Text: H.R.4949 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/24/2014)


113th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 4949


To establish the National Office of New Americans to support the integration of immigrants to the United States into the economic, social, cultural, and civic life of their local communities and the Nation, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 24, 2014

Mr. Cárdenas (for himself and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To establish the National Office of New Americans to support the integration of immigrants to the United States into the economic, social, cultural, and civic life of their local communities and the Nation, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “New American Success Act of 2014”.

SEC. 2. Table of contents.

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title.

Sec. 2. Table of contents.

Sec. 3. Findings and declaration of policy.

Sec. 101. National Office of New Americans.

Sec. 102. Task Force on New Americans.

Sec. 103. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 201. Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance Grants.

Sec. 202. Integration Success Grants.

Sec. 203. Integration Success Fund.

Sec. 301. Waiver of English requirement for senior new Americans.

Sec. 401. Rulemaking requirement.

SEC. 3. Findings and declaration of policy.

(a) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:

(1) According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are 13,400,000 non-citizen residents in the United States with limited proficiency in English.

(2) According to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 1,100,000 legal immigrants enter the country annually. About half of these legal immigrants lack full proficiency in English.

(3) According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated 70 percent of the unauthorized immigrant population ages 19 and older have limited proficiency in English.

(4) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than two-thirds of the foreign-born population does not have a postsecondary degree, and foreign-born adults are three times more likely to lack a high school diploma or equivalent than native-born adults.

(5) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19 of the 30 fastest growing occupations require workers with some form of postsecondary education or training.

(6) These statistics suggest that a lack of English proficiency and limited education serve as serious impediments to labor market success for immigrants.

(7) A century ago, during the last great wave of immigration to this country, the public and private sectors promoted the integration of newcomers through the Settlement House movement, the founding of the modern public library system, the establishment of universal public education.

(8) Although currently dozens of Federal and State programs support, and thousands of government agencies and nonprofit organizations operate, programs that teach English, promote acquisition of workforce skills, provide citizenship assistance, and otherwise promote the integration of immigrants and their children, such programs are often not coordinated or aligned, limiting the capacity of such programs to identify and test promising practices, leverage resources, or bring effective interventions to scale.

(9) It is in the national interest to facilitate the rapid acquisition of English language skills by immigrants to the United States and to otherwise promote the integration of immigrants and their children into the mainstream of our economy and society.

(10) Empowering immigrants and their family members to effectively integrate into the mainstream of the economic, social, cultural, and civic life of their local communities and the Nation as a whole will ensure that United States immigration policies result in more productive and competitive local economies and more cohesive and harmonious communities.

(11) Data, policies, and programs relevant to immigrant integration crosscut the responsibilities of numerous Federal agencies as well as those of State and local governments and nongovernmental actors.

(12) The overlapping nature of integration issues and the lack of coordination of immigration policies and programs make it difficult for the President and Congress to understand and respond to pressing integration challenges and opportunities.

(13) Improved coordination of integration goals, policies, and programs across sectors and levels of government would greatly enhance the ability of the Federal Government to create and maintain an immigration system that is more suited to modern times and benefits the interests of the Federal Government, communities with growing immigrant populations, as well as immigrants and their family members.

(b) Declaration of policy.—It is the policy of the United States to—

(1) promote the civic, linguistic, and economic integration of immigrants and their young children into the United States;

(2) establish national goals for integrating immigrants and their young children into the United States, and measure the degree to which such goals are met;

(3) assess and coordinate Federal policies, regulations, and programs related to the integration of immigrants, including an assessment of Federal agency jurisdiction and budget concerns;

(4) consult with State and local governments on integration challenges and opportunities for the purpose of improving Federal integration policy and program efforts;

(5) track the performance of Federal, State, and local integration initiatives, including measures of reach, effectiveness, and cost; and

(6) engage stakeholders at different government and nongovernment levels to identify integration opportunities and challenges.

SEC. 101. National Office of New Americans.

(a) Establishment of National Office of New Americans.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—There is established in the Executive Office of the President a National Office of New Americans (in this title referred to as the “Office”).

(2) APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTORS.—There shall be at the head of the Office a Director appointed by the President (in this title referred to as the “Director”). The President is authorized to appoint a Deputy Director and such Assistant Directors as the President determines to be necessary.

