H. R. 3881
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 2, 2012
Mr. Stark introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide authority for immigration judges to terminate proceedings or appoint counsel when necessary for aliens with mental disabilities, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Mental Competence in Immigration Proceedings Act.
Authority for immigration judges to terminate proceedings or appoint counsel where necessary for aliens with mental disabilities
Section 240(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229a(b)(3)) is amended to read as follows:
Presence of aliens
If it is impracticable by reason of an alien's mental incompetency for the alien to be present at the proceeding, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall prescribe safeguards to protect the rights and privileges of the alien.
Termination of proceedings
An immigration judge may order a competency evaluation at any stage of the proceedings. The immigration judge may terminate proceedings against those aliens not competent to represent themselves in their proceedings due to mental disabilities. In determining whether to terminate proceedings, the immigration judge shall consider, without excluding other pertinent factors, the severity of the alien’s condition and prognosis, the likelihood that competence can be restored within 60 days, and whether the alien is represented by counsel with whom the alien can meaningfully communicate in order to assist the proceedings. Proceedings for aliens receiving medically necessary inpatient mental health treatment for a serious mental disability shall be presumed to merit termination.
Appointment of counsel
If proceedings are not terminated for an alien who is incompetent to represent himself or herself in proceedings due to a mental disability, the immigration judge shall appoint counsel when the alien is unrepresented. Appointment of counsel shall not preclude the immigration judge from subsequently terminating proceedings under this section.