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[Congressional Record: July 27, 2000 (Extensions)]
[Page E1350-E1353]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []



                         HON. JOHN CONYERS, JR.

                              of Michigan

                    in the House of Representatives

                        Wednesday, July 26, 2000

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to introduce today the 
Restoration of Fairness in Immigration Law Act of 2000. Today is truly 
a seminal event when the Congressional Black, Hispanic and Asian 
Pacific Caucuses along with Members on both sides of the aisle unite 
behind a single piece of comprehensive immigration legislation.
  For too many years, Congress has witnessed a wave of anti-immigrant 
legislation, playing on our worst fears and prejudices. Since 1994, we 
have considered proposals to ban birthright citizenship, ban bilingual 
ballots, and slash family and employment based immigration, as well as 
to limit the number of asylees and refugees. In 1996 we passed laws 
denying legal residents the right to public benefits and denying 
immigrants a range of due process and fairness protections, including 
prohibiting courts from reviewing many INS decisions, requiring lawful 
permanent residents be deported for minor offenses committed years ago, 
and imposing mandatory detention on non-criminal asylum seekers.
  This year, I believe we have turned the corner, as business and 
organized labor have joined the advocacy community in recognizing the 
critical role immigrants play in our workplaces, our communities, our 
schools, and our culture. I particularly want to commend John Sweeney, 
President of the AFL-CIO, and the other 29 organizations who yesterday 
endorsed this historic piece of legislation. With the introduction of 
this comprehensive bill, I, along with the bipartisan list of co-
sponsors, the Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American Caucuses, and 
the many supporting community organizations, send a clear message that 
Congress needs to fix what we did in '96.
  Our work will not stop with the introduction of this legislation. We 
only have one month left in the legislative session, but I believe that 
many provisions of this bill can be passed into law, including 
providing Haitians and Central Americans with immigration parity, 
enacting late amnesty relief, and protecting battered immigrants.
  Attached is a summary of the key provisions of this legislation.

  Summary of the ``Restoration of Fairness in Immigration Law Act of 


            Subtitle A.--Judicial Review (Sections 101-107)

       Repeals all of the provisions from the Illegal Immigration 
     Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (``IIRIRA'') 
     which strip the courts of jurisdiction over immigration-
     related matters. It returns court jurisdiction to exactly 
     what it was before IIRIRA.

              Subtitle B.--Fairness in Removal Proceedings

       Sec. 111. Burden of Proof.--IIRIRA created a higher 
     threshold for persons seeking to enter the U.S. by requiring 
     them to establish their admissibility ``clearly and beyond 
     doubt.'' This section implements a ``clear and convincing 
     evidence'' standard, which is the same standard INS applies 
     in deportation cases.
       Sec. 112. Withdrawal of Application for Admission.--Creates 
     a presumption in favor of granting a request for permission 
     to withdraw an application for admission to depart from the 
     United States immediately, unless an immigration judge has 
     rendered a decision on the admission seeker's admissibility.
       Sec. 113. Absences Outside the Control of the Alien.--Under 
     IIRIRA, a person with lawful permanent resident status is 
     subject to a full inspection upon returning from a trip 
     abroad if he has been absent from the United States for a 
     continuous period of 180 days. This section changes the time 
     period from 180 days to a year or longer in some situations, 
     which comports with INS's current procedures.

