On October 2, 2013, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15), a comprehensive immigration reform bill modeled on Senate bill 744, which the Senate approved on June 27, 2013. As of October 6, the bill had 161 co-sponsors.

Certain provisions of the bill would accomplish the following:

  • Expand the scope of E-Verify and mandate its use, as well as substantially increase civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance;
  • Direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary to submit a strategy to effect border security (Southern Border Fencing Strategy and Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy);
  • Establish a biometric exit system at ports of entry;
  • Create new immigrant and nonimmigrant visa categories;
  • Make some significant changes to the H-1B/L visa program;
  • Change the PERM program by adding a $1,000 fee to the permanent labor certification process to be used for various specified programs for STEM education;
  • Expand dual intent visa categories to include E, F, H, L, O, P, V and W nonimmigrants;
  • Expand portability rules by allowing portability for O-1 visa holders, and extending the period of stay and employment authorization of (A), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (L), (O), (P), (Q), (R), and NAFTA nonimmigrants for whom petitions to extend have been timely filed until the petition or application is adjudicated; and
  • Allow visa revalidation within the U.S. for A, E, G, H, I, L, N, O, P, R, and W statuses.

Click here for a full text of the bill.