(b) Functions.—The functions of the Office are—

(1) to oversee and coordinate the efforts of Federal, State, and local entities to ensure the effective economic, linguistic, and civic integration of immigrants and their children;

(2) to provide advice and leadership to the President, Congress, and other Federal Government officials on the challenges and opportunities facing such entities with regards to immigrant integration;

(3) to establish national goals for immigrant integration and measure the degree to which such goals are met;

(4) to serve as a member of the Domestic Policy Council;

(5) to cooperate closely with the Office of Management and Budget and other relevant executive agencies and departments to analyze the impact of immigration policies and of immigrant integration efforts on the Federal budget;

(6) to evaluate the scale, quality, and effectiveness of Federal Government efforts concerning immigrant integration;

(7) to identify the anticipated effects of new Federal immigration policies on existing integration efforts and advise the President on how to address any potential integration needs or impacts resulting from such policies;

(8) to consult on a biannual basis with State and local government officials on the immigrant integration challenges and opportunities facing State and units of local government;

(9) to consult with the Secretaries and Directors identified in title II on the administration of the grant programs established by such title; and

(10) to submit to the President and the appropriate congressional committees a biannual report that describes the activities of the Office and the results of the consultation process provided in paragraph (8).

(c) Deadline for establishment.—The Office shall begin operating not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 102. Task Force on New Americans.

(a) Establishment.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Director shall establish within the Office of New Americans a Task Force on New Americans.

(2) DEADLINE FOR ESTABLISHMENT.—The Task Force shall be fully operational not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b) Purpose.—The purposes of the Task Force are—

(1) to establish a coordinated Federal program to respond effectively to immigrant integration issues; and

(2) to advise and assist the Director in identifying and implementing the necessary policies to carry out such program.

(c) Membership.—The Task Force shall be comprised of—

(1) the Director, who shall serve as Chair of the Task Force;

(2) the Secretary of the Treasury;

(3) the Attorney General;

(4) the Secretary of Commerce;

(5) the Secretary of Labor;

(6) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;

(7) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;

(8) the Secretary of Education;

(9) the Secretary of Homeland Security;

(10) the Director of the Small Business Administration;

(11) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

(12) the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection; and

(13) any other individual the Director of the National Office of New Americans invites to participate who occupies a position listed under level I or II of the Executive Schedule, as provided in sections 5312 and 5313 of title 5, United States Code.

(d) Duties.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Task Force shall meet at the call of the Chair and perform such duties as the Chair reasonably requires.

(2) COORDINATED RESPONSE TO IMMIGRANT ISSUES.—The Task Force shall work with executive agencies and departments to provide a coordinated Federal response to adequately address issues that affect the lives of new immigrants and local communities with growing immigrant populations, including—

(A) early childhood care and education;

(B) elementary, secondary and postsecondary education;

(C) adult education and workforce training;

(D) health care;

(E) naturalization; and

(F) economic development.

(3) LIAISON WITH FEDERAL AGENCIES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Each member of the Task Force shall serve as a liaison to the respective agency of the member to ensure that the agency participates in the activities of the Task Force in a timely and meaningful manner.

(B) DUTIES OF A LIAISON.—The duties of each member as an agency liaison include—

(i) creating immigrant integration goals within the agency;

(ii) creating immigration integration indicators within the agency;

(iii) implementing the biannual consultation process described in section 101(b)(8) by consulting with the State and local counterparts of the agency; and

(iv) reporting to the Task Force on the progress made by the agency in achieving the goals and indicators described in clauses (i) and (ii).

(4) RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TASK FORCE.—

(A) REPORT.—The Director of the Task Force shall submit to Congress a report that includes the following:

(i) Findings from the consultation process described in section 101(b)(8), including a description of the immigrant integration challenges and opportunities facing States and units of local government.

(ii) Recommendations on the effects of pending legislation and executive branch policy proposals related to immigration.

(iii) Suggestions for changes to Federal programs or policies that have a negative impact on new immigrants and local communities with growing immigrant populations, in comparison to the general population.

(iv) Recommendations on legislative solutions to promote immigrant integration.

(B) REPORTING DEADLINE.—

(i) REPORT REQUIRED.—Except as provided in clause (ii), the Task Force shall submit a report required by subparagraph (A) not later than 18 months after the Task Force is fully operational and every two years thereafter.

(ii) EXCEPTION.—The Task Force is not required to submit a report described in clause (i) if the total number of aliens issued immigrant visas or granted permanent residence under section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151), including individuals subject and not subject to numerical limitations for admission, is less than 500,000 at any time during a period of two years ending on the required submission date of such report pursuant to clause (i).

