A private bill introduced by a Member of Congress can sometimes prevent a person from being deported. If the private bill is passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, it will result in the person becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Rules of Procedure of the House Subcommittee on
Immigration and Claims for Private Bill re: Immigration
1. All requests for consideration of a private immigration bill shall commence with a letter to the Chairman of the Subcommittee from the author of such bill outlining the relevant facts in the case and attaching thereto all pertinent documents. Documentation will not be accepted if submitted by anyone other than the author of the bill. The following must be submitted in triplicate:
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(a) Date and place of birth of each beneficiary; addresses and telephone numbers of each beneficiary presently in the United States.
(b) Dates of all entries (legal and illegal) and departures from the United States, along with the type of visas used for admission; consulate where each beneficiary obtained a visa for entry to the United States; consulate where each beneficiary will be seeking a visa if one is made available.
(c) Status of all petitions and proceedings with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, including nonimmigrant or immigrant petitions that have been filed by the beneficiaries or on their behalf.
(d) Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of interested parties in the United States.
(e) Names, addresses, dates and places of birth, and immigration or citizenship status of all close relatives.
(f) Occupations, recent employment records, and salaries of all beneficiaries.
(g) Copies of all immigration related letters to and from agencies of the United States.
(h) Copies of all administrative and judicial decisions involving the beneficiaries’ case.
(i) A signed statement by each beneficiary, or the beneficiary’s guardian, that he or she desires the relief sought by the bill.
(j) An explanation as to how the failure to obtain the relief sought in the private bill will result in extreme hardship to the beneficiary or each beneficiary’s U.S. citizen spouse, parent or child.
(k) A signed statement by the author of the bill confirming that the author has met personally with the beneficiary or with members of the beneficiary’s family.
(l) In support of any private bill relating to adoption, the following additional information must accompany the request for Subcommittee action:
(1) Home-study of the prospective parents;
(2) Evidence of child support; and
(3) Statement detailing ages and occupations of natural parents and brothers and sisters.
(m) In support of a private bill on behalf of a doctor or nurse, the following additional information must accompany the request for Subcommittee action:
(1) Evidence of passage of the Federation Licensing Examination, or its equivalent, for doctors and Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School Exam (CGFNS) for nurses.
(2) Evidence of employment by the doctor or the nurse in a health manpower shortage area, or a recommendation by a U.S. Government Agency indicating the doctor or nurse’s services are needed.
(3) Evidence of substantial community ties over a long period of time. Extensive periods of employment give the Subcommittee some assurance there is every likelihood the doctor or nurse would remain employed in the area and provide medical services.
(4) Documentation as to a potential employer’s efforts to recruit U.S. citizens for the position. Such information shall include salary levels of other doctors or nurses on staff and an explanation as to recruitment techniques on employment of the beneficiary.
(n) In support of a private bill waiving grounds of exclusion or deportation relating to criminal activity, the following additional documents, if available, will be required.
(1) All records relating to offenses, including state, and local police records; and
(2) An affidavit from the beneficiary describing his or her criminal record in full.
(o) Private bills concerning beneficiaries who are receiving medical treatment will require documentation as to the availability of similar medical treatment in the beneficiary’s home country.
2. Each private bill must provide that the beneficiaries must apply for the benefits of the enacted law within a specified period of time, which shall be not more than two years from the date of enactment of the private law.
3. No private bill shall be scheduled for Subcommittee action until all administrative and judicial remedies are exhausted.
4. The Subcommittee will not intervene in deportation proceedings and will not request stays of deportation on behalf of beneficiaries of private bills, except as indicated in Rule 5.
5. The Subcommittee may, at a formal meeting, entertain a motion to request that the Immigration and Naturalization Service provide the Subcommittee with a departmental report on a beneficiary of a private bill. In the past, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has honored requests for departmental reports by staying deportation until final action is taken on the private bill. Only those cases designed to prevent extreme hardship to the beneficiary or a U.S. citizen spouse, parent, or child will merit a request for a report.
6. The Subcommittee may request reports on private bills from appropriate Federal agencies or Departments and shall await receipt of such reports before taking final action.
7. Only the author of a private bill shall be permitted to testify before the Subcommittee on behalf of the private bill. All requests to testify shall be addressed in writing to the Chairman of the Subcommittee.
8. Action on a private bill shall not be deferred more than once due to the failure of the author to appear and testify at a duly noticed hearing.
9. The Subcommittee shall take no further action on a private bill that has been tabled by the full Judiciary Committee.
10. Each of the following types of private bills shall be subject to a point of order unless its consideration is agreed to by a two-thirds vote of the Subcommittee:
(a) Bills not in compliance with these Rules.
(b) Bills that waive the two-year foreign residence requirement for doctors.
(c) Bills that waive any law regarding naturalization.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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