Text: H.R.8428 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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[H.R. 8428 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

<DOC>
116th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 8428


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            December 8, 2020

  Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
 To provide for temporary protected status for residents of Hong Kong, 
                        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 ``Hong Kong People's Freedom and 
Choice Act of 2020''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act:
            (1) Joint declaration.--The term ``Joint Declaration'' 
        means the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United 
        Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 
        Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of 
        Hong Kong, signed on December 19, 1984, and entered into force 
        on May 27, 1985.
            (2) Priority hong kong resident.--The term ``Priority Hong 
        Kong resident'' means--
                    (A) a permanent resident of Hong Kong who--
                            (i) holds no right to citizenship in any 
                        country or jurisdiction other than the People's 
                        Republic of China (referred to in this Act as 
                        ``PRC''), Hong Kong, or Macau as of the date of 
                        enactment of this Act;
                            (ii) has resided in Hong Kong for not less 
                        than the last 10 years as of the date of 
                        enactment of this Act; and
                            (iii) has been designated by the Secretary 
                        of State or Secretary of Homeland Security as 
                        having met the requirements of this 
                        subparagraph, in accordance with the procedures 
                        described in section 7 of this Act; or
                    (B) the spouse of a person described in 
                subparagraph (A), or the child of such person as such 
                term is defined in section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration 
                and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)), except that 
                a child shall be an unmarried person under twenty-seven 
                years of age.
            (3) Hong kong national security law.--The term ``Hong Kong 
        National Security Law'' means the Law of the People's Republic 
        of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong 
        Special Administrative Region that was passed unanimously by 
        the National People's Congress and signed by President Xi 
        Jinping on June 30, 2020, and promulgated in the Hong Kong 
        Special Administrative Region (referred to in this Act as 
        ``Hong Kong SAR'') on July 1, 2020.
            (4) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term 
        ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
                    (A) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the 
                Committee on the Judiciary of the House of 
                Representatives; and
                    (B) the Committee on Foreign Relations and the 
                Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate.

SEC. 3. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The Hong Kong National Security Law promulgated on July 
        1, 2020--
                    (A) contravenes the Basic Law of the Hong Kong 
                Special Administrative Region (referred to in this Act 
                as ``the Basic Law'') that provides in Article 23 that 
                the Legislative Council of Hong Kong shall enact 
                legislation related to national security;
                    (B) violates the PRC's commitments under 
                international law, as defined by the Joint Declaration; 
                and
                    (C) causes severe and irreparable damage to the 
                ``one country, two systems'' principle and further 
                erodes global confidence in the PRC's commitment to 
                international law.
            (2) On July 14, 2020, in response to the promulgation of 
        the Hong Kong National Security Law, President Trump signed an 
        Executive order on Hong Kong normalization that, among other 
        policy actions, suspended the special treatment of Hong Kong 
        persons under U.S. law with respect to the issuance of 
        immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.
            (3) The United States has a long and proud history as a 
        destination for refugees and asylees fleeing persecution based 
        on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or 
        membership in a particular social group.
            (4) The United States also shares deep social, cultural, 
        and economic ties with the people of Hong Kong, including a 
        shared commitment to democracy, to the rule of law, and to the 
        protection of human rights.
            (5) The United States has sheltered, protected, and 
        welcomed individuals who have fled authoritarian regimes, 
        including citizens from the PRC following the violent June 4, 
        1989, crackdown in Tiananmen Square, deepening ties between the 
        people of the United States and those individuals seeking to 
        contribute to a free, open society founded on democracy, human 
        rights, and the respect for the rule of law.
            (6) The United States has reaped enormous economic, 
        cultural, and strategic benefits from welcoming successive 
        generations of scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, artists, 
        intellectuals, and other freedom-loving people fleeing fascism, 
        communism, violent Islamist extremism, and other repressive 
        ideologies, including in the cases of Nazi Germany, the Soviet 
        Union, and Soviet-controlled Central Europe, Cuba, Vietnam, and 
        Iran.
            (7) A major asymmetric advantage of the United States in 
        its long-term strategic competition with the Communist Party of 
        China is the ability of people from every country in the world, 
        irrespective of their race, ethnicity, or religion, to 
        immigrate to the United States and become American citizens.