SEC. 103. Authorization of appropriations.

In addition to any amounts otherwise made available to the Office, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this title.

SEC. 201. Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance Grants.

(a) Authorization.—The Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, in consultation with the Director of the National Office of New Americans, shall award Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance grants to eligible entities.

(b) Eligibility.—An entity eligible to receive a grant under this section is a unit of local government, private organization, community-based organization, or not-for-profit organization—

(1) that provides authorized direct legal assistance to immigrants to the United States; and

(2) that submits to the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as such Director, in consultation with the Director of the National Office of New Americans, may reasonably require.

(c) Use of funds.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Funds awarded under this section may be used to provide to an eligible non-citizen legal assistance relating to the immigration status of such non-citizen, or related services. Such assistance may include—

(A) screening to assess the eligibility of a prospective applicant seeking a change in immigration status;

(B) completing immigration applications;

(C) gathering proof of identification, employment, residence, and tax payment;

(D) gathering proof of relationships to eligible family members;

(E) applying for any waivers for which an applicant and qualifying family members may be eligible; and

(F) advising an applicant on the rights and responsibilities of United States citizenship.

(2) IMMIGRANTS ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTANCE.—A non-citizen is eligible to receive the assistance described in paragraph (1) if such non-citizen is—

(A) seeking to become a permanent resident or naturalized citizen; or

(B) seeking relief from removal and authorization to remain in the United States lawfully and permanently.

(d) Priority.—In awarding grants under this section, priority shall be given to—

(1) entities that demonstrate intent to use grant funds to serve individuals living in a State with a foreign-born population of not less than 5 percent that has experienced an increase that is higher than the national average in the population of non-citizen residents during the most recent 10-year period, based on data compiled by the Office of Immigration Statistics or the United States Census Bureau, or units of local government located within such State; or

(2) entities that demonstrate intent to use grant funds to serve individuals living in any of the 10 States with the highest number of non-citizen residents, based on data compiled by the Office of Immigration Statistics or the United States Census Bureau, or units of local government located within such State.

(e) Certification.—In order to receive a payment under this section, a participating entity shall submit to the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services a certification that the proposed uses of grant funds by the entity are consistent with this section and meet all necessary criteria determined by the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services in consultation with the Director of the National Office of New Americans.

(f) Annual report and evaluation.—Not later than 90 days after the end of each fiscal year for which an entity receives grant funds under this section, the entity shall submit to the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services the following:

(1) A report that describes—

(A) the activities undertaken by the entity that were funded entirely or partially by the grant funds;

(B) the geographic area or areas served by the grant funds;

(C) an estimate of the number of non-citizens living in the jurisdiction or service area of the entity, which demonstrates that the entity made a reasonable effort to determine such number;

(D) the number of non-citizens receiving assistance that was funded entirely or partially by grant funds received by the entity; and

(E) the primary languages spoken in the jurisdiction or service area of the entity.

(2) An evaluation of any program of the entity using grant funds under this section, including an assessment of—

(A) the effectiveness of such program and recommendations for improving the program;

(B) the future needs of immigrants to the United States; and

(C) the future needs of States and units of local government related to immigrant integration.

(g) State defined.—In this section, the term “State” means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(h) Effective period.—This section shall be in effect for a period of 10 fiscal years beginning with fiscal year 2016.

SEC. 202. Integration Success Grants.

(a) Grants Authorized.—The Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Director of the National Office of New Americans (in this section referred to as the “Director”), may jointly provide grants on a competitive basis to improve the economic, linguistic, and civic integration of immigrants and their children.

(b) Eligibility.—An entity eligible to receive a grant under this section is a State, or a unit of local government working in partnership with a not-for-profit organization or community-based organization, that submits to the Secretaries an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretaries, in consultation with the Director, may reasonably require, which may include—

(1) a proposal outlining the methods the entity intends to use to effectively carry out the activities funded by the grant;

(2) a sociodemographic profile of non-citizens living within the jurisdiction or service area of the entity; and

(3) a description of opportunities and challenges in improving the economic, linguistic, and civic integration of immigrants.

