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Office of Congressional Relations

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.

ICE 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 Engagement and Services Line (VESL)
Hotline: (833) 383-1465
VESL serves as a comprehensive and inclusive support system for all victims, regardless of immigration status or the immigration status of the perpetrator.

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

Roles and Responsibilities

Issue Agency
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 Appeals Department 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 Bills

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are committed to building a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system. This includes guaranteeing that the rights of all individuals, including noncitizens, are protected in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations while protecting the national and border security of the United States and the safety of American communities.

Private immigration bills introduced by Members of Congress serve as a last resort for individuals who have exhausted ordinary administrative and judicial immigration remedies. In line with our American values, an updated ICE policy regarding stays of removal in conjunction with private immigration bills has been issued. Effective November 8, 2021, it is the policy of ICE to provide investigative support for private immigration bills introduced by Congress and, where appropriate, to exercise discretion to consider stays of removal or other remedies for beneficiaries of private immigration bills and requests for investigative reports.

A stay of removal or grant of deferred action, if issued as part of the private immigration bill process, is granted by ICE as a matter of comity and courtesy between the executive and legislative branches of government to ensure Congress has the time and information it needs to consider the pending private immigration bill.

Policy

ICE Policy Number 5004.2, Stays of Removal and Private Immigration Bills (November 8, 2021), outlines the policy, procedures, and responsibilities ICE will adhere to when considering and issuing temporary stays of removal for noncitizen-beneficiaries in conjunction with private immigration bills. The directive states:

  • Once a private immigration bill has been introduced and an investigative report requested by the Chairperson of the House or Senate Committee on the Judiciary (or of the relevant Subcommittee of jurisdiction within either committee), absent exceptional circumstances, ICE will temporarily refrain from civil immigration enforcement actions including but not limited to initiating removal proceedings, pursuing a final order of removal, or executing a final order of removal until the bill is signed into law or until Congress adjourns without acting on the bill and the subsequent grace period (March 15 of the of the first session of the following Congress) has expired. However, please note an indication from an individual member of Congress of the intent to file a private bill — or simply the introduction of such a bill — is not sufficient to require consideration of a stay of removal or the grant of deferred action.
  • ICE may deny a request for a stay of removal or deferred action, or may revoke an approved stay or deferred action, and take enforcement action including immediate removal, where permitted by law, if ICE identifies evidence that civil immigration actions are warranted despite the existing request. In such circumstances, ICE will notify the appropriate committee. Upon expiration of any stay of removal or period of deferred action conferred — or where such a stay or grant of deferred action is revoked — ICE may, in its discretion, initiate or continue to pursue removal proceedings or take steps to execute a final order, consistent with DHS and ICE civil immigration enforcement priorities.

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 noncitizen-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 noncitizen-beneficiary/ies, A-number, private immigration bill number, and the date of introduction. In addition, to expedite production of the report, each noncitizen-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. Please note that ICE is not required to consider taking discretionary action to forebear detention or removal or delay an enforcement action until OCR receives a request for an investigative report. 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.

Private Immigration Relief Legislation – Introduced and Enacted

A list of private immigration relief bills introduced and enacted 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).

Office of Congressional Relations

Jonathon Bertran-Harris
Jonathon
Bertran-Harris
Assistant Director, Office of Congressional Relations

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.

Updated: 11/22/2021