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[House Report 111-667]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


111th Congress  }                                           {    Report 
  2d Session    }           HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES        {   111-667 
======================================================================= 
 
   SEPTEMBER 11 FAMILY HUMANITARIAN RELIEF AND PATRIOTISM ACT OF 2009 

                                _______
                                

 November 30, 2010.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3290]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 3290) to provide the spouses and children of aliens who 
perished in the September 11 terrorist attacks an opportunity 
to adjust their status to that of an alien lawfully admitted 
for permanent residence, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     2
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     5
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     5
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     5
Dissenting Views.................................................     6

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 3290, the ``September 11 Family Humanitarian Relief 
and Patriotism Act of 2009,'' permits a defined set of 
surviving dependents of undocumented workers killed during the 
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to apply for lawful 
permanent residence in the United States.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Among the nearly 3,000 persons killed during the terrorist 
attacks of 9/11 was a small group of undocumented workers who 
worked in the World Trade Center. The surviving family members 
of these undocumented workers were awarded benefits under the 
9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) after Special Master 
Kenneth Feinberg verified the deaths of the undocumented 
workers and identified the dependent spouses or children of the 
deceased.
    In the 110th Congress, the Committee on the Judiciary 
reported out H.R. 1071, a bill that would have allowed this 
limited class of surviving dependents the opportunity to apply 
for adjustment of status or cancellation of removal, so long as 
neither the dependents nor the deceased were inadmissible or 
deportable on criminal or national security grounds. At that 
time, it was believed that approximately 20 people would have 
benefitted from H.R. 1071.
    Subsequent to Committee consideration of H.R. 1071 in the 
110th Congress, 16 surviving dependants came forward and 
offered proffers of information to the Department of Homeland 
Security in order to obtain temporary immigration relief under 
existing law. All 16 persons now have been granted some form of 
temporary immigration relief by the Department of Homeland 
Security based on current law. The proffers of information also 
made it possible to more narrowly identify the potential 
beneficiaries of proposed legislative relief.
    H.R. 3290 accordingly more narrowly defines the class of 
persons eligible for relief than as originally defined in the 
110th Congress. Specifically, H.R. 3290 would permit the 16 
persons who have already offered proffers to adjust their 
status to that of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent 
residence, so long as they: (1) apply for adjustment within 1 
year of enactment; (2) are not inadmissible or deportable on 
criminal or security-related grounds; and (3) have satisfied 
any Federal tax liability.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
3290.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 23, 2009, the Subcommittee on Immigration, 
Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law 
met in open session and ordered the bill H.R. 3290 favorably 
reported, without amendment, by a vote of 7 to 5, a quorum 
being present. On September 16, 2009, the Committee met in open 
session and ordered the bill H.R. 3290 favorably reported, 
without amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
following rollcall vote occurred during the Committee's 
consideration of H.R. 3290.
    1. Two amendments offered by Mr. King were considered en 
bloc. The amendments would prevent any alien from obtaining 
lawful permanent resident status under the bill who: (a) had 
failed to pay any applicable Federal tax liability owed during 
the period required by law, including any lawful extensions, or 
(b) was not present in the United States on or before September 
11, 2001. Defeated 17 to 6.

                                                 ROLLCALL NO. 1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Ayes            Nays           Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Conyers, Jr., Chairman......................................                              X
Mr. Berman......................................................
Mr. Boucher.....................................................
Mr. Nadler......................................................                              X
Mr. Scott.......................................................                              X
Mr. Watt........................................................                              X
Ms. Lofgren.....................................................                              X
Ms. Jackson Lee.................................................                              X
Ms. Waters......................................................                              X
Mr. Delahunt....................................................
Mr. Wexler......................................................                              X
Mr. Cohen.......................................................                              X
Mr. Johnson.....................................................                              X
Mr. Pierluisi...................................................
Mr. Quigley.....................................................                              X
Mr. Gutierrez...................................................
Mr. Sherman.....................................................
Ms. Baldwin.....................................................                              X
Mr. Gonzalez....................................................
Mr. Weiner......................................................                              X
Mr. Schiff......................................................                              X
Ms. Sanchez.....................................................                              X
Ms. Wasserman Schultz...........................................                              X
Mr. Maffei......................................................                              X
Mr. Smith, Ranking Member.......................................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr...........................................
Mr. Coble.......................................................
Mr. Gallegly....................................................              X
Mr. Goodlatte...................................................              X
Mr. Lungren.....................................................
Mr. Issa........................................................
Mr. Forbes......................................................
Mr. King........................................................              X
Mr. Franks......................................................
Mr. Gohmert.....................................................
Mr. Jordan......................................................              X
Mr. Poe.........................................................
Mr. Chaffetz....................................................
Mr. Rooney......................................................
Mr. Harper......................................................              X
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              6              17
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises 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.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives 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. 3290, 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, September 21, 2009.
Hon. John Conyers, 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. 3290, the 
``September 11 Family Humanitarian Relief and Patriotism Act of 
2009.''
    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,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable Lamar S. Smith.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 3290--September 11 Family Humanitarian Relief and Patriotism Act 
        of 2009.
    H.R. 3290 would grant permanent U.S. residence to certain 
spouses and dependents of aliens who died in the terrorist 
attacks of September 11, 2001. Enacting this legislation could 
affect direct spending of immigration fees by the Department of 
Homeland Security and the cost of certain Federal assistance 
programs. The bill would affect a small number of persons, 
however, and CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3290 would have 
no significant budgetary impact. Enacting the bill would not 
affect revenues.
    H.R. 3290 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no significant costs on State, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
3290 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue 
guidance not later than 6 months from the date of enactment 
providing for the implementation and administration of this 
Act, and to take steps to ensure that each eligible applicant 
who applies for benefits under this Act receives such benefits 
within 6 months of the date of his or application for such 
benefits.

