Analysis of Paul Ryan’s Amnesty Bill

By CIS on June 19, 2018

House Vote

UPDATE: The House rejected Paul Ryan's amnesty bill by a 193-231 vote.

If the bill were enacted it would be the largest amnesty in more than 30 years, despite President Trump's campaign promise of "no amnesty" and after multiple GOP congressional leaders expressed opposition to amnesty for any illegal aliens.

Read more: House to Vote on One of the Largest Amnesty Bills in U.S. History

Amnesty Provisions

The Ryan bill offers amnesty and a path to citizenship for an estimated 2.2 million direct beneficiaries. Below is the breakdown of the different categories:

  • An estimated 1.9 million aliens believed to be potentially eligible for the proposed amnesty, which has the same basic qualifying criteria as President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • Approximately 300,000 adult sons and daughters of certain guestworkers who arrived while younger than 16, who have lived in the United States for 10 years, and who are too old to qualify for green cards or temporary visa renewals.

The additional green cards from the large amnesty and the additional chain migration would cause an annual increase of about 220,000. The result is a net increase of 2.12 million green cards over 15 years (3.3 million amnesty plus chain beneficiaries minus 1.18 million fewer chain and lottery green cards).

Read more: House Immigration Bills Would Produce Starkly Different Results in Green Card Numbers

Enforcement Provisions

A Center for Immigration Studies analysis of the enforcement provisions of Ryan’s Amnesty Bill looks at the enforcement improvements that are intended to balance the bill’s massive amnesty. 

Read more:

An Analysis of Border Security Provisions

Border Loophole, Interior Enforcement, and Judicial Review Provisions

Some highlights:

  • The Ryan Bill appropriates $23.4 billion funding for border barrier construction and infrastructure technology.
  • The language in the bill appears to pull back the amnesty if funding for border security is rescinded, diverted, or expended in methods inconsistent with Section 5101, BUT the recipients of the amnesty, for all intents and purposes, would simply remain in lawful status — free to live and work in the United States — in perpetuity.
  • The bill fixes the loopholes that have been exploited by families sending unaccompanied alien children (UACs) to enter the United States illegally, and by alien parents arriving illegally in the United States with children.
  • It also would prevent parents entering illegally from being separated from their children in immigration detention.
  • The bill also includes broad judicial review of virtually every provision. “This will give activist judges significant authority to control the implementation of the bill as a whole, and crafty lawyers the ability to tie up the implementation of the enforcement provisions indefinitely and expand the amnesty provisions, likely beyond Congress' intent.”
  • The bill does not include any language requiring E-verify or limiting grants to sanctuary cities.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement receives no additional funding – no commensurate technological improvements; no enhanced new authorities; no new detention facilities; and no new human resources.
  • The exit system, which has been mandated multiple times by Congress, “will be significantly underfunded from the start, and probably suffer even further from prioritization of the border barrier and improvements above all things. The near certain result will be that the biometric exit system will itself remain one of those 'unfunded mandates.' "