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107th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    107-127

======================================================================



 
                 FAMILY SPONSOR IMMIGRATION ACT OF 2001

                                _______
                                

 July 10, 2001.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Sensenbrenner, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1892]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 1892) to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act 
to provide for the acceptance of an affidavit of support from 
another eligible sponsor if the original sponsor has died and 
the Attorney General has determined for humanitarian reasons 
that the original sponsor's classification petition should not 
be revoked, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommends that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Vote of the Committee............................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     4
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     7
Markup Transcript................................................     9

    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 
2001''.

SEC. 2. SUBSTITUTION OF ALTERNATIVE SPONSOR IF ORIGINAL SPONSOR HAS 
                    DIED.

    (a) Permitting Substitution of Alternative Close Family Sponsor in 
Case of Death of Petitioner.--
            (1) Recognition of alternative sponsor.--Section 213A(f)(5) 
        of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1183a(f)(5)) 
        is amended to read as follows:
            ``(5) Non-petitioning cases.--Such term also includes an 
        individual who does not meet the requirement of paragraph 
        (1)(D) but who--
                    ``(A) accepts joint and several liability with a 
                petitioning sponsor under paragraph (2) or relative of 
                an employment-based immigrant under paragraph (4) and 
                who demonstrates (as provided under paragraph (6)) the 
                means to maintain an annual income equal to at least 
                125 percent of the Federal poverty line; or
                    ``(B) is a spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-
                in-law, sibling, child (if at least 18 years of age), 
                son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, 
                grandparent, or grandchild of a sponsored alien or a 
                legal guardian of a sponsored alien, meets the 
                requirements of paragraph (1) (other than subparagraph 
                (D)), and executes an affidavit of support with respect 
                to such alien in a case in which--
                            ``(i) the individual petitioning under 
                        section 204 for the classification of such 
                        alien died after the approval of such petition; 
                        and
                            ``(ii) the Attorney General has determined 
                        for humanitarian reasons that revocation of 
                        such petition under section 205 would be 
                        inappropriate.''.
            (2) Conforming amendment permitting substitution.--Section 
        212(a)(4)(C)(ii) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4)(C)(ii)) is 
        amended by striking ``(including any additional sponsor 
        required under section 213A(f))'' and inserting ``(and any 
        additional sponsor required under section 213A(f) or any 
        alternative sponsor permitted under paragraph (5)(B) of such 
        section)''.
            (3) Additional conforming amendments.--Section 213A(f) of 
        such Act (8 U.S.C. 1183a(f)) is amended, in each of paragraphs 
        (2) and (4)(B)(ii), by striking ``(5).'' and inserting 
        ``(5)(A).''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall 
apply with respect to deaths occurring before, on, or after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, except that, in the case of a death 
occurring before such date, such amendments shall apply only if--
            (1) the sponsored alien--
                    (A) requests the Attorney General to reinstate the 
                classification petition that was filed with respect to 
                the alien by the deceased and approved under section 
                204 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
                1154) before such death; and
                    (B) demonstrates that he or she is able to satisfy 
                the requirement of section 212(a)(4)(C)(ii) of such Act 
                (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4)(C)(ii)) by reason of such 
                amendments; and
            (2) the Attorney General reinstates such petition after 
        making the determination described in section 213A(f)(5)(B)(ii) 
        of such Act (as amended by subsection (a)(1) of this Act).