[[Page E1351]]

       Sec. 114. Reinstatement of Removal Orders Against Persons 
     Illegally Reentering.--Under IIRIRA, immigrants who reenter 
     the United States after being previously removed must be 
     removed from the country without any right to judicial 
     review. This provision provides for a hearing before an 
     immigration judge and an opportunity to seek relief from 

                   Subtitle C.--Fairness in Detention

       Sec. 121. Restoring Discretionary Authority.--Restores pre-
     IIRIRA law granting discretionary authority to release 
     immigrants from detention who do not pose a risk to persons 
     or property and are likely to appear for future proceedings.
       Sec. 122. Periodic Review of Detention Determinations.--
     Eliminates indefinite detention without review that resulted 
     from IIRIRA's changes to detention provisions. It requires 
     mandatory review every 90 days.
       Sec. 123. Limitation on Indefinite Detention.--Establishes 
     a one year ceiling on the time an individual can be detained 
     while waiting to be removed, so long as the individual is not 
     a risk to the community and is not a flight risk.
       Sec. 124. Pilot Program.--Requires a pilot program to 
     determine the viability of supervision of foreign nationals 
     subject to detention through means other than confinement in 
     a penal setting, so long as the individual is not a risk to 
     the community and is not a flight risk.
       Sec. 125. Mandatory Detention.--IIRIRA requires mandatory 
     detention for all individuals involved in expedited 
     proceedings. This section provides for release unless the 
     detainees are risks to the community or flight risks.
       Sec. 126. Right to Counsel.--Would allow attorneys, with 
     the consent of their clients, to make limited appearances in 
     bond, custody, detention, or removal immigration proceedings.

 Subtitle D.--Consular Review of Visa Applications (Sections 131-132).

       Incorporates the ``Consular Review Act of 1999'' (H.R. 
     1156) introduced by Rep. Frank (D-MA) to require the 
     Secretary of State to set up a Board of Visa Appeals that 
     would have authority to review any discretionary decision of 
     a consular officer regarding the denial, cancellation, or 
     revocation of an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa or petition, 
     or the denial of an application for a waiver of any ground of 
     inadmissibility under the INA.


     Subtitle A.--Increased Fairness and Equity Concerning Removal 

       Sec. 201. Exclusion for Crime Involving ``Moral 
     Turpitude.''--Eliminates exclusion from the United States 
     under IIRIRA for acts of moral turpitude which may have 
     constituted the elements of a crime but have not led to a 
       Sec. 202. Aggravated Felony Provisions. (a). ``Illicit 
     Trafficking''--Excepts a single offense of simple possession 
     of a controlled substance from the ``aggravated felony'' 
     category created by IIRIRA if it is the person's first 
     controlled substance offense. (b). ``Crimes of Violence and 
     Theft Offenses''--Changes the definition of violence and 
     theft offenses that are considered to be ``aggravated 
     felonies'' under IIRIRA from offenses for which the sentence 
     was imprisonment for at least one year to offenses for which 
     the sentence was imprisonment for at least five years. (c). 
     ``Alien Smuggling''--Limits the ``alien smuggling'' category 
     to offenses committed for the purpose of commercial gain. 
     (d). Waiver.--Provides discretionary authority to disregard 
     convictions for aggravated felonies that did not result in 
     incarceration for more than one year. (e). Conforming Change 
     Concerning Removal of Nonpermanent Residents.--Repeals a 
     IIRIRA provision that bars nonpermanent resident aliens who 
     have been convicted of an aggravated felony from being 
     eligible for discretionary relief from removal.
       Sec. 203. Definition of ``Conviction'' and ``Term of 
     Imprisonment.''--Modifies IIRIRA's definition of 
     ``conviction'' to provide that an adjudication or judgment of 
     guilt that has been expunged, deferred, annulled, 
     invalidated, withheld, or vacated; an order of probation 
     without entry of judgment; or any similar disposition will 
     not be considered a conviction for purposes of the INA. Also 
     strikes the provision in that definition which states that 
     any reference to a ``term of imprisonment'' or ``sentence'' 
     is deemed to include the period of incarceration or 
     confinement ordered by the court regardless of any suspension 
     of the imposition or execution of the imprisonment or 
       Sec. 204. Definition of ``Crimes of Moral Turpitude.''--
     IIRIRA provided for deportation when an alien is convicted of 
     a crime involving moral turpitude for which a sentence of one 
     year or longer may be imposed. This section limits 
     deportation on this basis to cases where the offense was 
     serious enough to result in incarceration for a year or more.
       Sec. 205. Cancellation of Removal for LPRs (formerly known 
     as section 212(c) relief).--Restores discretion to grant 
     relief to long-time legal permanent residents who have 
     committed minor criminal offenses. Repeals IIRIRA's stop-time 
     rule so that lawful permanent residents can continue to 
     accumulate their permanent resident status in the U.S.
       Sec. 206. Cancellation of Removal for Non-Citizen (formerly 
     known as suspension of deportation).--IIRIRA replaced 
     suspension of deportation relief with ``cancellation of 
     removal'' relief which significantly narrowed eligibility for 
     equitable relief. This section reverses IIRIRA by replacing 
     the cancellation of removal provisions with the previous 
     suspension of deportation provisions.
       Sec. 207. Retroactive Changes in Removal Grounds.--Reverses 
     retroactive changes made by IIRIRA by providing that an 
     immigrant will not be found to be removable for committing 
     any offense that was not a ground for removal or deportation 
     when the offense occurred (e.g., the ``aggravated felony'' 
     classification will apply only to an offense that was defined 
     as an ``aggravated felony'' when the offense occurred).
       Sec. 208. Lawful Permanent Residents Removed Under 
     Retroactive.--Permits former lawful permanent residents who 
     have been removed from the U.S. to return and apply for 
     212(c) relief as it previously existed or for cancellation of 
     removal under the provisions of this bill. Applies to LPRs 
     who were (1) removed for a criminal offense that was not a 
     basis for removal when it was committed; (2) removed for 
     criminal offense that is not a basis for removal when this 
     bill is enacted; or (3) removed for a criminal offense for 
     which relief would have been available but for the enactment 
     of AEDPA or IIRIRA.

