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[Congressional Record: September 20, 2000 (Extensions)]
[Page E1549]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []



                          HON. JERROLD NADLER

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                     Wednesday, September 20, 2000

  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing the Immigrant Health 
and Safety Act. I hope my Colleagues will join me in supporting this 
legislation designed to correct a very serious consequence of major 
immigration reform legislation that was passed into law in 1996.
  Prior to 1996, relief from deportation was possible for long-term 
immigrants of good moral character who had community ties in the U.S., 
if deportation would prove a cruel hardship for themselves or their 
families. No more than 4,000 such grants are permitted each year--and 
only to long-term, non-criminal immigrants with family and community 
ties in the U.S.
  In 1996, Congress severely limited this kind of relief. Even a cruel 
hardship to an individual--such as an extreme medical condition--cannot 
prevent that individual's deportation. Now only a showing that 
someone's deportation will result in extreme and unusual hardship to 
his/her immediate relative who is a legal permanent resident or U.S. 
citizen can prevent deportation.
  In other words, current law permits removal of long-term immigrants 
even if it would mean extreme medical hardship, disability, or even 
death. Immigrants who suffer form eminently treatable conditions in the 
United States could be subjected to suffering or perhaps death if 
forced to leave. They are also forced to leave their loved ones behind 
and sever ties with communities they have been a part of for years.
  Historically, humanitarianism and family unity have been principal 
policies underpinning U.S. immigration law. For a small group of 
immigrants, current law threatens individual lives, community 
integrity, and the well being of immigrant families. Our bill would 
allow the Attorney General discretion to cancel their removal from the 
U.S. if she determined their cases had merit. The bill would not 
increase the number of grants of relief available each year beyond the 
4,000 already permitted in current law, but would remove an undue 
burden of the 1996 law on a small group of immigrants who have lived in 
the U.S. for many years.
  Again, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and pass it 
as swiftly as possible.