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[Congressional Record: March 19, 2001 (Senate)]
[Page S2474-S2478]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


      By Mr. HATCH:
  S. 560. A bill for the relief of Rita Mirembe Revell (a.k.a. Margaret 
Rita Mirembe); to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a private relief 
bill for Rita Mirembe Revell. Rita is a 15-year-old child from Uganda 
who was brought to this country in 1994. When Rita was 18 months old 
she was left with the Daughters of Charity Society, a Catholic 
organization in Kampala, Uganda. Rita was an orphan, abandoned with no 
known family.
  Rita has resided in the United States under a student visa since 
1994. As an orphan the only parents she has ever known are her American 
guardians, who have sponsored Rita since she was three years old. They 
want very much to adopt Rita, but they have been unable to get around 
the mess of international red tape. The Ugandan Government has very 
strict policies concerning adoption by foreign nationals. Now as Rita 
approaches her 16th birthday she is in danger of being deported. Rita 
has formed an intimate bond with her American parents, who hope to 
complete the adoption as soon as possible. Papers for adoption have 
already been filed, while there are bureaucratic difficulties, the 
adoption is not contested by any party.
  Understandably, the family is concerned that Rita will be deported 
before her adoption is finalized. This bill simply gives Rita permanent 
residency so that she might remain with the only parents she has ever 
known while her adoption becomes final. Other immigration scenarios 
would require Rita to return to an unsafe country for an unknown period 
of time. She has no known family in Uganda. Her new life is in 
California where she was recently admitted to Loretto High School, an 
outstanding college preparatory high school.
  This bill gives Rita permanent resident status, which will allow her 
to remain in the country while the adoption process continues. It 
allows Rita to stay with her American parents in the country that she 
now calls home. The bill also offers the comfort of certainty for her 
  I hope that we can move quickly to grant this relief.
      By Mr. REID (for himself, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Dodd, Mr. 
        Graham, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Reed, Mr. Kerry, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. 
        Corzine, Mr. Durbin, and Mrs. Boxer):
  S. 562. A bill to amend the immigration and Nationality Act with 
respect to the record of admission for permanent residence in the case 
of certain aliens; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. REID, Mr. President, family reunification is the cornerstone of 
our immigration policy. It is truly one of the most visible areas in 
government policy in which we support and strengthen family values.
  Family unification translates into strong families and strong 
families build strong communities. For that reason I am introducing the 
Working Families Registry Act.
  This bill would allow immigrants who have been working and raising 
families in the country since and before 1986 to apply for permanent 
  In my home State of Nevada I have met with people who everyday fear 
being deported and separated from their families. They are married to 
Americans, have American children and have worked and been paying taxes 
for many years. They help and do not harm our industry and our economy.
  A change in the date of registry would help these families. This bill 
would solve the problem of immigrants who have been paying taxes, who 
have feared being deported and separated from their families.
  The Working Families Registry Act would update a provision of 
immigration law known as ``registry.''
  The registry provision originated in a 1929 law and in 1958 that law 
became available to foreigners who had entered the country illegally or 
who had overstayed. This criteria remains today and sets a required 
date for which continuous residence must be shown in order to qualify 
for permanent U.S. residency. The date of registry currently sits at 
1972, and was last adjusted in 1986. My legislation would update the 
date of registry from 1972 to 1986. A change in the date of registry is 
  First, it would address the uncertainty of taxpaying immigrants who 
would qualify for residence under this bill. Many of these immigrants 
live in fear of being separated from their families, having their 
worker's permits stripped and their residency status revoked.
  Secondly, the legislation would help strengthen the immigrant 
contributions to our national economy, tax base, and social fabric. The 
guaranteed benefits of residence (e.g., access to basic health care and 
education) provide for a more productive and effective workforce.
  Third, we recognize today, as so many legislators did in the past 
that immigrants who have remained in the country for an extended period 
of time are highly unlikely to leave.
  Fourth, if an update of the registry is not achieved, the validity of 
this concept will be meaningless when this issue emerges in the future.
  Finally, Americans care about this issue.
  A recent poll conducted by the National Immigration Forum found that 
55 percent of Americans strongly favor legalizing a limited number of 
undocumented immigrants. That is, those immigrants who have been 
raising their families and paying their taxes--and who can prove they 
have been in the United States for more than 5 years.

[[Page S2475]]

  I believe it is in America's interest to pass The Working Families 
Registry Act.
  Immigrants' relationships with the United States are predicated by 
the recognition of America's greatness. And, keeping families together, 
keeps America great.
  Please join my efforts to make this bill law, as we continue to seek 
ways to keep America's working families together.
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