                     Subtitle B.--Exclusion Grounds

       Sec. 211. Failure To Attend Removal Proceedings.--Limits 
     the applicability of the five-year bar to admissibility that 
     IIRIRA imposed on persons who fail to attend or remain in 
     attendance at removal proceedings to situations where the 
     individual acted willfully.
       Sec. 212. Violation of Student Visa Conditions.--Limits the 
     applicability of the five-year bar to admissibility that 
     IIRIRA imposed on persons who violate a term or condition of 
     their nonimmigrant student visas to situations where the 
     student acted willfully.
       Sec. 213. False Claims to Citizenship.--Limits the 
     applicability of an IIRIPA provision which made making a 
     false claim to citizenship for an immigration benefit a basis 
     for exclusion or deportation. INS will be required to prove 
     that a claim of citizenship was not only false, but was also 
     in fact willfully made by the individual.
       Sec. 214. Minor Criminal Offenses.--Provides a waiver of 
     inadmissibility based on a controlled substance violation for 
     which the alien was not incarcerated for a period exceeding 
     one year.
       Sec. 215. Bars to Admissibility.--Under IIRIRA, a person 
     unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 
     days but less than 1 year who then voluntarily departs from 
     the United States is barred from reentering the United States 
     for 3 years. A person who is unlawfully present in the United 
     States for 1 year or more and then voluntarily departs is 
     barred from reentering the United States for 10 years. This 
     section reduces the 3 and 10 year bars to admissibility to 1 
     and 3 years, respectively.