SEC. 4. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

    It is the policy of the United States--
            (1) to reaffirm the principles and objectives set forth in 
        the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-
        383), namely that--
                    (A) the United States has ``a strong interest in 
                the continued vitality, prosperity, and stability of 
                Hong Kong'';
                    (B) ``support for democratization is a fundamental 
                principle of United States foreign policy'' and 
                therefore ``naturally applies to United States policy 
                toward Hong Kong'';
                    (C) ``the human rights of the people of Hong Kong 
                are of great importance to the United States and are 
                directly relevant to United States interests in Hong 
                Kong and serve as a basis for Hong Kong's continued 
                economic prosperity''; and
                    (D) Hong Kong must remain sufficiently autonomous 
                from the PRC to ``justify treatment under a particular 
                law of the United States, or any provision thereof, 
                different from that accorded the People's Republic of 
                China'';
            (2) to continue to support the high degree of autonomy and 
        fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, as 
        enumerated by--
                    (A) the Joint Declaration;
                    (B) the International Covenant on Civil and 
                Political Rights, done at New York December 19, 1966; 
                and
                    (C) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, done 
                at Paris December 10, 1948;
            (3) to continue to support the democratic aspirations of 
        the people of Hong Kong, including the ``ultimate aim'' of the 
        selection of the Chief Executive and all members of the 
        Legislative Council by universal suffrage, as articulated in 
        the Basic Law;
            (4) to urge the Government of the PRC, despite its recent 
        actions, to uphold its commitments to Hong Kong, including 
        allowing the people of Hong Kong to govern Hong Kong with a 
        high degree of autonomy and without undue interference, and 
        ensuring that Hong Kong voters freely enjoy the right to elect 
        the Chief Executive and all members of the Hong Kong 
        Legislative Council by universal suffrage;
            (5) to support the establishment of a genuine democratic 
        option to freely and fairly nominate and elect the Chief 
        Executive of Hong Kong, and the establishment of open and 
        direct democratic elections for all members of the Hong Kong 
        Legislative Council;
            (6) to support the robust exercise by residents of Hong 
        Kong of the rights to free speech, the press, and other 
        fundamental freedoms, as provided by the Basic Law, the Joint 
        Declaration, and the International Covenant on Civil and 
        Political Rights;
            (7) to support freedom from arbitrary or unlawful arrest, 
        detention, or imprisonment for all Hong Kong residents, as 
        provided by the Basic Law, the Joint Declaration, and the 
        International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
            (8) to draw international attention to any violations by 
        the Government of the PRC of the fundamental rights of the 
        people of Hong Kong, as provided by the International Covenant 
        on Civil and Political Rights, and any encroachment upon the 
        autonomy guaranteed to Hong Kong by the Basic Law and the Joint 
        Declaration;
            (9) to protect United States citizens and long-term 
        permanent residents living in Hong Kong, as well as people 
        visiting and transiting through Hong Kong;
            (10) to maintain the economic and cultural ties that 
        provide significant benefits to both the United States and Hong 
        Kong, including the reinstatement of the Fulbright exchange 
        program with regard to Hong Kong at the earliest opportunity;
            (11) to coordinate with allies, including the United 
        Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, 
        to promote democracy and human rights in Hong Kong; and
            (12) to welcome and protect in the United States residents 
        of Hong Kong fleeing persecution or otherwise seeking a safe 
        haven from violations by the Government of the PRC of the 
        fundamental rights of the people of Hong Kong.

SEC. 5. TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR HONG KONG RESIDENTS IN THE 
              UNITED STATES.

