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Allowed to Stay in the US, But Not Eligible to Adjust Status

Author: Green Card Lawyer Alena Shautsova

One of the most peculiar cases in Immigration Law is when a person lives in the US and technically can apply for some sort relief, but is subject to an Immigration bar, most likely due to criminal issues. It is a tough case and can cause a person to be stuck in limbo, sometimes, indefinitely. The biggest problem with this scenario is that if the person leaves the country, he/she will not be able to come back, even if the person has resided in the US for decades.

So while one may be able to live in the US without ICE knocking on their door, he or she can suffer due to inability to travel, receive a work permit or reunite with the family overseas. There is but one remedy for these individuals, it is very rare and considered to be a “Shot in the Dark.” This remedy is a Private Bill.

A Private Bill is a law that will be passed specifically for the individual to either receive a permanent resident status or citizenship. It is given in rare cases of relief to deserving non-citizens. In other words, a person tells the government that yes, the law does not allow him or her to “become legal”, but, there are special, deserving circumstances and one benefited this country and/or will benefit this country in the future, and he/she deserve to have an exception to be made.

Only Congress has the authority to enact a private bill. The number one most important factor in justifying the use of a private immigration bill is hardship. Congress has the power to waive certain provisions of the immigration laws relating to grounds of inadmissibility, definitions of eligible immigrant categories, numerical limitations, and other provisions. Both the House and the Senate have their own set of rules governing their procedures on conducting private bills.

Much scrutiny over private bills has come about since its reported abuse throughout the 1940’s-1970’s making it more and more difficult to have a private bill seen before congress in connection with immigration relief. It is highly recommended that you speak to an experienced immigration attorney to discuss the appropriate course of action if presented with a situation similar to the one described above and determine whether or not you qualify to have your bill heard. While the bill can be brought only by the member of Congress, an Immigration attorney can assist in presenting the case: helping to reach out to the deputies, collecting documents, directing the individual.

A private bill is very, very hard to get granted. However, it is not impossible, and all depends on how bad one needs it.

20 February 2015
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