                 Subtitle A.--Reuniting Family Members

       Sec. 301. Visa for Spouses and Children of Permanent 
     Residents.--Provides for a visitor's visa permitting family 
     members to join their lawful permanent resident spouse or 
     parent in the United States while waiting for an immigrant 
     visa number. Also makes a visitor's visa available to persons 
     waiting for an immigrant visa number on the basis of their 
     status as battered immigrants.
       Sec. 302. Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Refugees.--Under 
     current law, when children reach the age of 21, they are 
     classified as ``sons and daughters'' and lose their 
     entitlement to refugee status when accompanying or following 
     to join a parent who is a refugee. This section provides 
     refugee status for older children when it is warranted by 
     unusual circumstances or to preserve family unity.
       Sec. 303. Unmarried Sons and Daughters and Asylees.--
     Provides asylee status to unmarried sons and daughters who 
     are accompanying or following to join a parent who is a 
     refugee when such a benefit is warranted by unusual 
       Sec. 304. Processing Delays.--Provides protection against 
     INS and State Department delays in processing by requiring 
     the determination of an applicant's eligibility to be based 
     on the beneficiary's age 90 days after the date on which the 
     application was filed. Also incorporates H.R. 2448 introduced 
     by Rep. Mink (D-HI) to assure that immigrants do not have to 
     wait longer for an immigrant visa as a result of a 
     reclassification because of the naturalization of a parent or 

        Subtitle B.--Limited Waiver of Grounds of Admissibility

       Sec. 311. 212(i) Waivers.--IIRIRA added a hardship 
     provision requiring the applicant to establish that the 
     waiver is needed to avoid causing ``extreme hardship'' to his 
     or her spouse or parent. This section retains a general 
     hardship requirement, but it does not require a showing of 
     ``extreme'' hardship. IIRIRA also made persons present in the 
     United States without being admitted or paroled inadmissible, 
     and this section provides a discretionary waiver of that new 
     ground of inadmissibility.
       Sec. 312. Document Fraud.--Under IIRIRA, this waiver is 
     limited to spouses and children. The reasons for permitting 
     relief in

[[Page E1352]]

     cases where the alien was acting solely to help a spouse or a 
     child apply with equal force to the case in which the alien 
     was trying to help a parent or non-minor son or daughter. 
     Relief obviously should be available in both situations.
       Sec. 313. New General Waiver.--Waives inadmissibility in 
     unusual circumstances (including victims of a battering or 
     extreme cruelty by a spouse or other relative) for 
     humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is 
     otherwise in the public interest. Applies to cases in which 
     the applicant is inadmissible because of a failure to attend 
     removal proceedings, for unintentionally violating the 
     conditions of a student visa, for having been removed 
     previously, and for being unlawfully present in the United 

Subtitle C.--Eliminating Unfairness and Waste in Section 245(i) Waivers 
                           (Section 321-322)

       Makes section 245(i) of the INA a permanent provision. 
     Provides a waiver of inadmissibility on the basis of an 
     unlawful presence in the United States in cases where the 
     unlawful presence occurred during a time when the person 
     involved would have been able to become a lawful permanent 
     resident but for a gap in the life of section 245(i).

    Subtitle D.--Equitable Procedures Concerning Voluntary Departure

       Sec. 331. Time Allowed for Voluntary Departure.--IIRIRA 
     limits grants of voluntary departure to a 120-day period. 
     This section repeals that limit and permits the length of 
     time for voluntary departure to be based on the circumstances 
     in a particular case.
       Sec. 332. Voluntary Departure Bonds.--Eliminates the 
     mandatory requirement that an lien must post a bond as a 
     condition for receiving voluntary departure at the conclusion 
     of removal proceedings and instead leaves this matter up to
       Sec. 333. Automatic Penalties.--Eliminates automatic 
     penalties for failing to depart pursuant to a grant of 
     voluntary departure.

                 Subtitle E.--Public Charge (Sec. 341)

       Eliminates the requirement of an affidavit of support as a 
     condition for admissibility, but it permits using such an 
     affidavit as evidence that the applicant for admission should 
     not be excluded as a person who is likely to become a public 
     charge. Also reduces the minimum income requirement for 
     persons who sponsor the immigrants from 125% of the Federal 
     poverty line to 100%.


