New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Private Bills Concerning Immigration Matters

Author: Green Card Attorney Alena Shautsova

Should I Bring My Private Bill Before The Senate, Or The House Of Representatives?

A private bill in Immigration contents is a law passed for a specific person.

A private bill is initiated when someone contacts their representative or senator to sponsor the bill. The House and the Senate, each has its own specific rules as to what relevant information is required. Once a sponsor is chosen, one would then conduct the necessary research and gathering of relevant information for the successful application. Such information may include background information on the subject of a private bill, evidence of deserving character and special circumstances; research on the precedents, etc.

It is extremely rare that there will be a choice in the matter but occasionally the opportunity presents itself and one may find a sponsor for both the House and the Senate.

The heaviest weighing factor in most cases will be time. The Senate having 100 members has fewer rules governing legislative scheduling while the House of Representatives having 435 members has stricter rules governing the legislative process.

The House of Representatives

Jurisdiction over private bills falls on the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, Border Security, Citizenship and International Law. Before the bill goes to “the floor” of the House for debate it must go through the Subcommittee’s first. It means that it has to drafted well and backed up by sufficient research and evidence.

The House of Representatives has special screening processes in place prior to consideration and the time limits of such consideration are shorter. All private bills are placed on the private calendar, which is held every first and third Tuesday of each month. There are 6 official objectors to private bills for both House Majority and Minority getting 3 each. If 2 or more object to the consideration of a Private Bill it is send back to the Subcommittee that brought it, the objectors will then examine the case to determine whether there are any conflicts of interest of ethical concerns.

Policies – The Subcommittee’s pertaining to Immigration within the House of Representatives will only hear cases of extraordinary circumstances where an exception to the law is needed. The House has its own set of precedents similar to legal precedence in which they will rule on private bills based on previous outcomes of similar cases. This is where a good attorney comes in handy, because the procedure requires excellent advocacy.

Please see future posts on procedures at the Senate.

25 February 2015
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