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H.R. 4731 (114th): Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2016

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 14, 2016.


Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2016

This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to: (1) establish the number of annual refugee admissions at 60,000, (2) authorize the President to submit an adjustment recommendation to Congress for approval based upon humanitarian or national interest concerns, and (3) provide that the President must submit emergency refugee admission recommendations to Congress for approval.

The President shall (currently, may) terminate the refugee status of a person not entitled to such status.

Refugee status is terminated for an individual who applied for such status because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution in the country from which he or she sought refuge on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, but who has returned to such country absent changed conditions.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall, when processing refugee applications from individuals seeking refuge from a "country of particular concern," grant priority to minority religion applicants whose claims are based on persecution because of their religion.

DHS may conduct recurrent background security checks of an admitted refugee until the refugee adjusts to permanent resident status.

Waiver authorities are limited with respect to refugee inadmissibility and permanent resident status adjustment.

With respect to refugee status adjustment to permanent resident: (1) required U.S. residency is increased to three years; (2) an in-person DHS interview is required; (3) five-year reexaminations are required for a refugee whose status adjustment is refused; and (4) deportability grounds, with an exception for public charge grounds, shall be grounds for refusal of status adjustment.

Resettlement of any refugee may not be provided for in any state or locality where the governor, chief executive, or legislature has taken action disapproving such resettlement.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shall complete a refugee processing fraud study.

DHS shall: (1) establish a program to detect the use of fraudulent documents in refugee admissions applications, which shall include placement of fraud detection officers at screening locations; and (2) use digital recording technology to record USCIS refugee interviews.

A person may not be considered a refugee if such person fled from violence in his or her country of nationality (or of last habitual residence for a person with no nationality) if the violence: (1) was not specifically directed at the person; or (2) was specifically directed at the person but not because of that person's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Prior to U.S. refugee admission, DHS shall ensure that an alien is not a threat to U.S. national security based on a background check that includes a review of the alien's open source Internet interactions, including social media services.