         Subtitle A.--Increased Fairness in Asylum Proceedings

       Sec. 401. Time Limits on Asylum Applications.--Eliminates 
     the requirement that an asylum applicant must establish that 
     his application was filed within one year of his arrival at 
     the United States or justify the delay on the basis of 
     extraordinary circumstances.
       Sec. 402. Gender-Based Persecution.--Adds a provision to 
     the definition of a ``refugee'' which specifies that 
     persecution on account of gender will be deemed to fall 
     within the ``particular social group'' category for asylum 
       Sec. 403. Cap on Adjust From Asylee to Legal Permanent 
     Resident.--Eliminates cap of 10,000 on the number of 
     individuals who can change their status from ``asylee'' to 
     ``lawful permanent resident'' in any fiscal year. Provides 
     that the President will set the numerical limitation before 
     the beginning of each fiscal year.
       Sec. 404. Withholding of Removal.--Individuals who have 
     been convicted of certain offenses are currently ineligible 
     for withholding of deportation even if there is a high 
     probability that they will be persecuted. This section would 
     limit that exclusion to individuals who were sentenced to an 
     aggregate term of imprisonment of more than five years and 
     are considered to be a danger to the United States.

      Subtitle B.--Increased Fairness and Rationality in Refugee 
                        Consultations (Sec. 411)

       Refugee Admissions Consultation. Changes the time for the 
     President's report on refugee admissions from the beginning 
     of each fiscal year to the date when he or she submits his or 
     her budget proposal to Congress.

                        LEGALIZATION PROCEEDINGS

                Subtitle A.--Naturalization Proceedings

       Sec. 501. Funds for Naturalization Proceedings.--
     Establishes a fund that will be used to reduce the backlog of 
     naturalization applications to no more than six months. It 
     would also provide funding for more expeditious processing of 
     visa petitions, adjustment of status applications, and work 
     authorization requests.
       Sec. 502-506. Cambodian and Vietnamese Military Veterans.--
     Exempts Cambodian and Vietnamese naturalization applicants 
     from the English language requirement if they served with 
     special guerilla units or irregular forces operating in 
     support of the United States during the Vietnam War (or were 
     spouses or widows of such persons on the day on which such 
     persons applied for admission as refugees). Also provides 
     special consideration with civics requirement.

Subtitle B.--Parity in Treatment for Refugees From Central America and 
                       Haiti (Sections 511--516)

       Incorporates the ``Central American and Haitian Parity Act 
     of 1999'' (H.R. 2722) introduced by Reps. Smith (R-NJ) and 
     Gutierrez (D-IL) to extend the same opportunity to become 
     LPRs to eligible nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador, 
     Honduras, and Haiti, as currently provided to Cubans and 
     Nicaraguans under NACARA.

 Subtitle C.--Equality of Treatment for Women's Citizenship (Sections 

       Incorporates the ``Restoration of Women's Citizenship Act'' 
     (H.R. 2493) introduced by Rep. Eshoo (D-CA) and Walsh (R-NY), 
     which grants posthumous citizenship to American women who 
     married alien men before September 1922 and died before they 
     could take advantage of the procedures set up by Congress to 
     regain their citizenship in 1951.

             Subtitle D.--Refugees from Liberia (Sec. 531)

       Authorizes lawful permanent resident status for Liberian 
     refugees who are in the United States under a Deferred 
     Enforced Departure Order executed by President Clinton on 
     September 27, 1999.

       Subtitle E.--Previously Granted Amnesty Rights (Sec. 541)

       Incorporates the text of the ``Legal Amnesty Restoration 
     Act of 1999'' (H.R. 2125) introduced by Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-
     TX) to repeal jurisdictional restrictions imposed by Congress 
     on the courts in IIRIRA with respect to certain outstanding 
     claims for legalization and work permits under the 
     Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

           Subtitle F.--Legal Amnesty Restoration (Sec. 551)

       Incorporates the text of the ``Date of Registry Act'' (H.R. 
     4138) introduced by Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-TX) and Rep. Luis 
     Gutierrez (D-IL) to amend the INA to permit the Attorney 
     General to create a record of lawful admission for permanent 
     residence for certain aliens who entered the United States 
     prior to 1986. This permits them to become lawful permanent 
     residents of the United States.

