Monday, September 2, 2019

Private Bills: Last Ditch, Not Great Option

A reader reached out in response to my post yesterday about the fate of Maria Isabel Bueso, who is facing deportation due to the end of medical deferred action. This reader opined: "The solution is a private bill," noting, "If that happens, at the very least, deportation will be postponed."

Private bills are, indeed, a last ditch effort for individuals facing deportation in extreme circumstances. This is when Congress proposes legislation that will grant immigration status to a single individual or an individual and their immediate family members. They are rarely successful, though you can check out Kevin's story from 2012 about a successful private bill for Victor Chukwueke.

As for our current story, California Representative Mark DeSaulnier in on the case. He has introduced a private bill to aid Bueso just days ago.

That's terrific. But it's important to note that this private bill, standing alone, will not postpone Bueso's deportation.

It used to be the case that as long as a private bill was pending, that fact alone deferred deportation. So an interested Congressman/woman could submit a new private bill for the same individual, year upon year, and, even if no action was taken on that bill, the pending nature of the bill bought the individual needed time in the United States.

Then, as I wrote about in 2017, the rules changed: 

[Then] Acting Director of ICE (Thomas Homan) wrote a letter to the chair of the Judiciary Committee. In that letter, he stated that ICE would no longer stay deportations for those with pending private bills (there are around [25] pending) unless ICE received a written request from the chair of the House or Senate judiciary committees, or an appropriate subcommittee. Homan further said that ICE would only grant one stay of removal for a maximum of six-months, with the possibility of a one-time 90-day extension thereafter.

So - attention Representative DeSaulnier. You've got a little more work to do. You've got to convince Jerry Nadler (NY) to write that letter ASAP. That will buy Bueso, at most, 9 months, while you work to convince Congress and the President that Bueso should be allowed to remain in this country.


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