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P.L. 105-277: Haitian Relief Provisions

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 98102259 (posted Oct. 22, 1998)"

TITLE IX--HAITIAN REFUGEE IMMIGRATION FAIRNESS ACT OF 1998

The conference agreement includes a new Title, the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998, as proposed in the Senate bill, which provides certain Haitians who were paroled into the United States before December 31, 1995 and who applied for asylum by that date, and certain unaccompanied minors, to apply for adjustment of status. The House had no similar provision.

In addition, the conference agreement adds a seciton requiring detailed reports from the Comptroller General on the numbers of aliens who apply for and receive status adjustment under this Act.

conference total--with comparisons

The total new budget (obligational) authority for the fiscal year 1999 recommended by the Committee of Conference, with comparisons to the fiscal year 1998 amount, the 1999 budget estimates, and the House and Senate bills for 1999 follow:

New budget (obligational) authority, fiscal year 1998...$25,325,767,500
Budget estimates of new (obligational) authority, fiscal 26,839,489,000
House bill, fiscal year 1999.............................26,614,669,000
Senate bill, fiscal year 1999............................29,923,612,000
Conference agreement, fiscal year 1999...................26,772,527,000

Conference agreement compared with:
New budget (obligational) authority, fiscal year 1998..+1,446,759,500
Budget estimates of new (obligational) authority, fiscal y-66,962,000
House bill, fiscal year 1999.............................+157,858,000
Senate bill, fiscal year 1999..........................-3,151,085,000

Additional Provisions (Division A)

Sections 102-134

The conference agreement includes $50,000,000 in final year funding for the nonpower programs of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Within this amount, $7,000,000 is provided for Land Between the Lakes.

The conference agreement includes language permitting the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to repurchase bonds issued by the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) without prepayment penalty. This provision will permit TVA to prepay its loans at less than their full contractual value, resulting in a savings to TVA of approximately $810,000,000 over ten years. The FFB, however, retains its contractual obligation to repay its corresponding loan from the Treasury at the full market value of the TVA loan. This will require additional appropriations to the FFB.

The conference agreement repeals section 312 of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 1999. Section 312 delayed until September 30, 1999, the obligation of $57,000,000 in the Atomic Energy Defense Activities, Weapons Activities appropriation account.

The conference agreement provides $35,000,000 for the Columbia River Fish Mitigation, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The conference agreement provides: $1,500,000 of previously appropriated funds to initiate construction of the Delaware River Mainstem and Channel Deepening, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, project; $400,000 of previously appropriated funds to initiate a comprehensive aquatic ecosystem restoration study in the Upper Susquehanna- Lackawanna Watershed; and $340,000 of previously appropriated funds to initiate construction of the Pierre, South Dakota, flood mitigation project, subject to authorization. The agreement also includes $1,500,000 of previously appropriated funds for water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Of this amount, $500,000 is for water resource projects in Scott Township, $500,000 is for projects in Shaler Township, and $500,000 is for projects in the municipality of Penn Hills.

The conference agreement includes authorization and $750,000 for repair of the Archusa Water Park Dam, Quitman, Mississippi.

The conference agreement includes $60,000,000 for solar and renewable programs in the energy supply account in addition to the amount provided for fiscal year 1999 in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 1999 (P.L. 105-245). Of this amount, $42,000,000 has been provided to reduce the $50,000,000 general reduction in the

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energy supply account that otherwise would have been applied to solar and renewable programs. The remaining $18,000,000 has been provided for high-priority solar and renewable research and development activities. The Department is directed to submit a proposal for approval by the Committees on Appropriations within thirty days of enactment of this bill which includes the Department's plan to direct this additional amount to high-priority programs. The entire $60,000,000 is to remain available through September 30, 2000.

The conference agreement includes $15,000,000 for the Department of Energy to participate in the Next Generation Internet program. The Department is directed to award funds under this program using full and open competitive procedures.

The conference agreement includes language prohibiting the use of funds appropriated for fiscal year 1999 to study, or implement any plan for, the drainage of Lake Powell or the decommissioning of Glen Canyon Dam.

The conference agreement provides $100,000,000 for construction of and improvements to surface transportation projects located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The conference agreement provides $100,000,000 for construction of and improvements to Corridor X of the Appalachian development highway system within the State of Alabama.

The conference agreement provides $32,000,000 for construction of and improvements to the Appalachian development highway system in West Virginia.

The conference agreement provides $100,000,000 for construction of and improvements to highway projects designated by section 1105(c)(18)(C)(ii) of the Intermodel Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, as amended by section 1211(i) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.