    (a) Designation.--
            (1) In general.--For purposes of section 244 of the 
        Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a), Hong Kong 
        shall be treated as if it had been designated under subsection 
        (b)(1)(C) of that section, subject to the provisions of this 
        section.
            (2) Period of designation.--The initial period of the 
        designation referred to in paragraph (1) shall be for the 18-
        month period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.
    (b) Aliens Eligible.--As a result of the designation made under 
subsection (a), an alien is deemed to satisfy the requirements under 
paragraph (1) of section 244(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act 
(8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)), subject to paragraph (3) of such section, if the 
alien--
            (1) was a permanent resident of Hong Kong at the time such 
        individual arrived into the United States and is a national of 
        the PRC (or in the case of an individual having no nationality, 
        is a person who last habitually resided in Hong Kong);
            (2) has been continuously physically present in the United 
        States since the date of the enactment of this Act;
            (3) is admissible as an immigrant, except as otherwise 
        provided in paragraph (2)(A) of such section, and is not 
        ineligible for temporary protected status under paragraph 
        (2)(B) of such section; and
            (4) registers for temporary protected status in a manner 
        established by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
    (c) Consent To Travel Abroad.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
        give prior consent to travel abroad, in accordance with section 
        244(f)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
        1254a(f)(3)), to an alien who is granted temporary protected 
        status pursuant to the designation made under subsection (a) if 
        the alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Secretary of 
        Homeland Security that emergency and extenuating circumstances 
        beyond the control of the alien require the alien to depart for 
        a brief, temporary trip abroad.
            (2) Treatment upon return.--An alien returning to the 
        United States in accordance with an authorization described in 
        paragraph (1) shall be treated as any other returning alien 
        provided temporary protected status under section 244 of the 
        Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a).
    (d) Fee.--
            (1) In general.--In addition to any other fee authorized by 
        law, the Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to charge 
        and collect a fee of $360 for each application for temporary 
        protected status under section 244 of the Immigration and 
        Nationality Act by a person who is only eligible for such 
        status by reason of subsection (a).
            (2) Waiver.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
        permit aliens to apply for a waiver of any fees associated with 
        filing an application referred to in paragraph (1).

SEC. 6. TREATMENT OF HONG KONG RESIDENTS FOR IMMIGRATION PURPOSES.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, during the 5 fiscal 
year period beginning on the first day of the first full fiscal year 
after the date of enactment of this Act, Hong Kong shall continue to be 
considered a foreign state separate and apart from the PRC as mandated 
under section 103 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990 
(Public Law 101-649) for purposes of the numerical limitations on 
immigrant visas under sections 201, 202, and 203 of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151, 1152, and 1153).

SEC. 7. VERIFICATION OF HONG KONG PRIORITY RESIDENTS.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, shall publish in the Federal Register, 
an interim final rule establishing procedures for designation of Hong 
Kong Priority Residents. Notwithstanding section 553 of title 5, United 
States Code, the rule shall be effective, on an interim basis, 
immediately upon publication, but may be subject to change and revision 
after public notice and opportunity for comment. The Secretary of State 
shall finalize such rule not later than 1 year after the date of the 
enactment of this Act. Such rule shall establish procedures--
            (1) for individuals to register with any United States 
        embassy or consulate outside of the United States, or with the 
        Department of Homeland Security in the United States, and 
        request designation as a Priority Hong Kong Resident; and
            (2) for the appropriate Secretary to verify the residency 
        of registered individuals and designate those who qualify as 
        Priority Hong Kong Residents.
    (b) Documentation.--The procedures described in subsection (a) 
shall include the collection of--
            (1) biometric data;
            (2) copies of birth certificates, residency cards, and 
        other documentation establishing residency; and
            (3) other personal information, data, and records deemed 
        appropriate by the Secretary.
    (c) Guidance.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall issue guidance 
outlining actions to enhance the ability of the Secretary to 
efficiently send and receive information to and from the United Kingdom 
and other like-minded allies and partners for purposes of rapid 
verification of permanent residency in Hong Kong and designation of 
individuals as Priority Hong Kong Residents.
    (d) Report.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the House 
Committees on Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary and the Senate 
Committees on Foreign Relations and the Judiciary detailing plans to 
implement the requirements described in this subsection.
    (e) Protection for Refugees.--Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to prevent a Priority Hong Kong Resident from seeking refugee 
status under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
U.S.C. 1157) or requesting asylum under section 208 of such Act (8 
U.S.C. 1158).

