, which requires that individuals who arrived to the United States illegally return to their country of origin for at least 10 years before applying for a real visa.
At the border, the bill would incorporate large portions of Hurd's "smart wall" proposal, a previous bill of the Texas representative's which would instruct the Department of Homeland Security to use "technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices" to secure the border by 2020.
The bill would also increase the number of immigration judges and attorneys, in the hopes of addressing the overwhelming immigration court backlog. Recent data show some 650,000 cases presently pending.
The Hurd-Aguilar plan adds to a bevy of proposed immigration reform proposals. These range from the DREAM Act, which would grant broad-reaching amnesty to DACA recipients, to the RAISE Act, a proposal that would cut immigration in half by transitioning the United States to a merit-based system akin to Canada or Australia's.