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Immigration and Border Riders in FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations

In addition to funding the operations of the federal government for the remainder of the 2016 Fiscal Year, the omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress in December includes more than a dozen “riders,” or policy requirements, related to immigration or borders. Of major note are significant provisions liberalizing the H-2B visa program for temporary workers in non-agriculture positions (DHS Appropriations, Section 565 and DOL Appropriations, Sections 111-114), new fees for heavy users of H-1B and L-1 visas (Division O “Other Matters,” Title IV, Section 402(g)), and increased security changes to the Visa Waiver program (Division O, Title II).

Riders are normal for appropriations bills, and many of the riders this year are simply continued from previous years. However, some are new, and in a few cases, include the full text of other legislation that had not previously passed. The table below summarizes the riders, and indicates whether it is a new provision or continued or modified from previous years. Most of these riders are contained in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which is Division “F” of the omnibus bill, although others are included in the Department of Labor Appropriations (Division H), and two as stand-alone provisions in the omnibus.

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