SEC. 8. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) In General.--On an annual basis, the Secretary of State and the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with other Federal 
agencies, as appropriate, shall submit a report to the appropriate 
congressional committees, detailing for the previous fiscal year--
            (1) the number of Hong Kong SAR residents who have applied 
        for U.S. visas or immigration benefits, disaggregated by visa 
        type or immigration benefit, including asylum, refugee status, 
        temporary protected status, and lawful permanent residence;
            (2) the number of approvals, denials, or rejections of 
        applicants for visas or immigration benefits described in 
        paragraph (1), disaggregated by visa type or immigration 
        benefit and basis for denial;
            (3) the number of pending refugee and asylum applications 
        for Hong Kong SAR residents, and the length of time and reason 
        for which such applications have been pending; and
            (4) other matters deemed relevant by the Secretaries 
        relating to efforts to protect and facilitate the resettlement 
        of refugees and victims of persecution in Hong Kong.
    (b) Form.--Each report under subsection (a) shall be submitted in 
unclassified form and published on a text-searchable, publicly 
available website of the Department of State and the Department of 
Homeland Security.

SEC. 9. STRATEGY FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON HONG KONG.

    (a) In General.--It is the policy of the United States--
            (1) to support the people of Hong Kong by providing safe 
        haven to Hong Kong SAR residents who are nationals of the PRC 
        following the enactment of the Hong Kong National Security Law 
        that places certain Hong Kong persons at risk of persecution; 
        and
            (2) to encourage like-minded nations to make similar 
        accommodations for Hong Kong people fleeing persecution by the 
        Government of the PRC.
    (b) Plan.--The Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads 
of other Federal agencies, as appropriate, shall develop a plan to 
engage with other nations, including the United Kingdom, on cooperative 
efforts to--
            (1) provide refugee and asylum protections for victims of, 
        and individuals with a fear of, persecution in Hong Kong, 
        either by Hong Kong authorities or other authorities acting on 
        behalf of the PRC;
            (2) enhance protocols to facilitate the resettlement of 
        refugees and displaced persons from Hong Kong;
            (3) identify and prevent the exploitation of immigration 
        and visa policies and procedures by corrupt officials; and
            (4) expedite the sharing of information, as appropriate, 
        related to the refusal of individual applications for visas or 
        other travel documents submitted by residents of the Hong Kong 
        SAR based on--
                    (A) national security or related grounds under 
                section 212(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality 
                Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)); or
                    (B) fraud or misrepresentation under section 
                212(a)(6)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
                U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)).
    (c) Report.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of 
other Federal agencies, as appropriate, shall submit a report on the 
plan described in subsection (b) to the appropriate congressional 
committees.

SEC. 10. REFUGEE STATUS FOR CERTAIN RESIDENTS OF HONG KONG.

