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Office of Congressional Relations (OCR)

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The Office of Congressional Relations (OCR) is the primary point of contact for the U.S. Congress. OCR focuses on promoting a greater understanding of ICE operations, policies, programs and initiatives among members of Congress, congressional committees, and their staff.

Mission

OCR serves as the primary liaison to Congress for ICE. OCR is committed to providing Members of Congress and their staff with timely, relevant, and accurate information regarding ICE missions, priorities, and programs.

Resources

Privacy Waiver Authorizing Disclosure to a Third Party (ICE Form 60-001):
Note: those who have applied for or have received any of the following immigration benefits are legally entitled to confidentiality:

  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker
  • Asylum
  • T Visa (for trafficking victims)
  • Battered Spouse/Child Seeking Hardship Waiver
  • U Visa (for victims of certain crimes)
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

In order for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to share information regarding these types of benefits, the beneficiary/recipient must affirmatively waive their confidentiality rights.  The ICE privacy wavier form specifically addresses this requirement. Waiving of these rights is not required; however, if the beneficiary/recipient does not waive these rights, DHS may be unable to disclose some or all of the information requested.

Online Detainee Locator
To use the detainee locator, search by A-number (alien number and country of birth) or biographical information (first name, last name, country of birth, and month/day/year of birth)

Please note, the system cannot search records of persons under the age of 18.

Facility Locator
For information pertaining to facility visitation/touring information, view the Procedures for Congressional Facility Visits.

HSI Tip Line
866-347-2423 (open 24/7)
To report suspicious criminal activity involving terrorism, cybercrimes, drug smuggling, money laundering, human trafficking/smuggling, human rights violators, import/export violations, child pornography/exploitation, document and benefit fraud, gang-related crimes, intellectual property rights violations, and work site enforcement.

Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE)
Hotline: 885-488-6423
VOICE ensures that victims and their families have access to releasable information about a perpetrator and offer assistance explaining the immigration removal process.

Please note, this is not a hotline to report crime (please refer to the HSI tipline).

Roles and Responsibilities

IssueAgency
Ports of Entry, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. border apprehensions, statistics, etc.U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Interior enforcement, detention centers, removals, Worksite Enforcement, 287(g) Program, Cultural Property Repatriation, Intellectual Property Rights Center, etc.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Citizenship, citizenship for spouses, naturalization, immigration benefits, asylum, E-Verify, EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, etc.U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Status of immigration court cases – Executive Office for Immigration Review and Board of Immigration AppealsDepartment of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
Refugees, placement/sheltering for unaccompanied alien children, etc.Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement
TSA PreCheck, REAL ID, airports, baggage screening, etc.Transportation Security Administration

Private immigration relief legislation, or private immigration bills, introduced by Members of Congress generally operate as a last resort for individuals who have exhausted ordinary administrative and judicial immigration remedies. The majority of present-day private immigration bills are introduced to confer lawful permanent resident (LPR) status on a beneficiary or set of beneficiaries by circumventing the normal immigration law framework, including inadmissibility grounds and legal requirements that ordinarily apply to those seeking LPR status.

Pursuing repeated stays of removal is not a viable means for an alien to permanently postpone removal, pursuant to a removal order, to his or her country of origin. ICE does not have the authority to vacate an order of removal issued by an immigration judge.

Policy

ICE Policy Number 5004.1, Stays of Removal and Private Immigration Bills (May 5, 2017), outlines the policy, procedures, and responsibilities ICE will adhere to when considering and issuing temporary stays of removal for alien-beneficiaries who are subject to a final order of removal in conjunction with private immigration bills.  The directive states:

  • ICE will consider and issue a stay of removal only if the Chair of the Judiciary Committee (or appropriate Subcommittee) expressly makes a written request that ICE stay the beneficiary’s removal independent of any request for investigative report; a request for an investigative report will not trigger an automatic stay of removal.
  • ICE will not grant a beneficiary more than one stay of removal through the private immigration bill process. As such, ICE will not honor subsequent requests for a stay of removal from the Chair of the Judiciary Committee (or appropriate Subcommittee) for beneficiaries who have already received a stay through the private immigration bill process.
  • If granted, the duration of a stay of removal is limited to no more than six months. However, the ICE Director, at his or her discretion, may provide a one-time, 90-day extension beyond the initial stay of removal if requested by the Chair of the Judiciary Committee (or appropriate Subcommittee) to accommodate extenuating circumstances.