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 1892 provides that in cases where a U.S. citizen or 
permanent resident has petitioned for permanent resident status 
for an alien relative and the petitioner has died before the 
alien has received such status, and if the Attorney General 
determines for humanitarian reasons that revocation of the 
petition would be inappropriate, a close family member other 
than the petitioner would be allowed to sign the necessary 
affidavit of support.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Section 205 of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides 
that ``the Attorney General may, at any time, for what he deems 
to be good and sufficient cause, revoke the approval of any 
[immigrant visa petition] approved by him under section 204.'' 
INS regulations provides for automatic revocation of the 
petition when the petitioner dies, ``unless the Attorney 
General in his or her discretion determines that for 
humanitarian reasons revocation would be inappropriate.'' \1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ 8 C.F.R. Sec. 205.1(a)(3)(i)(C).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The consequences are severe for a beneficiary when his or 
her petitioner dies before the beneficiary has adjusted status 
or received an immigrant visa. If no other relative can qualify 
as a petitioner, then the beneficiary would lose the 
opportunity to become a permanent resident. For instance, if a 
petition is revoked because a widowed citizen father dies after 
petitioning for an adult unmarried daughter, the daughter would 
have no living mother to file a new petition. If another 
relative can file an immigrant visa petition for the 
beneficiary, the beneficiary would still go to the end of the 
line if the visa category was numerically limited. For 
instance, if the daughter's mother was alive she could file a 
new first family preference petition. However, the daughter 
would lose her priority date based on the time her father's 
petition had been filed with the INS and would receive a later 
priority date based on the filing date of her mother's 
petition. Given that first family preference visas are now 
available to beneficiaries from Mexico with priority dates in 
April 1994, and are available to those from the Philippines 
with priority dates in May 1988, this can result in a 
significant additional delay before a visa is available.
    As stated, the INS's regulations do allow the Attorney 
General to forego revoking the petition in such a case if 
revocation would be inappropriate for ``humanitarian reasons''. 
However, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant 
Responsibility Act of 1996 requires that when a family member 
petitions for a relative to receive an immigrant visa, the visa 
can only be granted if the petitioner signs (alone or with a 
co-sponsor) a legally binding affidavit of support promising to 
provide for the support of the immigrant.\2\ If the petitioner 
has died, he or she can obviously not sign an affidavit. Thus, 
even in cases where the Attorney General feels a humanitarian 
waiver of the revocation of the visa petition is warranted, 
under current law a permanent resident visa cannot be granted 
because the affidavit requirement is unfulfilled.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Pub. L. No. 104-208, Sec. 531, 110 Stat. 3546 (1996) (codified 
at INA Sec. 212(a)(4)(C)(ii).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 1892 simply provides that in cases where the 
petitioner has died and the Attorney General has determined for 
humanitarian reasons that revocation of the petition would be 
inappropriate, a close family member other than the petitioner 
would be allowed to sign the necessary affidavit of support. 
Eligible family members of beneficiaries would include spouses, 
parents, grandparents, mother and fathers in law, siblings, 
adult sons and daughters, adult son and daughters in law and 
grandchildren. In order to sign an affidavit of support, the 
family member would need to meet the general eligibility 
requirements needed to be an immigrant's sponsor. He or she 
would need to:

         Lbe a citizen or national of the United States 
        or an alien who is lawfully admitted to the United 
        States for permanent residence;

         Lbe at least 18 years of age;

         Lbe domiciled in a State, the District of 
        Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United 
        States; and

         Ldemonstrate the means to maintain an annual 
        income equal to at least 125% of the Federal poverty 
        line.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ INA Sec. 213A(f)(1).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                Hearings

    No hearings were held on H.R. 1892.

