On July 11, 2017, two members of Congress — Brad Wenstrup and Trent Franks — introduced a private bill to grant lawful permanent resident status to Charlie Gard and his parents. The purpose is to allow the family to pursue experimental treatments at a hospital in New York City for Charlie, who has a rare genetic condition which currently has no cure. For those of you following this situation, this is the latest on Friday from CNN.
In the United States Congress, a private bill provides benefits to specific individuals, usually after “all administrative or legal remedies are exhausted.” In order to become law, such a bill must be passed in identical form by BOTH the House of Representatives and the Senate and then signed by the President. Given the difficulties of getting anything passed in Congress, this entire process may take months — months that Baby Charlie simply may not have.
Obtaining LPR status for Baby Charlie and his family is not the only option. In fact, there is a faster way! The U.S. government may grant humanitarian parole to individuals who have “urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for the beneficiary to be in the United States.” Surely, obtaining cutting-edge medical treatment inside the United States should qualify as an “urgent humanitarian” benefit. And if expediency is an issue, it should not be difficult to coordinate high-level Executive branch officials at the Department of Homeland Security and at the Department of State to fast-track the parole request and facilitate the visa that would allow Baby Charlie’s family travel to the United States.
Every situation is unique and should be examined in full detail. If you or someone in your family would benefit from a private bill or humanitarian parole, you should discuss the matter with experienced attorneys.