Process

Request for Investigative Report: The Chair of the Judiciary Committee (or appropriate Subcommittee) must formally request in writing on Committee letterhead an investigative report for the alien-beneficiary/ies of private immigration relief legislation introduced in the appropriate chamber of Congress.  The request should be addressed to the ICE Director (or Acting Director) and include the name(s) of the alien-beneficiary/ies, alien number (A-number), private immigration bill number, and the date of introduction. In addition, to expedite production of the report, each alien-beneficiary (or interested third party) should complete ICE Form G-79A, Information Relating to Beneficiary of Private Bill and ICE Form G-382, Private Bill Data Sheet. The letter of request and accompanying forms should be provided to the ICE Office of Congressional Relations (OCR) for processing. In most cases, once the requisite forms are received, ICE OCR anticipates a formal, written response will be provided to requestor within 30 to 90 days, depending on the number of beneficiaries involved and the complexity of each case.

Request for Stay of Removal: The Chair of the Judiciary Committee (or appropriate Subcommittee) must formally request in writing on Committee letterhead a stay of removal for the alien-beneficiary/ies of private immigration relief legislation introduced in the appropriate chamber of Congress. The request should be addressed to the ICE Director (or Acting Director) and should include the name(s) of the alien-beneficiary/ies, A-number, private immigration bill number, and the date of introduction. The letter of request should be provided to ICE OCR for processing. In most cases, ICE OCR anticipates a formal, written response will be provided to the requestor within 7 to 10 days.

Private Immigration Relief Legislation – Introduced and Enacted

A list of private immigration relief bills introduced and enacting from the 110th Congress (2007-2008) to present can be found here. Note all information in this report is derived from public sources (see www.congress.gov).

Raymond Kovacic, Office of Congressional Relations
Raymond Kovacic
Office of Congressional Relations

Raymond Kovacic is the Assistant Director, Office of Congressional Relations (OCR), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

OCR represents ICE on Capitol Hill through a broad variety of congressional liaison activities that promote greater awareness of ICE operations and national and local policies as well as the agency's various programs and initiatives. OCR partners closely with ICE leadership and the Department of Homeland Security to execute these liaison efforts.

Prior to his appointment, Raymond served as the Assistant Field Office Director in Ventura, California, a sub-office of the Los Angeles Field Office. Raymond was responsible for Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties and the San Fernando Valley, where he led critical ICE programs and operations to identify, arrest, and remove illegal aliens from the United States.

At the forefront of developing innovative approaches to fugitive removals, Raymond was crucial to supporting his office’s increased enforcement activities. Throughout his near three-decade long federal law enforcement career he developed a network of critical relationships with law enforcement leaders and  members of Congress.

Following 9/11, Raymond was a senior member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Osama Bin Laden Unit, Counterterrorism Section, FBI Headquarters, where he spearheaded intelligence gathering efforts.

From 1991 to 2003, Raymond was a Special Agent and Supervisory Special Agent for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, Office of Investigations (OI), which was transitioned to the newly formed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2003.  He also served  from 2004 to 2006 as the ICE liaison to U.S. Senator John Cornyn and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Through his comprehensive knowledge of public policy and administration objectives and his ability to strike a balance between political, policy, and individual interests, he advanced the ICE mission by forging strategic partnerships with congressional offices and staff in concert with the Director and ICE officials.

Raymond was born in Connecticut and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Northeastern University. He has two sons, Michael and Jared, who reside in Westlake Village, California.

 

 

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/14/2020