                        Committee Consideration

    On June 6, 2001, the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims 
met in open session and ordered favorably reported the bill 
H.R. 1892, as amended, by a voice vote, a quorum being present. 
On June 26, 2001, the Committee met in open session and ordered 
favorably reported the bill H.R. 1892 with amendment by a voice 
vote, a quorum being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    There were no recorded votes. An amendment offered by Mr. 
Issa passed by a voice vote. The amendment expanded the list of 
family members who could serve as substitute sponsors to 
include grandparents and grandchildren. The bill was ordered 
favorably reported by a voice vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    H.R. 1892 does not authorize funding. Therefore, clause 
3(c) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives 
is inapplicable.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of House Rule XIII is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 1892, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, July 5, 2001.
Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1892, the Family 
Sponsor Immigration Act of 2001.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                  Dan L. Crippen, Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers Jr.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 1892--Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2001.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1892 would result in no 
significant cost to the Federal Government. The bill could 
affect direct spending and receipts, so pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply, but we estimate that any such effects 
would be insignificant. H.R. 1892 contains no intergovernmental 
or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Current law requires that applicants for family-based 
immigrant visas be sponsored by an immediate relative who will 
provide financial support if necessary. If the sponsor dies 
while the application is pending, then a new application must 
be filed. In this situation, H.R. 1892 would permit the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to allow certain 
other relatives to replace a deceased sponsor and to proceed 
with the approval process without filing a new application.
    Based on information from the INS, CBO expects that the 
bill's provisions would aid no more than several hundred 
applicants each year. Thus, any effects on fees collected by 
INS or the Department of State would be insignificant. INS fees 
are classified as offsetting receipts (a credit against direct 
spending); and the State Department fees are classified as 
governmental receipts (i.e., revenues).
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz, 
who can be reached at 226-2860. This estimate was approved by 
Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget 
Analysis.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in article I, section 8, clause 4 of the 
Constitution.

               Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion

                          Sec. 1. Short Title

    Section 1 of the bill provides that the bill may be cited 
as the ``Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2001.''

Section 2. Substitution of Alternative Sponsor if Original Sponsor Has 
                                  Died

    Section 2(a)(1) of the bill amends section 213A(f)(5) of 
the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide that a sponsor 
of an alien does not have to meet the requirement of section 
213A(f)(1)(D) (that the sponsor be the petitioner for admission 
of the alien) of the INA if:

        1) Lthe sponsor is a spouse, parent, mother-in-law, 
        father-in-law, sibling, child (if at least 18 years of 
        age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, 
        grandparent or grandchild of a sponsored alien or a 
        legal guardian of a sponsored alien;

        2) Lthe sponsor meets the requirements of section 
        213A(f)(1)(A)-(C) and (E) of the INA;

        3) Lthe sponsor executes an affidavit of support with 
        respect to the sponsored alien;

        4) Lthe petitioner (under section 204 of the INA) of 
        the sponsored alien died after the approval of the 
        petition; and

        5) Lthe Attorney General has determined for 
        humanitarian reasons that revocation of the petition 
        (under section 205 of the INA) would be inappropriate.

    The terms child, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law 
and grandchild are meant to include a stepchild (provided the 
child had not reached the age of eighteen years at the time the 
marriage creating the status of stepchild occurred).\4\ The 
terms parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and grandparent are 
meant to include a stepparent.\5\ Siblings are meant to include 
half brothers and half sisters.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ See INA Sec. 101(b)(1)(B).
    \5\ See INA Sec. 101(b)(2).
    \6\ See 3 Gordon, Mailman & Yale-Loehr, Immigration Law and 
Procedure Sec. 38.05 citing Matter of Mahal, 12 I. & N. Dec. 409 (BIA 
1967).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee does not intend this bill to restrict the 
Attorney General's ability to revoke any petition, whether as a 
result of the death of the petitioner or otherwise, for good 
sufficient cause, and the bill does not alter in any way 
section 205 of the INA or its current regulations at 8 C.F.R. 
Sec. 205.
    Section 2(a)(2)-(3) of the bill are conforming amendments 
to section 212(a)(4)(C)(ii) and 213A(f) of the INA.
    Section 2(b) of the bill provides that the amendments made 
by section 2(a) shall apply with respect to deaths occurring 
before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the bill, 
except that, in the case of a death occurring before such date, 
such amendments shall apply only if:

        1) Lthe sponsored alien requests the Attorney General 
        to reinstate the classification petition that was filed 
        with respect to the alien by the deceased and approved 
        (under section 204 of the INA) before such death;