The conference agreement includes an appropriation of $28,000,000, to remain available until expended, to enable the Secretary of Transportation to make grants to the state- owned Alaska Railroad. These funds are to be utilized for planning, design, administration and construction costs associated with the Anchorage International Airport-rail passenger station.

The conference agreement rescinds $392,000,000 in excess contract authority from the Federal Transit Administration's discretionary grants program. A similar rescission was proposed by the Senate as part of the fiscal year 1999 Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

The conference agreement includes a provision that provides within funding provided in the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, for discretionary grants under the obligation limitation for Federal Aviation Administration, ``Grants-in-Aid for Airports'' in fiscal year 1999, not less than $11,250,000 shall be made available for capital improvement projects at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. These projects are in the FAA-approved airport layout plan, and include construction of a new terminal building, relocation of the FAA air traffic control tower, and relocation of the airport rescue and firefighting facility. The conference agreement includes an understanding that the airport authority is supportive of renaming this airport after Congressman Joseph M. McDade, who has served that area of Pennsylvania faithfully and diligently for 36 years. The conferees are strongly supportive of the airport's efforts in this regard.

The conference agreement includes a provision that provides within funding provided in the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, for discretionary grants under the obligation limitation for Federal Aviation Administration, ``Grants-in-Aid for Airports'' in fiscal year 1999, not less than $7,000,000 shall be made available for capital improvement projects at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

The conference agreement amends the appropriating paragraph for the Joint Committee on Printing in the Conference Report on the Legislative Branch Appropriations, 1999 (H.R.4112) to provide that the $150,000 made available, subject to certain conditions, to the Committee on House Oversight shall be disbursed by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives.

The conference agreement includes a provision to appropriate $30,000,000 for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the American Fisheries Act, which is included in Division C, title II of this Act, as follows: (1) $750,000 for the cost of a direct loan under section 207(a); (2) $20,000,000 for direct payments under section 207(d); (3) $250,000 for the cost of the direct loans under section 211(e); (4) $1,000,000 for the cost of direct loans in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab fishery; and (5) $8,000,000 for administrative expenses associated with implementation of this title. Neither the House nor Senate bills addressed this matter.

The conference agreement inserts a new general provision, which includes the following amounts in addition to the amounts provided in the conference report (H. Rept. 105-769) accompanying H.R. 4194:

(1) $10,000,000 for the housing opportunities for persons with AIDS account. This amount is an increase above the $215,000,000 provided for this program in the Fiscal Year 1999 Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act;

(2) $45,000,000 for grants of $3,000,000 to each urban empowerment zone designated by HUD under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 for economic development activities consistent with the strategic plan of each empowerment zone;

(3) $20,000,000 for ``State and tribal assistance grants'' for wastewater infrastructure needs in Boston, Massachusetts. This additional funding brings the fiscal year 1999 appropriation for Boston's wastewater infrastructure project to $50,000,000;

(4) $10,000,000 for AmeriCorps grants. This amount is an increase above the earmarking of not more than $227,000,000 for such grants provided in the Fiscal year 1999 Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act;

(5) $10,000,000 for ``Science and technology'' to conduct additional research pursuant to the Climate Change Technology Initiative. For fiscal year 1999, $37,000,000 has been provided for such research in this account;

(6) $15,000,000 for the ``Community development financial institutions fund program account'', bringing the total fiscal year 1999 funding level to $95,000,000; and

(7) $5,000,000 of the community development block grant funds provided in the 1999 appropriations shall be for a grant to Cayuga County, New York, to repair and rehabilitate the seawalls at the Owasco Lake outlet.

The conference agreement inserts a new general provision repealing Sec. 202 regarding GSE Default Loss Protection in the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999.

The conference agreement inserts a new general provision making a technical correction to targeting language in the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998.

The conference agreement inserts a new general provision clarifying the use of funds provided to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma through the Community Development Block Grants program in the fiscal year 1999 appropriations Act. The conference agreement inserts a new general provision making technical modifications to a 1999 economic development initiative grant for Hawaii.

The conference agreement inserts a new general provision making technical modifications to the reappointment authority of the VA's Under Secretary for Health.

The conference agreement includes new language establishing a Trade Deficit Review Commission to study the nature, causes and consequences of the United State merchandise trade and current account deficits and report its findings to the President and the Congress. The conference agreement also includes language under this section appropriating $2,000,000 for the expenses of this Commission. Neither the House nor Senate bills addressed this matter.