(c) Use of Funds.—An entity awarded a grant under this section may use the grant funds—

(1) to expand access to, and improve the quality of, programs supporting the economic advancement of immigrants in areas that include financial literacy, small business development, employment navigation, and training opportunities;

(2) to expand programs that provide basic adult education and contextualized English language skills that improve the literacy, numeracy, workforce skills, and educational attainment of immigrants over the age of 18;

(3) to expand access to programs that assist immigrants in obtaining recognized postsecondary credentials or employment, or in building measurable skills to lead to the attainment of an industry-recognized credential or certificate; and

(4) to educate immigrants about United States history, civics, citizenship rights and responsibilities, democracy, opportunities to engage in the civic life of their community, unit of local government, and State, and the navigation of local systems that support the economic, linguistic, and civic integration of individuals and families.

(d) Priority.—In awarding grants under this section, priority shall be given to—

(1) an entity that uses not less than ten percent of matching funds from non-Federal sources;

(2) an entity that collaborates with at least one public or private entity to carry out a comprehensive plan to improve the coordination of relevant immigrant integration services and accelerate the integration progress; and

(3) a State—

(A) that has a foreign born population of not less than 5 percent and that has experienced an increase in non-citizen residents that is higher than the national average during the most recent 10-year period, based on data compiled by the Office of Immigration Statistics or the United States Census Bureau, or a unit of local government located within such State; or

(B) that is one of the 10 States with the highest number of non-citizen residents, based on data compiled by the Office of Immigration Statistics or the United States Census Bureau, or a unit of local government located within such State.

(e) Certification.—In order to receive a payment under this section, a participating entity shall provide the Secretaries with a certification that the proposed uses of grant funds by the entity are consistent with this section and meet all necessary criteria determined by the Secretaries in consultation with the Director.

(f) Annual report and evaluation.—Not later than 90 days after the end of each fiscal year for which an entity receives a grant under this section, such entity shall submit to the Secretaries the following:

(1) A report that describes—

(A) the activities undertaken by the entity;

(B) the geographic area or areas served by the grant funds; and

(C) a description of the sociodemographic characteristics of individuals served by the grant funds; and

(2) An evaluation of any program of the entity that receives grant funds, including an assessment of—

(A) the effectiveness of such program and recommendations for improving the program;

(B) the future needs of immigrants to the United States; and

(C) the future needs of States and units of local government related to immigrant integration.

(g) Annual report to States.—The Director of the National Office of New Americans shall inform each State annually of the amount of funds available to such State under this section.

(h) State defined.—In this section, the term “State” means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(i) Effective period.—This section shall be in effect for a period of 10 fiscal years beginning with fiscal year 2016.

SEC. 203. Integration Success Fund.

(a) In General.—There is established in the Treasury an account known as the “Integration Success Fund”.

(b) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Integration Success Fund such funds as may be necessary to carry out this title.

(c) Gifts, bequests, and devises.—The Director of the National Office of New Americans may solicit, accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of services or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of awarding grants established under sections 201 and 202. Gifts, bequests, or devises of money and proceeds from sales of other property received as gifts, bequests, or devises shall be deposited in the Integration Success Fund established by subsection (a) and shall be available for disbursement to eligible entities in accordance with this title.

SEC. 301. Waiver of English requirement for senior new Americans.

Section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1423) is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

“(b) The requirements under subsection (a) shall not apply to any person who—

“(1) is unable to comply with such requirements because of physical or mental disability, including developmental or intellectual disability; or

“(2) on the date on which the person's application for naturalization is filed under section 334—

“(A) is older than 65 years of age; and

“(B) has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 5 years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

“(c) The requirement under subsection (a)(1) shall not apply to any person who, on the date on which the person's application for naturalization is filed under section 334—

“(1) is older than 50 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 20 years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence;

“(2) is older than 55 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 15 years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence; or

“(3) is older than 60 years of age and has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 10 years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

“(d) The Secretary of Homeland Security may waive, on a case-by-case basis, the requirement under subsection (a)(2) on behalf of any person who, on the date on which the person's application for naturalization is filed under section 334—

“(1) is older than 60 years of age; and

“(2) has been living in the United States for periods totaling at least 10 years after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence.”.

SEC. 401. Rulemaking requirement.

(a) In General.—Subject to subsection (b), not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, each person or persons responsible for carrying out a provision of this Act or an amendment made by this Act shall promulgate regulations to carry out such provision.

(b) Consultation with National Office of New Americans.—For each provision of this Act for which the Director of the National Office of New Americans is not the person responsible for carrying out such provision, the responsible person or persons shall consult with the Director in promulgating the regulations described in subsection (a).