                   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.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 3290 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Sec. 1. Short title. Section 1 sets forth the short title 
of the bill as the ``September 11 Family Humanitarian Relief 
and Patriotism Act of 2009.''
    Sec. 2. Adjustment of Status for Certain Victims of 
Terrorism. Section 2 states that adjustment of status under the 
Act is available only to a person who: (1) on September 10, 
2001, was the spouse, child, unmarried son, or unmarried 
daughter of an alien killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks; (2) 
was deemed to be a beneficiary of the 9/11 VCF; (3) made a 
proffer of information to the Department of Homeland Security 
between April 24, 2008, and August 15, 2008, in connection with 
a request for immigration relief; and (4) did not willfully 
make a material misrepresentation or material omission in that 
proffer of information. Adjustment of status may be granted if 
such a person: (1) applies for adjustment within 1 year of 
enactment; (2) is not inadmissible or deportable on criminal or 
security-related grounds; and (3) has satisfied any Federal tax 
liability. The Secretary also may grant employment 
authorization during the pendency of such applications. The 
Secretary of Homeland Security shall issue guidance to carry 
out the Act within 6 months of enactment, but promulgation of 
regulations is not required. The Act in no way limits the 
existing authority of the agency to perform background or 
security checks in connection with the adjustment application, 
and does not require the Secretary to reduce the number of 
immigrant visas that may be issued under current law.
                            Dissenting Views

    We oppose H.R. 3290, the ``September 11 Family Humanitarian 
and Patriotism Act of 2009.''
    H.R. 3290 grants lawful permanent resident immigration 
status to illegal immigrants who: (1) were on September 10, 
2001, the spouse, child, or dependent son or daughter of an 
alien who died as a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist 
attacks against the United States; (2) were deemed to be 
beneficiaries of, and by, the September 11th Victim 
Compensation Fund of 2001; and (3) made proffers of information 
to DHS between April 24, 2008 and August 15, 2008 requesting 
immigration relief.\1\ Sixteen individuals are eligible for 
lawful permanent residence under this bill.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\H.R. 3290, The ``September 11 Family Humanitarian Relief and 
Patriotism Act,'' Sec. 2(b)(1).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The attacks of September 11, 2001, were heinous acts of 
international terrorism carried out inside U.S. borders. Over 
3,000 individuals were murdered on that day and the entire 
nation grieved with the families and friends of those who died.
    But sympathy for the loss of a loved one provides no 
rationale to grant legal immigration status to those who have 
violated U.S. law to enter and remain in the United States. 
Such a grant is clearly amnesty. Enactment of H.R. 3290 would 
set a precedent should there be any future terrorist attacks, 
or other disasters, in which illegal immigrants or temporary 
visitors or workers are killed. It will erroneously be used as 
justification for similar amnesties in the event of such 
attacks.
    Proponents of H.R. 3290 have previously cited as one of the 
main reasons for supporting the legislation that if these 
illegal immigrants are deported, they may be put at risk of 
kidnapping and other crimes involving ``exploitation for their 
assets.'' In essence, proponents of H.R. 3290 claim that 
because the illegal immigrants are now wealthy, they should be 
granted permanent residency. This would seem to set a precedent 
that wealthy people in countries with high rates of crime 
should receive asylum because of their wealth.
    H.R. 3290 undermines the rule of law and American 
sovereignty with a grant of legal immigration status to those 
who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001 terrorist 
attacks, based solely on the fact of their loss. While it is 
certainly understandable, the grant of such a benefit will set 
an unjustified precedent.
    This issue has been raised previously, most recently during 
the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act (Pub. L. No. 107-56). The 
PATRIOT Act gave lawful permanent resident status to the alien 
spouse and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent 
residents who were killed as a result of the 9/11 terrorist 
attacks. During PATRIOT Act negotiations, Congress deliberately 
decided not to grant permanent residence to the family members 
of illegal immigrants or temporary visitors or workers.
    H.R. 3290 predicates adjustment of immigration status on 
whether the illegal immigrant was deemed to be a beneficiary of 
the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. In 
essence, if the illegal immigrant submitted a claim for, and 
received compensation from, the September 11th Victim 
Compensation Fund of 2001 due to the death or injury of a 
family member, they are eligible for adjustment of status under 
this bill.
    The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 was 
created by the ``Air Transportation Safety and System 
Stabilization Act of 2001'' (P.L. 107-42). The purpose of the 
Fund was to ``provide compensation to any individual (or 
relatives of a deceased individual) who was physically injured 
or killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes 
of September 11, 2001.''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Section 403.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Over 7,300 claims for death or injury were paid out by the 
Fund and over 98% of eligible families of a deceased victim 
submitted claims.\3\ The average claim award for a deceased 
victim was $2,082,127. The minimum claim awarded by the fund 
was $250,000 and the maximum claim awarded was $7.1 million.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Closing Statement from the Special Master, Mr. Kenneth R. 
Feinberg, on the Shutdown of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since H.R. 3290 applies to a closed group of individuals, 
it is a de facto private relief bill. Committee Members are 
provided with full and complete evidence, including 
biographical background information, on private relief bill 
beneficiaries prior to the consideration of the bill by the 
Judiciary Committee.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Rules of Procedure for Private Claims Bills, Subc. On 
Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International 
Law, Rule 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the 109th Congress, Members of the Minority 
requested, through both oral and written communications, on 
several occasions specific biographical background information 
regarding the potential beneficiaries of the bill. Specifically 
the Minority Members requested that the following information 
be supplied separately for each potential beneficiary:

          City and state or nation of current 
        residence;

          Date and place of birth;

          Occupation & current employment;

          Through what means the person entered the 
        United States (i.e.: crossed the border illegally, 
        entered on a temporary visa, etc.);

          Date on which the person initially entered 
        the United States;

          Date and duration of any departures from the 
        United States;

          Amount of monetary award from the September 
        11 Victim Compensation Fund;

          Country of national origin;

          Date of birth of any U.S. citizen children; 
        and

          Any criminal history, including date of 
        arrest, case resolution and penalty served or paid.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Letter from Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security 
and International Law Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve King to 
Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International 
Law Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren, Aug. 21, 2007.

    Despite the repeated requests, and assurances from Majority 
Members that the information would be provided, very little 
information was provided to the Minority Members until it 
became clear that the Department of Homeland Security was 
willing to consider a grant of temporary legal status to the 
individuals.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Letter from DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy Stewart Baker to 
Debra Brown Steinberg, Esq., 2008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finally, in August of 2008 the Department of Homeland 
Security provided the requested information to the Minority. 
DHS had obtained extensive information, through proffers, from 
the 16 individuals. Each proffer asked 40 questions to gain 
information including city and state of current residence, date 
and place of birth, how the individual entered the United 
States, date on which they entered the United States, amount of 
compensation received from the September 11 Victim Compensation 
Fund, any history in the U.S. immigration system, criminal 
history, health history, and employment among other things.
    On August 15, 2008, DHS announced that it would grant 
temporary immigration relief, in the form of one year of 
parole, or one year of deferred action (intent not to prosecute 
for one year), or a pending U visa application (for illegal 
immigrants who are victims of crimes and cooperate with U.S. 
law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the 
criminal, in this case the sentencing phase of the Zacarias 
Moussaoui trial), to 15 of the individuals who would have been 
eligible for relief under H.R. 1071 (the similar bill in the 
109th Congress). One other individual was refused immigration 
relief because he had failed to file tax returns for several 
years.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Letter from Stewart Baker, Assistant Secretary for Policy, 
Department of Homeland Security, to Deborah Steinberg, Esq., Aug. 15, 
2008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to opposing H.R. 3290 because it provides 
amnesty to illegal immigrants, we oppose the bill because the 
Majority refused to accept two amendments that improved the 
legislation. First, we offered an amendment to exclude as a 
beneficiary from the immigration benefits, the individual who 
had failed to pay federal taxes between the years 1999 and 
2006.\8\ The individual did not pay his back taxes until it was 
apparent that he would not receive legal immigration status 
until he did so. Such a blatant disregard for the law should 
not be rewarded.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Id. at 3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The least we can ask of someone who is receiving amnesty 
after being in the United States illegally and receiving money 
from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund ($1,382,252 million in 
this case), is that he has paid his federal taxes in the manner 
required by law. The Department of Homeland Security itself 
stated that such a failure ``demonstrates and indifference to 
the social and legal obligations of residence in this 
country.''\9\ DHS also correctly stated that the failure to 
file tax returns ``reveals a civic irresponsibility.''\10\ DHS 
is correct.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Id.
    \10\Id. at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The second amendment we offered excluded two individuals 
who entered the United States after September 11, 2001, from 
receiving immigration benefits under H.R. 3290. Supporters of 
H.R. 3290 claim that the sixteen individuals should be given 
legal immigration status in part because they have been in the 
United States for many years and had roots in the country prior 
to September 11, 2001. Two individuals, however, entered the 
United States with the consent of DHS, on March 22, 2002. They 
then left the United Sates in December of 2003 and returned in 
April of 2004.\11\ They are abusing their initial humanitarian 
grant of legal entrance by seeking to stay permanently. We 
should not encourage people to enter the country after the 
fact, in order to obtain a benefit.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Proffers of information for ``Child Three'' and ``Child Four,'' 
Question Six, June 10, 2008.

                                   Steve King.
                                   Gregg Harper.