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HR 1452 IH

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1452

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit certain long-term permanent resident aliens to seek cancellation of removal under such Act, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 4, 2001

Mr. FRANK (for himself, Mr. FROST, Mr. DIAZ-BALART, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Mr. BALDACCI, Mr. CAPUANO, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. FILNER, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mrs. MINK of Hawaii, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. RODRIGUEZ, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, and Mr. LANGEVIN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit certain long-term permanent resident aliens to seek cancellation of removal under such Act, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Family Reunification Act of 2001'.

SEC. 2. RESTORING ATTORNEY GENERAL'S DISCRETION TO GRANT CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL TO LONG-TERM PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS WHEN APPROPRIATE.

    (a) CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR CERTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENTS- Section 240A(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229b(a)) is amended to read as follows:

    `(a) CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR CERTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENTS-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General may cancel removal in the case of an alien who is inadmissible or deportable from the United States, if the alien--

        `(A) has been an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence for not less than 5 years;

        `(B) has resided in the United States continuously for 7 years after having been admitted in any status; and

        `(C) has not been convicted of--

          `(i) an aggravated felony or felonies for which the alien has been sentenced, in the aggregate, to a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more; or

          `(ii) in the case of sentencing imposed under a system of indeterminate sentencing (as defined in section 20101 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 13701)), an aggravated felony or felonies for which--

            `(I) the midpoint of the statutory range of sentence applicable to the felony or felonies is, in the aggregate, 5 years or more; or

            `(II) the alien has served, in the aggregate, a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more.

      `(2) NO DANGER TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY- In the case of an alien convicted of an aggravated felony involving violence, the Attorney General may exercise the discretion described in paragraph (1) only after making a written determination that the action poses no danger to the safety of persons or property.

      `(3) DEFINITION OF TERM OF IMPRISONMENT- For purposes of this subsection (and any other determination under this Act made solely with respect to an alien whose removal is canceled under this subsection), section 101(a)(48)(B) shall be applied so as to exclude from the time periods defined in the section any period of suspension of the imposition or execution of a term of imprisonment or a sentence in whole or in part.

      `(4) RELEASE FROM DETENTION PENDING DECISION- Notwithstanding section 236(c)(2), the Attorney General may release an alien applying for cancellation of removal under this subsection, pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States, if the alien demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that the alien is not a threat to the community and is likely to appear for any scheduled proceeding. A decision relating to such release shall be made in accordance with a procedure that considers the severity of the offense committed by the alien.'.

    (b) CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR CERTAIN OTHER PERMANENT RESIDENTS FOR URGENT HUMANITARIAN REASONS OR SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC BENEFIT- Section 240A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229b) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `(f) CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR CERTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENTS FOR URGENT HUMANITARIAN REASONS OR SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC BENEFIT-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- In the case of an alien otherwise eligible for cancellation of removal under subsection (a), except that the alien has been convicted of an aggravated felony that renders the alien unable to satisfy the requirement in subsection (a)(1)(C), the Attorney General may cancel removal of the alien under such conditions as the Attorney General may prescribe, but only--

        `(A) on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons, significant public benefit (including assuring family unity), or any other sufficiently compelling reason; and

        `(B) after making a written determination that the cancellation of removal poses no danger to the safety of persons or property.

      `(2) RELEASE FROM DETENTION PENDING DECISION- Subsection (a)(4) shall apply to release of an alien applying for cancellation of removal under this subsection in the same manner as such subsection applies to an alien applying under subsection (a).'.

    (c) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect as if included in the enactment of section 304 of the Illegal Immigration

Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-208; 110 Stat. 3009-587).

SEC. 3. CHANGE IN CONDITIONS FOR TERMINATION OF PERIOD OF CONTINUOUS RESIDENCE OR CONTINUOUS PHYSICAL PRESENCE.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 240A(d)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229b(d)(1)) is amended to read as follows:

      `(1) TERMINATION OF CONTINUOUS PERIOD-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- For purposes of this section, any period of continuous residence or continuous physical presence in the United States of an alien shall be deemed to end upon the alien's failure to attend a proceeding under section 240, unless--

          `(i) the Attorney General determines not to seek a removal order in absentia under section 240(b)(5)(A) based on such failure;

          `(ii) any removal order entered in absentia under such section based on such failure is rescinded under section 240(b)(5)(C); or

          `(iii) the alien demonstrates that--

            `(I) the failure to appear was inadvertent or due to reasonable cause; and

            `(II) within a relatively brief period subsequent to such failure, the alien presented himself or herself in person to an immigration officer and made known the reasons for such failure.

        `(B) CONSTRUCTION- In a case described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A), the alien's failure to attend the proceeding under section 240 shall not be construed to cause a break in the continuity of residence or physical presence.'.

    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect as if included in the enactment of section 304 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-208; 110 Stat. 3009-587).

SEC. 4. RELIEF FOR CERTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS IN EXCLUSION, DEPORTATION, OR REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 240A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229b), an alien, whether physically present in the United States or not, who was lawfully admitted for permanent residence on April 1, 1997, and who is or was in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings on or after such date by reason of having committed a criminal offense before such date may--

      (1) request discretionary administrative relief from exclusion, deportation, or removal based on such offense under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act in effect on the date of the commission of such offense and without regard to the provisions of paragraphs (5) and (7) of section 309(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1101 note); and

      (2) appeal for administrative review of a denial (rendered before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act) of discretionary relief from exclusion, deportation, or removal based on such offense under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act in effect on the date of the commission of such offense and without regard to the provisions of paragraphs (5) and (7) of section 309(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1101 note).

    (b) NO DANGER TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY- In the case of an alien convicted of an aggravated felony involving violence, the Attorney General may reverse under subsection (a) a denial of discretionary relief rendered before the date of the enactment of this Act only after making a written determination that the action poses no danger to the safety of persons or property.

SEC. 5. APPLICATIONS FOR RELIEF.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT OF APPLICATION PROCESS- Notwithstanding section 240(c)(6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(6)) or any other limitation imposed by law on motions to reopen exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings, the Attorney General shall establish a process (whether through permitting the reopening of such a proceeding or otherwise) under which an alien, whether physically present in the United States or not, who is or was in such a proceedings before the date of the enactment of this Act (whether or not the alien has been excluded, deported, or removed as of such date)--

      (1) may apply (or reapply) for cancellation of removal and release from detention under section 240A of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by sections 2 and 3 of this Act, if the alien has become eligible for cancellation of removal as a result of one or more of the amendments made by such sections; or

      (2) may apply (or reapply) for discretionary relief under section 4 of this Act, if the alien is eligible for such relief.

    (b) PAROLE- The Attorney General should exercise the parole authority under section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)(A)) for the purpose of permitting aliens who are not physically present in the United States to participate in the process established under subsection (a). An alien so paroled shall not be treated as paroled into the United States for purposes of section 201(c)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151(c)(4)).

SEC. 6. PERMITTING CERTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS TO RETURN WITHOUT SEEKING ADMISSION.

    Section 101(a)(13)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(13)(C)) is amended--

      (1) in clause (iv), by adding `or' at the end;

      (2) by striking clause (v); and

      (3) by redesignating clause (vi) as clause (v).

END

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