Durbin, Feinstein Statement on Drastic, Unilateral Changes to Private Bills

WASHINGTON – Senate Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Member Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) issued the following statement in response to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s decision to discontinue a decades-long bipartisan policy of issuing stays of removal for private immigration bills when the Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee requests a report on a beneficiary’s case.

“Children’s and families’ lives are on the line. Private immigration bills are a critical safety net that Democrats and Republicans alike have carefully used for a small number of the most critical cases.

“The executive branch for decades—under both Democratic and Republican administrations—has shielded individuals from deportation while private bills are pending. The process for how private bills would work has only been changed in the past after extensive consultation with members of Congress. 

“The department has now unilaterally changed that process without consulting Congress. This is a mean-spirited action that tramples firm, longstanding practice between two co-equal branches of government.

“This Administration has already demonstrated a willful disregard for the Constitution’s separation of powers in the name of the President’s deportation agenda. For DHS to threaten to deport a handful of immigrants before Congress can act to protect them shows just how far this Administration will go.”