        2) Lthe sponsored alien demonstrates that he or she is 
        able to satisfy the requirement of section 
        212(a)(4)(C)(ii) of the INA (relating to the affidavit 
        of support requirement) by reason of the amendments 
        made by this bill; and

        3) Lthe Attorney General reinstates such petition after 
        making the determination that revocation would be 
        inappropriate for humanitarian reasons pursuant to 
        section 205 of the INA.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                    IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE II--IMMIGRATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


 Chapter 2--Qualifications for Admission of Aliens; Travel Control of 
Citizens and Aliens

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


 general classes of aliens ineligible to receive visas and ineligible 
               for admission; waivers of inadmissibility

      Sec. 212. (a) Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or 
Admission.--Except as otherwise provided in this Act, aliens 
who are inadmissible under the following paragraphs are 
ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to 
the United States:
            (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (4) Public charge.--
                    (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                    (C) Family-sponsored immigrants.--Any alien 
                who seeks admission or adjustment of status 
                under a visa number issued under section 
                201(b)(2) or 203(a) is inadmissible under this 
                paragraph unless--
                            (i) * * *
                            (ii) the person petitioning for the 
                        alien's admission [(including any 
                        additional sponsor required under 
                        section 213A(f))] (and any additional 
                        sponsor required under section 213A(f) 
                        or any alternative sponsor permitted 
                        under paragraph (5)(B) of such section) 
                        has executed an affidavit of support 
                        described in section 213A with respect 
                        to such alien.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


            requirements for sponsor's affidavit of support

    Sec. 213A. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (f) Sponsor Defined.--
            (1) * * *
            (2) Income requirement case.--Such term also 
        includes an individual who does not meet the 
        requirement of paragraph (1)(E) but accepts joint and 
        several liability together with an individual under 
        paragraph (5)(A).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (4) Certain employment-based immigrants case.--Such 
        term also includes an individual--
                    (A) * * *
                    (B)(i) * * *
                    (ii) does not meet the requirement of 
                paragraph (1)(E) but accepts joint and several 
                liability together with an individual under 
                paragraph (5)(A).
            [(5) Non-petitioning case.--Such term also includes 
        an individual who does not meet the requirement of 
        paragraph (1)(D) but who accepts joint and several 
        liability with a petitioning sponsor under paragraph 
        (2) or relative of an employment-based immigrant under 
        paragraph (4) and who demonstrates (as provided under 
        paragraph (6)) the means to maintain an annual income 
        equal to at least 125 percent of the Federal poverty 
        line.]
            (5) Non-petitioning cases.--Such term also includes 
        an individual who does not meet the requirement of 
        paragraph (1)(D) but who--
                    (A) accepts joint and several liability 
                with a petitioning sponsor under paragraph (2) 
                or relative of an employment-based immigrant 
                under paragraph (4) and who demonstrates (as 
                provided under paragraph (6)) the means to 
                maintain an annual income equal to at least 125 
                percent of the Federal poverty line; or
                    (B) is a spouse, parent, mother-in-law, 
                father-in-law, sibling, child (if at least 18 
                years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, 
                daughter-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild of 
                a sponsored alien or a legal guardian of a 
                sponsored alien, meets the requirements of 
                paragraph (1) (other than subparagraph (D)), 
                and executes an affidavit of support with 
                respect to such alien in a case in which--
                            (i) the individual petitioning 
                        under section 204 for the 
                        classification of such alien died after 
                        the approval of such petition; and
                            (ii) the Attorney General has 
                        determined for humanitarian reasons 
                        that revocation of such petition under 
                        section 205 would be inappropriate.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                           Markup Transcript



                            BUSINESS MEETING

                         TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2001

                  House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:35 a.m., in 
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. F. James 
Sensenbrenner, Jr. [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Committee will be in order. A 
working quorum is present.
    The next item on the agenda is the adoption of H.R. 1892, 
the ``Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2001.''
    [The bill, H.R. 1892, follows:]
    
