U.S. Authorities Cut Bill Deportation Delays for Immigrants

Image courtesy of SEIU Local 1

In some special immigration cases, Congress can decide on whether or not to legalize a person’s immigration status in specific circumstances, often referred to as “private bills.” While this is rare, when this occurs, the person’s deportation order is delayed, sometimes for years, in order to await the outcome of this process. According to the Associate Press, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan sent a letter to Congress, saying that the agency will now only delay deporting immigrants with legislation for up to six months with the possibility of one 90-day extension. The letter also said that lawmakers and committee members must now formally ask authorities to delay deportations.

Democratic Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein of California criticized this decision to alter longstanding practices without consulting Congress. “To threaten to deport a handful of immigrants before Congress can act to protect them shows just how far this Administration will go,” they said in a joint statement.

There are very few Congressional “private bills” that are presented and even less are passed, with fewer than 94 enacted from 1986 to 2013. However, they are still important pieces of legislation that help immigrant families in difficult situations. One example is the case of a Japanese widow of a U.S. Marine who gave birth to their son after the Marine was killed in Iraq. Another example is a young a man whose mother was killed in a U.S. car crash when he was teen, and who was never legally adopted.

It is clear that this is another tactic that the administration is looking to implement as part of their mass deportation plan, which President Trump pledged he would execute during his campaign.

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Sara Roncero-Menendez is the Online Editor for Long Island Wins. Prior to joining the Long Island Wins team, she graduate from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and worked as a reporter for publications like Mashable, The Huffington Post, and PSFK. She became involved in immigration issues and advocacy while working towards her Masters degree at The University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. After joining the Graduate Employee Organization Local 6300, she worked on helping international and undocumented students work with the administration to get fair financial aid and fellowship opportunities. Sara also works on issues of representation in mass media, including film and television, and works on media reviews and podcast.