    (a) In General.--Aliens described in subsection (b) may establish, 
for purposes of admission as a refugee under sections 207 of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157) or asylum under section 
208 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1158), that such alien has a well-founded 
fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, 
membership in a particular social group, or political opinion by 
asserting such a fear and a credible basis for concern about the 
possibility of such persecution.
    (b) Aliens Described.--
            (1) In general.--An alien is described in this subsection 
        if such alien--
                    (A) is a Priority Hong Kong Resident and--
                            (i) had a significant role in a civil 
                        society organization supportive of the protests 
                        in 2019 and 2020 related to the Hong Kong 
                        National Security Law and the encroachment on 
                        the autonomy of Hong Kong by the PRC;
                            (ii) was arrested, charged, detained, or 
                        convicted of an offense arising from their 
                        participation in an action as described in 
                        section 206(b)(2) of the United States-Hong 
                        Kong Policy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5726(b)(2)) 
                        that was not violent in nature; or
                            (iii) has had their citizenship, 
                        nationality, or residency revoked for having 
                        submitted to any United States Government 
                        agency a nonfrivolous application for refugee 
                        status, asylum, or any other immigration 
                        benefit under the immigration laws (as defined 
                        in section 101(a) of that Act (8 U.S.C. 
                        1101(a)));
                    (B) is a Priority Hong Kong Resident spouse or 
                child of an alien described in subparagraph (A); or
                    (C) is the parent of an alien described in 
                subparagraph (A), if such parent is a citizen of the 
                PRC and no other foreign state.
            (2) Other categories.--The Secretary of Homeland Security, 
        in consultation with the Secretary of State, may designate 
        other categories of aliens for purposes of establishing a well-
        founded fear of persecution under subsection (a) if such aliens 
        share common characteristics that identify them as targets of 
        persecution in the PRC on account of race, religion, 
        nationality, membership in a particular social group, or 
        political opinion.
            (3) Significant role.--For purposes of clause (i) of 
        subsection (b)(1)(A), a significant role shall include, with 
        respect to the protests described in such clause--
                    (A) an organizing role;
                    (B) a first aid responder;
                    (C) a journalist or member of the media covering or 
                offering public commentary;
                    (D) a provider of legal services to one or more 
                individuals arrested for participating in such 
                protests; or
                    (E) a participant who during the period beginning 
                on June 9, 2019, and ending on June 30, 2020, was 
                arrested, charged, detained, or convicted as a result 
                of such participation.
    (c) Age Out Protections.--For purposes of this section, a 
determination of whether an alien is a child shall be made using the 
age of the alien on the date on which the alien files an application 
for refugee or asylum status with the Secretary of Homeland Security.
    (d) Exclusion From Numerical Limitations.--Aliens provided refugee 
status under this section shall not be counted against the numerical 
limitation on refugees established in accordance with the procedures 
described in section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
U.S.C. 1157).
    (e) Reporting Requirements.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
        the enactment of this Act, and every 90 days thereafter, the 
        Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
        submit a report on the matters described in paragraph (2) to--
                    (A) the Committee on the Judiciary and the 
                Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; and
                    (B) the Committee on the Judiciary and the 
                Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of 
                Representatives.
            (2) Matters to be included.--Each report required by 
        paragraph (1) shall include--
                    (A) the total number of refugee and asylum 
                applications that are pending at the end of the 
                reporting period;
                    (B) the average wait-times for all applicants for 
                refugee status or asylum pending--
                            (i) a prescreening interview with a 
                        resettlement support center;
                            (ii) an interview with U.S. Citizenship and 
                        Immigration Services; and
                            (iii) the completion of security checks;
                    (C) the number of approvals, referrals including 
                the source of the referral, denials of applications for 
                refugee status or asylum, disaggregated by the reason 
                for each such denial; and
                    (D) the number of refugee circuit rides to 
                interview populations that would include Hong Kong SAR 
                completed in the last 90 days, and the number planned 
                for the subsequent 90-day period.
            (3) Form.--Each report required by paragraph (1) shall be 
        submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified 
        annex.
            (4) Public reports.--The Secretary of State shall make each 
        report submitted under this subsection available to the public 
        on the internet website of the Department of State.

SEC. 11. STATEMENT OF POLICY ON ENCOURAGING ALLIES AND PARTNERS TO MAKE 
              SIMILAR ACCOMMODATIONS.

    It is the policy of the United States to encourage allies and 
partners of the United States to make accommodations similar to the 
accommodations made in this Act for residents of the Hong Kong Special 
Administrative Region who are fleeing oppression by the Government of 
the People's Republic of China.

SEC. 12. TERMINATION.

    Except as provided in section 6 of this Act, this Act shall cease 
to have effect on the date that is 5 years after the date of the 
enactment of this Act.

            Passed the House of Representatives December 7, 2020.

            Attest:

                                             CHERYL L. JOHNSON,

                                                                 Clerk.

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