    
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Chair recognizes the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania, Mr. Gekas, the Chairman of the Subcommittee 
on Immigration and Claims, for purposes of making a motion.
    Mr. Gekas. Mr. Chairman, the Subcommittee on Immigration 
and Claims reports favorably the bill H.R. 1892 with a single 
amendment in the nature of a substitute and moves its favorable 
recommendation to the full House.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, the bill will be 
considered as read and open for amendment at any point. And the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute reported by the 
Subcommittee will be considered as the original text for 
purposes of amendment, considered as read, and open for 
amendment at any point.
    [The amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1892 
offered by the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims follows:]


    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Chair recognizes the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania, Mr. Gekas, to strike the last word.
    Mr. Gekas. I thank the Chair.
    Mr. Chairman, the title of the bill actually tells the 
whole story, the Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2001.
    Congressman Calvert and our colleague on the Judiciary 
Committee, Mr. Issa, thought it wise to try to close a big 
loophole in the current law, and that is what this bill is all 
about.
    As everyone knows, a petitioner for an immigrant, for 
establishing the status of an immigrant, has to sign an 
affidavit of support, so that during the pendency of the 
person's status as a resident in our country, the taxpayers 
would not have to tow the bill for the purposes of sustenance 
of this individual.
    What happens, though, if a petitioner dies in the course of 
the immigration process? Does the source dry up and, therefore, 
the immigrant then becomes a ward of the State, as it were? 
This is what Congressmen Calvert and Issa want to cure.
    They allow, through this bill, a substitution of certain 
people in the line of consanguinity, as we call it, who can 
substitute for the petitioner. And that then fills that gap and 
allows the petition to continue with the new substitute, shall 
we say, for the petitioner's affidavit of support.
    That's what this bill does, and we're asking for the 
support of the Committee for the passage of this bill.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. 
Conyers.
    Mr. Conyers. Mr. Chairman, I rise merely to introduce into 
the record a statement from the ranking Subcommittee 
chairwoman, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who is otherwise 
engaged on the floor at this moment.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, the statement 
will be entered in the record.
    [The statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
       Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a 
           Representative in Congress From the State of Texas
    Thank you Mr. Chairman.
    I support H.R. 1892, the ``Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 
2001.'' With bipartisan support, we are correcting a ``glitch'' in 
current immigration law.
    As the law currently stands, the consequences of the law toward a 
beneficiary when his or her petitioner dies before the beneficiary has 
a chance to adjust status or receive an immigrant visa are too harsh.
    H.R. 1892 will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow 
an alternative sponsor--a close family member other than the 
petitioner--as a substitute if the original sponsor of the affidavit of 
support has died, assuming all requirements are met.
    Thank you Mr. Chairman.

    Chairman Sensenbrenner. And without objection, all Members' 
statements on this bill will be entered into the record at this 
point.
    [The statement of Mr. Issa follows:]
 Prepared Statement of the Honorable Darrell Issa, a Representative in 
                 Congress From the State of California
    Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for bringing forward H.R. 1892, 
the ``Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2001,'' to the full Judiciary 
Committee in an expeditious manner. I also want to commend Congressman 
Ken Calvert, author of this bill, and the Immigration Subcommittee 
staff for assisting in crafting this legislation. This bill will 
correct the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow another family 
member to become a sponsor of an applicant by signing an affidavit of 
support if the original sponsor has died.
    Current INS regulations set up by the Illegal Immigration Reform 
and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 allows sponsors to sign an 
affidavit of support to transfer sponsorship of an applicant. 
Unfortunately, if a sponsor dies without signing an affidavit of 
support, the applicant must start the long process over again. Due to 
the immense number of applicants filing for permanent residency, the 
application process for the INS can take more than a decade.
    In my district, I have a constituent, Myrna Gabiola, who wanted to 
become the sponsor of her two brothers, who were applying to become 
permanent citizens after their father passed away. Ben and Renan Patao 
had their father petition for visas in 1984 but their father, a 
naturalized American citizen who emigrated from the Philippines, died 
of stomach cancer in 1994 without the INS having processed the 
petition. The family was so focused on the health of the father that 
they did not realize that the father had to sign an affidavit of 
support allowing another family member to take over the application 
while he was still live. There was no indication of a problem until 
Renan and Ben Patao had interviews and did not have the required 
affidavit of support. They were subsequently denied. This family waited 
over sixteen years to be granted an interview for permanent residency 
and were then sent to the back of the line to begin the process over 
again because there was no other recourse.
    This family tried to immigrate legally and waited patiently for 
years and were punished for having their father, the original sponsor, 
die in the process. These two brot hers are fortunate enough to have a 
sister that is willing and financially able to sponsor them. This bill 
is intended to keep families together and to avoid two tragedies that 
stem from one unfortunate event.
    Again, I thank the Chairman for holding this markup and for his 
leadership on this well intended immigration bill.

    Are there amendments?
    The gentleman from California, Mr. Issa.
    Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    There's an amendment at the desk.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The clerk will report the 
amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to the Subcommittee amendment----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Could the clerk please move the 
mike closer?
    The Clerk. Amendment to the Subcommittee amendment in the 
nature of a substitute to H.R. 1892 offered by Mr. Issa and Mr. 
Cannon. Page and line numbers refer to H1892SUB.RPT.
    Page 2----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection the amendment is 
considered as read.
    [The amendment to the Subcommittee amendment in the nature 
of a substitute to H.R. 1892 offered by Mr. Issa and Mr. Cannon 
follows:]


    Chairman Sensenbrenner. And the gentleman from California, 
Mr. Issa, is recognized for 5 minutes.
    Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    And this is fairly simple substitution, and I won't use my 
whole 5 minutes.
    In reviewing our original language and in consultation with 
Members on both sides and Mr. Calvert, we discovered that there 
are a large number of times in which private bills are brought 
forward specifically because a grandparent or grandchild is 
able to be an alternate sponsor but is not presently allowed.
    We believe that the original language deals with most other 
situations that occur and believe we are going to have plenty 
of opportunity to look at a broader immigration document at 
some further time.
    I also would like to the chance to thank Mr. Calvert again, 
who worked diligently sort of outside the Committee to bring 
consensus on this bill.
    The--as you know, under current law, if the sponsor dies 
without signing an affidavit of support to another family 
member, the applicant goes to the back of the line, even though 
there is another family member willing to be a sponsor.
    We believe that this bill as amended will take care of that 
problem in the vast majority of cases, and look forward to 
working with Members on the Committee , the Subcommittee, in 
the future to deal with other issues that are broader than this 
one. But I think this, for today, takes care of it very well.
    And I yield back the balance of my time.
    Mr. Cannon. Will the gentleman yield?
    Ms. Lofgren. Mr. Chairman?
    Mr. Issa. Yes?
    The gentleman will yield.
    Mr. Cannon. Thank you, Mr. Issa.
    I just wanted to add that this is a good bill. The 
amendment is one we agreed to consider in the Subcommittee, and 
I think we've come to a consensus on the issue.
    I would urge my colleagues to support the amendment.
    I might also note that in our discussions it has become 
clear that the--there is some concern about half-brothers, 
half-sisters, adopted children. And my understanding is that 
the staff will include language in the report that will clarify 
that.
    And so I would urge my colleagues to support this 
amendment, and yield back, or----
    Mr. Gekas. Will the gentleman yield----
    Mr. Issa. And reclaiming my time, I would yield to Mr. 
Gekas.
    Mr. Gekas. Yes, I thank the gentleman.
    And I want to announce to the assembled Members that we're 
ready to accept the amendment. And so I yield back--I thank the 
gentleman----
    Mr. Issa. And I would recognize Ms. Lofgren.
    Ms. Lofgren. Yes, I support the amendment, and I support 
the bill.
    As I mentioned at Subcommittee, I don't believe there is a 
very good reason for the current rules that prohibit 
nonpetitioning family members for being the sponsors. And I had 
hoped that we might be able to remedy that situation.
    The example I gave is actually one I--it's a true life 
story in my own district where you have the biological mother 
who is petitioning for her child and her husband is the 
stepfather. Or you might have a grandparent who would want to 
be the sponsor, but they cannot because they are not the 
petitioner. There is no real good reason for that.
    But I do note that that amendment, a broader amendment, 
would, number one, not be germane to this bill; number two, in 
talking with my colleagues across the aisle, as well as Mr. 
Calvert, there is a great passion to get this bill passed and 
to deal with other issues later.
    So I did want to note that that issue has not been 
overlooked. It's just achievable today. And I look forward to 
working further with those--on those issues with Members of the 
Committee on both sides of the aisle, and do support this 
amendment.
    And I yield back and thank the gentleman for yielding.
    Mr. Issa. Thank you, and reclaiming my time, in closing, 
this is just a first step, but I think it's a big one and it's 
going to go a long way.
    And I look forward, on a bipartisan basis, to working on 
broader immigration reform. And I think our Chairman has 
started us off down that road. Knowing that that is a longer 
road, it will--that would exceed the scope of today.
    And I yield back the balance of my time.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The question is on the amendment to 
the Subcommittee amendment in the nature of a substitute 
offered by the gentleman from California, Mr. Issa.
    Those in favor will signify by saying aye.
    Opposed, no.
    The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it, and the 
amendment is agreed to.
    Mr. Frank. Mr. Chairman?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Are there further amendments?
    The gentleman from Massachusetts.
    Mr. Frank. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Frank. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to raise an issue, 
and I am glad that we are doing this. I think this is a 
significant advance.
    Another issue involving family rights, though, I think has 
now become important for us to deal with.
    The Supreme Court recently upheld the distinction in our 
law between mothers and fathers who are not married with regard 
to children. And we have had in our law a provision protecting 
the right of the mother to adopt her child, for immigration 
purposes, but not the father with similar rights in certain 
circumstances.
    And I assume that was based on the age-old sense that you 
could be much more certain of the identity of the mother than 
the father. DNA has clearly made that no longer a valid 
distinction.
    The Supreme Court just decided very narrowly that we had a 
right to maintain that distinction. And without arguing with 
that constitutional decision, it does seem to me that we ought 
to be acting legislatively to abolish it.
    Now that it can be ascertained to a certainty who the 
father is, not giving the father adoptive rights equal to the 
mother seems to me to be an unfortunate example of 
discrimination in our law and contrary to the family values 
that we all agree to.
    What we are talking about is someone who fathered a child 
in circumstances in which he shouldn't have but who 
subsequently has decided to exercise some responsibility and 
show some responsibility. And we make it harder than it should 
be. We make it automatic for the mother and not the father.
    So I would hope that this is something, now that the 
Supreme Court has refused to remedy it, that we would approach.
    And I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Are there further amendments?
    The question is on adoption of the amendment in the nature 
of a substitute to H.R. 1892 as reported by the Subcommittee on 
Immigration and Claims.
    Those in favor will signify by saying aye.
    Opposed, no.
    The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it, and the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute is agreed to.
    The Chair notes the presence of a reporting quorum.
    The question occurs on the motion to report the bill H.R. 
1892 favorably as amended.
    All in favor will say aye.
    Opposed, no.
    The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it, and the 
motion to report favorably is adopted.
    Without objection, the bill will be reported favorably to 
the House in the form of single amendment in the nature of a 
substitute, incorporating the amendments adopted here today.
    Without objection, the Chair is authorized to move to go to 
conference pursuant to House rules.
    Without objection, the staff is directed to make any 
technical and conforming changes.
    And all Members will be given 2 days, as provided by House 
rules, in which to submit additional dissenting, supplemental, 
or minority views.

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