Maggio + Kattar, in collaboration with Duane Morris and students at the Pennsylvania State University School of Law’s Center recently completed the preparation of a “Private Bills and Deferred Action Toolkit.” This Toolkit provides a roadmap to assist immigration practitioners in putting together compelling arguments for extraordinary relief by presenting some of the human dimensions of immigration law to specific members of Congress.

Every year, thousands of noncitizens with compelling circumstances are deported (removed) from the U.S. because the immigration law provides them with no opportunity to seek relief from removal. These cases include individuals who are green card holders (lawful permanent residents) and/or who live with U.S. citizen family members, those who have been gainfully employed inside the U.S., those serving as a primary caretaker or breadwinner for their family, and those who may suffer from a serious medical condition. In addition to those removed, many never come out of the shadows of the undocumented life due to the unavailability of legal immigration options. Restrictive immigration laws passed in 1997 have created this situation where deserving immigrants cannot get a hearing on the merits of their worth to the U.S. community. Well-meaning officials and Immigration Judges are often powerless to help people who they view as meritorious. For this population, the only options left are to venture beyond traditional forms of relief and to seek extraordinary measures such as a private bill through Congress or to implore the immigration agency to grant deferred action or some other form of prosecutorial discretion. Currently, there is a dearth of materials and information about the process and general eligibility requirements for obtaining such relief.

Maggio+Kattar played a pivotal role in collaborating with the law students to create practice advisories, and related material pertaining to private bills and deferred action. The Toolkit includes sample documents of the following: 1) checklists for applicants; 2) required forms; 3) letters of support/legal briefs; and 4) resource page with contacts, helpful Web sites, and other resources. The Toolkit includes voluminous appendices available in two parts here and here.