Immigration Legislation Now Pending in Congress
May 16, 2001

Firstly, as of May 16, 2001, Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act has not been extended beyond April 30, 2001.

Among the bills now being considered by Congress, however, are at least 2 proposals for the extension of Section 245(i). A piece of legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative King (Republican, NY) would extend the deadline to accept applications to be covered under 245(i) through October 31, 2001. Another proposal, introduced by U.S. Representative Rangel (Democrat, NY) would extend the deadline even further, through April 30, 2002. Also, as has been well publicized, even the Bush administration has voiced support for the extension of Section 245(i).

Other immigration-related bills now pending before Congress, include:

  • A variety of “amnesty” type provisions that would grant permanent residence to individuals who can demonstrate good moral character and continuous presence in the U.S. for certain minimum periods (ranging from 4 years to 14 years, depending on the specific language of the proposed bill). It is important to note, however, that the chances of any such provision being enacted into law in the near future is anything but certain.
  • A variety of amendments to the harsh 1996 immigration/deportation provisions that have led to some extraordinarily troubling consequences for long time permanent residents (and their U.S. family) who have received criminal convictions, including some misdemeanors. In essence these amendments would give certain long time residents an opportunity to have humanitarian and U.S. family welfare considerations taken into account before being subjected to deportation because of their criminal conviction.

As a side note, the U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments on two cases involving the interpretation and application of these harsh 1996 provisions and whether they violate the due process guarantees of the U.S. constitution. So, whether by way of ameliorative legislation or U.S. Supreme Court intervention, it appears that the effects of the most inhumane provisions of the 1996 legislation will likely be reversed at some point in the not too distant future.

Other News for V Visa and Late Amnesty (CSS, LULAC class members) Applicants

As of April 2, 2001, U.S. consular posts abroad have been processing V visas for certain spouses and under 21 year old children of U.S. lawful permanent residents allowing them to enter the U.S. to live with their U.S. family members and await immigrant visa availability here in the U.S. To qualify, the spouse or child must have been petitioned more than 3 years ago. As far as such spouses and children now present in the U.S., the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service has announced that regulations spelling out an application procedure (allowing for all processing to take place in the U.S.) will likely be be published by the end of the month. Let’s wait and see.

Lastly, as part of the Legal Immigrant Family Equity Act, late amnesty applicants who are part of the CSS, LULAC or Zambrano class action lawsuits have been deemed eligible to apply for permanent residence. Up to this point, however, implementing regulations have yet to be published. According to an April 20, 2001 press release though, eligible applicants can expect a procedure (which will provide a 1 year window to submit such filings) to be in place by the end of the month. Again, let’s wait and see.

Copyright © 2001-2008, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois