CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
Senate Amendments to H.R. 5283 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Wednesday, December 1, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.
H.R. 5283 would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to adjust the status of a Haitian alien if they do the following:
(1) Apply for such adjustment;
(2) Are physically present in the United States on the date the application for such adjustment is filed; and
(3) Are admissible to the United States as an immigrant.
The bill defines “eligible aliens” as an alien who has been inspected and granted parole into the United States pursuant to the humanitarian parole policy for certain Haitian orphans announced on January 18, 2010, and suspended as to new applications on April 15, 2010.
The bill states that when an alien is granted the status of having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence under this section, the Secretary of State shall not be required to reduce the number of immigrant visas authorized to be issued under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The bill also states that an alien is be deemed to satisfy the requirements applicable to adopted children under section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act if, before the date on which the alien attains 18 years of age—
(1) The alien obtains adjustment of status under this section; and
(2) A United States citizen adopts the alien, regardless of whether the adoption occurs before, on, or after the date of the decision granting adjustment of status under this section.
The bill prohibits immigration benefits for birth parents of any adopted child affected by the bill. Specifically, no birth parent of an alien who obtains adjustment of status under this section shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this section or the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The bill would normalize the immigration procedures for over 1,000 Haitian orphans who were already in the process of being adopted by U.S. citizens prior to the January earthquake.
Due to a technicality, these children, upon establishing a legal relationship with their adoptive parents, will have to wait two years before they may become legal permanent residents. While their status remains in limbo, the children will have fewer legal protections, may not be eligible for critical resources, and risk being returned to Haiti if something were to happen to their adoptive families.
The Help HAITI Act would provide legal certainty and protections for Haitian orphans by allowing adoptive parents to apply immediately for legal permanent residency for them.
The House approved the bill under suspension of the rules on July 20, 2010. The Senate made some minor changes and approved the bill by unanimous consent.