Sec. 130. The conference agreement includes a new section as proposed by the Administration that directs the Secretary of the Treasury to invest, or direct the Trustee to invest, the assets of the District of Columbia Pension Fund for Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Teachers, in public debt securities not later than September 30, 1999. The intended results of this action, according to the Administration, is to increase Federal receipts by an estimated $2.414 billion in fiscal year 1999 and reduce receipts in subsequent years.

Sec. 131. The conference agreement appropriates $25,000,000 as proposed by the Administration for economic development planning, project development, capital investments, loans, grants, administrative expenses and other purposes included in authorizing legislation enacted by the Council of the District of Columbia. The conference agreement directs that none of these funds be obligated or expended until at least 30 days after the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority submits a spending plan to Congress.

Sec. 132. The conference agreement appropriates $30,000,000 as proposed by the Administration for special education costs in the District of Columbia.

Sec. 133. The conference agreement appropriates $20,000,000 as proposed by the Administration for Year 2000 information technology and related chip replacement projects in the District of Columbia. The conference agreement directs that none of these funds be obligated or expended until at least 30 days after the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority submits a spending plan to Congress.

Sec. 134. The conference agreement appropriates $50,000,000 as proposed by the Administration for the repair and maintenance of roads, highways, bridges and transit in the District of Columbia and other economic development projects and planning in the District of Columbia. The conference agreement directs that none of these funds be obligated or expended until at least 30 days after the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority submits a spending plan to Congress.

TITLE IX--HAITIAN REFUGEE IMMIGRATION FAIRNESS ACT OF 1998

Sec. 901. Short Title. This title may be cited as the ``Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998''. Sec. 902. Adjustment of Status of Certain Haitian Nationals. (a) Adjustment of Status.--

(1) In general.--The status of any alien described in subsection (b) shall be adjusted by the Attorney General to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, if the alien--

(A) applies for such adjustment before April 1, 2000; and

(B) is otherwise admissible to the United States for permanent residence, except that, 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 shall not apply.

(2) 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 on submitting or granting such application, to file a separate motion to reopen, reconsider, or vacate such order. If the Attorney General grants the application, the Attorney General shall cancel the order. If the Attorney General makes a final 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.--The benefits provided by subsection (a) shall apply to any alien who is a national of Haiti who--

(1) was present in the United States on December 31, 1995, who--

(A) filed for asylum before December 31, 1995,

(B) was paroled into the United States prior to December 31, 1995, after having been identified as having a credible fear of persecution, or paroled for emergent reasons or reasons deemed strictly in the public interest, or

(C) was a child (as defined in the text above subparagraph (A) of section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)) at the time of arrival in the United States and on December 31, 1995, and who--

(i) arrived in the United States without parents in the United States and has remained without parents in the United States since such arrival,

(ii) became orphaned subsequent to arrival in the United States, or

(iii) was abandoned by parents or guardians prior to April 1, 1998 and has remained abandoned since such abandonment; and

(2) has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period beginning not later than December 31, 1995, and ending not earlier than the date the application for such adjustment is filed, except that 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 period or periods amounting in the aggregate to not more than 180 days.

(c) Stay of Removal.--

(1) In general.--The Attorney General shall provide by regulation for an alien who is subject to a final order of deportation or removal or exclusion 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 exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings under any provision of such Act and has applied for adjustment of status under subsection (a), except where the Attorney General has made a final determination to deny the application.

(3) Work authorization.--The Attorney General 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 Attorney General 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 Attorney General to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, if--

(A) the alien is a national of Haiti;

(B) the alien 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 he or she has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period beginning not later than December 31, 1995, and ending not earlier than the date the application for such adjustment is filed;

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

(D) the alien is otherwise admissible to the United States for permanent residence, except that, 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 shall not apply.

(2) Proof of continuous presence.--For purposes of establishing the period of continuous physical presence referred to in paragraph (1)(B), 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 period or periods amounting in the aggregate to not more than 180 days.

(e) Availability of Administrative Review.--The Attorney General shall provide to applicants for adjustment of status under subsection (a) the same right to, and procedures for, administrative review as are provided to--

(1) applicants for adjustment of status under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act; or

(2) aliens subject to removal proceedings under section 240 of such Act.

(f) Limitation on Judicial Review.--A determination by the Attorney General as to whether the status of any alien should be adjusted under this section is final and shall not be subject to review by any court.

(g) No Offset in Number of Visas Available.--When an alien is granted the status of having been lawfully admitted for permanent resident 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.

(h) Application of Immigration and Nationality Act Provisions.--Except as otherwise specifically provided in this title, the definitions contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act shall apply in the administration of this section. Nothing contained in this title shall be held to repeal, amend, alter, modify, effect, or restrict the powers, duties, functions, or authority of the Attorney General 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.

