H.R. 944: Venezuelan Liberty Act

113th Congress, 2013–2015. Text as of Mar 04, 2013 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO and Cato Institute Deepbills

I

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 944

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 4, 2013

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To provide for eligibility for relief from removal for certain Venezuelans.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Venezuelan Liberty Act .

2.

Adjustment of status of certain Venezuelans

(a)

Adjustment of status

(1)

In general

The status of any alien described in subsection (b) shall be adjusted by the Secretary of Homeland Security to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, if the alien—

(A)

applies for such adjustment before April 1, 2014; and

(B)

is otherwise admissible to the United States for permanent residence, except in determining such admissibility the grounds for inadmissibility specified in paragraphs (4), (5), (6)(A), (7)(A), and (9)(B) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)) shall not apply.

(2)

Rules in applying certain provisions

In the case of an alien described in subsection (b) or (d) who is applying for adjustment of status under this section—

(A)

the provisions of section 241(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5)) shall not apply; and

(B)

the Secretary of Homeland Security may grant the alien a waiver on the grounds of inadmissibility under subparagraphs (A) and (C) of section 212(a)(9) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(9)).

In granting waivers under subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall use standards used in granting consent under subparagraphs (A)(iii) and (C)(ii) of such section 212(a)(9).
(3)

Relationship of application to certain orders

An alien present in the United States who has been ordered excluded, deported, removed, or ordered to depart voluntarily from the United States under any provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act may, notwithstanding such order, apply for adjustment of status under paragraph (1). Such an alien may not be required, as a condition of submitting or granting such application, to file a separate motion to reopen, reconsider, or vacate such order. If the Secretary of Homeland Security grants the application, the Attorney General shall cancel the order. If the Secretary of Homeland Security renders a final administrative decision to deny the application, the order shall be effective and enforceable to the same extent as if the application had not been made.

(b)

Aliens eligible for adjustment of status

(1)

In general

The benefits provided by subsection (a) shall apply to any alien who is a national of Venezuela and who has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period, beginning on a date during the required presence period and ending on the date the application for adjustment under such subsection is adjudicated, except an alien shall not be considered to have failed to maintain continuous physical presence by reason of an absence, or absences, from the United States for any periods not exceeding 180 days.

(2)

Proof of commencement of continuous presence

For purposes of establishing that the period of continuous physical presence referred to in paragraph (1) commenced during the required presence period, an alien—

(A)

shall demonstrate that the alien, during the required presence period—

(i)

applied to the Secretary of Homeland Security for asylum;

(ii)

was issued an order to show cause under the Immigration and Nationality Act;

(iii)

was placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings under such Act;

(iv)

applied for adjustment of status under section 245 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1255);

(v)

applied to the Secretary of Homeland Security for employment authorization;

(vi)

performed service, or engaged in a trade or business, within the United States which is evidenced by records maintained by the Commissioner of Social Security; or

(vii)

applied for any other benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act by means of an application establishing the alien’s presence in the United States during the required presence period; or

(B)

shall make such other demonstration of physical presence as the Secretary of Homeland Security may provide for by regulation.

(c)

Stay of removal; work authorization

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide by regulation for an alien subject to a final order of removal to seek a stay of such order based on the filing of an application under subsection (a).

(2)

During certain proceedings

Notwithstanding any provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Attorney General shall not order any alien to be removed from the United States if the alien is in removal proceedings under any provision of such Act and has applied for adjustment of status under subsection (a), except where the Secretary of Homeland Security has rendered a final administrative determination to deny the application.

(3)

Work authorization

The Secretary of Homeland Security may authorize an alien who has applied for adjustment of status under subsection (a) to engage in employment in the United States during the pendency of such application and may provide the alien with an employment authorized endorsement or other appropriate document signifying authorization of employment, except that if such application is pending for a period exceeding 180 days, and has not been denied, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall authorize such employment.

(d)

Adjustment of status for spouses and children

(1)

In general

The status of an alien shall be adjusted by the Secretary of Homeland Security to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, if—

(A)

the alien is a national of Venezuela;

(B)

the alien—

(i)

is the spouse, child, or unmarried son or daughter of an alien whose status is adjusted to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under subsection (a), except that in the case of such an unmarried son or daughter, the son or daughter shall be required to establish that the son or daughter has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period beginning on a date during the required presence period and ending on the date on which the application for adjustment under this subsection is adjudicated; or

(ii)

was, at the time at which an alien filed for adjustment under subsection (a), the spouse or child of an alien whose status is adjusted, or was eligible for adjustment, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under subsection (a), and the spouse, child, or child of the spouse has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the alien that filed for adjustment under subsection (a);

(C)

the alien applies for such adjustment and is physically present in the United States on the date the application is filed;

(D)

the alien is otherwise admissible to the United States for permanent residence, except in determining such admissibility the grounds for inadmissibility specified in paragraphs (4), (5), (6)(A), (7)(A), and (9)(B) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)) shall not apply; and

(E)

applies for such adjustment before April 1, 2014.

(2)

Proof of continuous presence

For purposes of establishing the period of continuous physical presence referred to in paragraph (1)(B), an alien—

(A)

shall demonstrate that such period commenced during the required presence period in a manner consistent with subsection (b)(2); and

(B)

shall not be considered to have failed to maintain continuous physical presence by reason of an absence, or absences, from the United States for any period not exceeding 180 days.

(e)

Availability of administrative review

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide to applicants for adjustment of status under subsection (a) the same right to, and procedures for, administrative review as are provided to applicants for adjustment of status under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1255).

(f)

No offset in number of visas available

When an alien is granted the status of having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence pursuant to this section, the Secretary of State shall not be required to reduce the number of immigrant visas authorized to be issued under any provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

(g)

Definition

For purposes of this Act, the term required presence period means the period beginning on February 2, 1999, and ending on March 4, 2013.

(h)

Application of Immigration and Nationality Act provisions

Except as otherwise specifically provided in this section, the definitions contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act shall apply in the administration of this section. Nothing contained in this section shall be held to repeal, amend, alter, modify, affect, or restrict the powers, duties, functions, or authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security in the administration and enforcement of such Act or any other law relating to immigration, nationality, or naturalization. The fact that an alien may be eligible to be granted the status of having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence under this section shall not preclude the alien from seeking such status under any other provision of law for which the alien may be eligible.