         Subtitle G.--Asian American Visa Petitions (Sec. 561)

       Incorporates the text of the ``American Asian Justice Act 
     of 1999'' (H.R. 1128) by Rep. Millender-McDonald (D-CA), 
     which grants certain individuals born in the Philippines or 
     Japan who were fathered by United States citizens the right 
     to file visa petitions in lieu of their parents and other 

                     IMMIGRANTS (SECTIONS 601-615)

       The provisions in this title were taken from the ``Battered 
     Immigrant Women Protection Act of 1999'' (H.R. 3083) 
     introduced by Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Morella (R-MD), 
     and Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX), which continues the work that 
     began with the passage of the first Violence Against Women 
     Act in 1994 (``VAWA 1994''). IIRIRA drastically reduced 
     access to VAWA immigration relief for battered immigrant 
     women and children. Title VII restores and expands the 
     provisions of VAWA which provide access to a variety of legal 
     protections for battered immigrants.


       Sec. 701.--Incorporates section 101(b) of the ``Helping to 
     Improve Technology Education and Achievement Act of 2000'' 
     (H.R. 3983) introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. D. 
     Dreier (R-CA) to allow unused visas from FY 1999 and FY 2000 
     to be recaptured for future use.


       Sec. 801. Board of Immigration Appeals.--Adds definition of 
     ``appellate immigration judge'' to the existing definition of 
     ``immigration judge'' and specifies that the Attorney General 
     may delegate authority to the appellate immigration judges.
       Sec. 802. Forfeitures.--Limits the seizure and forfeiture 
     of a vehicle used to harbor or smuggle an alien to cases in 
     which the purpose of harboring or smuggling the alien was for 
     commercial advantage or private financial gain.
       Sec. 803. Communications With the INS.--Repeals a provision 
     in IIRIRA which prohibits any federal, state or local 
     government official from preventing or restricting any 
     government entity from sending to or receiving information 
     from INS regarding the citizenship status or immigration 
     status of any individual, or maintaining such information.
       Sec. 804. Authority To Permit State Personnel To Carry Out 
     Immigration Officer Functions.--Repeals provision which 
     allows the Attorney General to enter into agreements with 
     State and local governments to have enumerated immigration 
     functions handled by local law enforcement agencies.
       Sec. 805. Parole Authority.--Changes the standard for 
     determining when to parole a person into the United States 
     temporarily from ``for urgent humanitarian reasons or 
     significant public benefit,'' to ``for emergent reasons or 
     for reasons deemed strictly in the public interest.''
       Sec. 806. Border Patrol.--Incorporates the text of the 
     ``Border Patrol Recruitment and Retention Act of 1999'' (H.R. 
     1881) introduced by Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX) to provide for an 
     increase to the GS-11 grade level for Border Patrol agents 
     who have completed one year of services at a GS-09 grade 
     level and who have fully successful performance rating. It 
     provides for an Office of Border Patrol Recruitment and 

[[Page E1353]]

       Sec. 807. Erroneous Asylum Application.--Eliminates two 
     IIRIRA provisions limiting the rights of persons seeking 
     asylum. Section 208(d)(6) of the INA prohibits foreign 
     nationals who have knowingly made a ``frivolous'' asylum 
     application from ever receiving any benefit under the INA 
     Sec. 208(d)(7) states that nothing in the asylum provisions 
     of the INA can be construed to create a legally enforceable 
     substantive or procedural right or benefit.
       Sec. 808. Authorization of Appropriations for 
     Implementation of Act.--Authorizes appropriations for the 
     various provisions included in the Act.

                       TITLE IX.--EFFECTIVE DATES

       Sets forth various effective dates with regard to the Act's 


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