(i) Adjustment of Status Has No Effect On Eligibility For Welfare and Public Benefits.--No alien whose status has been adjusted in accordance with this section and who was not a qualified alien on the date of enactment of this Act may, solely on the basis of such adjusted status, be considered to be a qualified alien under section 431(b) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1641(b)), as amended by section 5302 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-33; 111 Stat. 598), for purposes of determining the alien's eligibility for supplemental security income benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.) or medical assistance under title XIX of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.).

(j) Period of Applicability.--Subsection (i) shall not apply after October 1, 2003.

(k) Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 6 months thereafter (until all applications for adjustment of status under this section have been finally adjudicated), the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committees on the Judiciary and the Committees on Appropriations of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate a report containing the following:

(1)(A) The number of aliens who applied for adjustment of status under subsection (a), including a breakdown specifying the number of such applicants who are described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of subsection (b)91), respectively.

(B) the number of aliens described in subparagraph (A) whose status was ajusted under this section, including a breakdown described in the subparagraph.

(2)(A) The number of aliens who applied for adjustment of status under subsection (d), including a breakdown specifying the number of such applicants who are sponsors, children, or unmarried sons or daughters described in such subsection, respectively.

(B) The number of aliens described in subparagraph (A) whose status was adjusted under this section, including a breakdown described in the subparagraph.

Sec. 903. Collection of Data on Detained Asylum Seekers. (a) In general.--The Attorney General shall regularly collect data on a nation-wide basis with respect to asylum seekers in detention in the United States, including the following information:

(1) The number of detainees.

(2) An identification of the countries of origin of the detainees.

(3) The percentage of each gender within the total number of detainees.

(4) The number of detainees listed by each year of age of the detainees.

(5) The location of each detainee by detention facility.

(6) With respect to each facility where detainees are held, whether the facility is also used to

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detain criminals and whether any of the detainees are held in the same cells as criminals.

(7) The number and frequency of the transfers of detainees between detention facilities.

(8) The average length of detention and the number of detainees by category of the length of detention.

(9) The rate of release from detention of detainees for each district of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

(10) A description of the disposition of cases.

(b) Annual reports.--Beginning October 1, 1999, and not later than October 1 of each year thereafter, the Attorney General shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of each House of Congress a report setting forth the data collected under subsection (a) for the fiscal year ending September 30 of that year.

(c) Availability to Public.--Copies of the data collected under subsection (a) shall be made available to members of the public upon request pursuant to such regulations as the Attorney General shall prescribe.

Sec. 904. Collection of Data on Other Detained Aliens. (a) In General.--The Attorney General shall regularly collect data on a nationwide basis on aliens being detained in the United States by the Immigration and Naturalization Service other than the aliens described in section 903, including the following information:

(1) The number of detainees who are criminal aliens and the number of detainees who are noncriminal aliens who are not seeking asylum.

(2) An identification of the ages, gender, and countries of origin of detainees within each category described in paragraph (1).

(3) The types of facilities, whether facilities of the Immigration and Naturalization Service or other Federal, State, or local facilities, in which each of the categories of detainees described in paragraph (1) are held.

(b) Length of Detention, Transfers, and Dispositions.--With respect to detainees who are criminal aliens and detainees who are noncriminal aliens who are not seeking asylum, the Attorney General shall also collect data concerning--

(1) the number and frequency of transfers between detention facilities for each category of detainee;

(2) the average length of detention of each category of detainee;

(3) for each category of detainee, the number of detainees who have been detained for the same length of time, in 3- month increments;

(4) for each category of detainee, the rate of release from detention for each district of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and

(5) for each category of detainee, the disposition of detention, including whether detention ended due to deportation, release on parole, or any other release.

(c) Criminal Aliens.--With respect to criminal aliens, the Attorney General shall also collect data concerning--

(1) the number of criminal aliens apprehended under the immigration laws and not detained by the Attorney General; and

(2) a list of crimes committed by criminal aliens after the decision was made not to detain them, to the extent this information can be derived by cross-checking the list of criminal aliens not detained with other databases accessible to the Attorney General.

(d) Annual Reports.--Beginning on October 1, 1999, and not later than October 1 of each year thereafter, the Attorney General shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of each House of Congress a report setting forth the data collected under subsections (a), (b), and (c) for the fiscal year ending September 30 of that year.

(e) Availability to Public.--Copies of the data collected under subsections (a), (b), and (c) shall be made available to members of the public upon request pursuant to such regulations as the Attorney General shall prescribe.

 
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