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Thursday, July 26, 2001
Contact: Deb Fiddelke or Mike Buttry, 202-224-4224

Hagel Immigration Legislation Passed by Judiciary Committee Washington, D.C. - The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to extend the deadline to apply for lawful permanent residency under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The deadline for application expired on April 30, 2001. This legislation would move the deadline for application back one year to April 30, 2002.

"I'm pleased the Judiciary Committee has acted on this," Hagel said. "This is a matter of fairness. Qualified individuals were not given enough time to learn about, understand and apply to change their status under section 245(i). Additionally, the INS did not have enough staff to provide sufficient services to those seeking to change their status. Temporarily extending the deadline for application by one year will grant all those who qualify the necessary time to apply."

Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act allows undocumented aliens, currently residing in the U.S., who are eligible to become permanent residents, to adjust their immigration status without leaving the United States, in exchange for a $1,000 fee. To benefit from 245 (i) an immigrant is required to have been living in the United States prior to December 21, 2000 and must qualify for permanent residency based on family or work relationships. This provision allows families to remain intact and businesses to retain valued employees.

The Committee amended the bill to state that those applying under 245(i) for permanent residency must establish a family or work relationship by the date the bill is enacted. The bill will now be considered by the entire Senate. President Bush recently expressed support for extending the 245 (i) deadline.

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