Immigration Subcommittees
of the House and Senate

106th Congress, 1st Session
Presentation Copyright 1998-1999 VIKRAM BADRINATH, P.C. • All rights reserved •

The Immigration Laws of the United States are drafted, designed, and created by your Senators and House Representatives. If you are dissatisfied with the policy considerations, implementation, or enforcement of the Immigration laws you are encouraged to contact your representative. Without your direct input, your Senator or House Representative may not fully understand or acknowledge the impact and consequences of legislation they support or advocate.

Introducing the New Immigration Subcommittees

Both the House and the Senate have named the new Judiciary immigration subcommittees charged with overseeing immigration policy for the 106th Congress. The immigration subcommittees have jurisdiction over all bills regarding the naturalization admission of foreign nationals to this country, and other related issues. The subcommittees are also responsible for Congressional oversight of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In the House, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) will return for his fourth year to chair the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. On the minority side, Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), will take over from Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) as the ranking Democratic member on the Subcommittee. Representative Jackson-Lee is in her third term in Congress and has not previously served on this subcommittee. The other members of the Subcommittee are: Republicans Bill McCollum* (FL), Elton Gallegly (CA), Ed Pease (IN), Christopher B. Cannon (UT), Mary Bono* (CA), Charles T. Canady* (FL), and Robert W. Goodlatte* (VA), and Democrats Howard L. Berman (CA), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Barney Frank* (MA), and Martin T. Meehan (MA). (Members marked with an * are new to the subcommittee this year).

On the Senate side, Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) will return as Chairman of the subcommittee for his second term. Senator Abraham was the principal Senate sponsor of last session’s H-1B legislation. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is once again serving as ranking minority member. Senator Kennedy has been a key player in immigration legislation for most of his years in the Senate. While assignments have not been finalized, it appears that returning Republicans are Charles Grassley (IA), Jon Kyl (AZ) and Arlen Specter (PA). Democrats Dianne Feinstein (CA) returns and Charles Schumer (NY) may take the place of Senator Richard Durbin (IL).

Although most immigration legislation must pass through these two subcommittees, other subcommittees also shape immigration policy, especially the Appropriations Subcommittees for the Departments of Commerce, State, Justice and the Judiciary (commonly referred to as "CSJ"), CSJ approves the budgets for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State consular offices, and other important immigration agencies.

This year, Republican Harold Rogers (D-KY) once again chairs the House CSJ Appropriations Subcommittee. During the last Congress, Representative Rogers introduced an INS reorganization bill that AILA opposed because it would have severely damaged the INS’ adjudicating function. Other Republicans on the subcommittee are: Jim Kolbe (AZ), Charles Taylor (NC), Ralph Regula (OH), Tom Latham (IA), Dan Miller (FL), and Zach Wamp (TN). The Ranking Minority Member of this Committee is Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) who takes over from Representative Alan Mollohan (D-WV), who will remain on the subcommittee, along with Democrats Julian Dixon (CA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA). Representative Serrano is a member of the Hispanic Caucus.

In the Senate, the CSJ Appropriations Subcommittee once again is chaired by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), and the Ranking Minority Member is once again Senator Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC). Other members are Republicans Ted Stevens (AK), Pete Domenici (NM), Mitch McConnell (KY), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (CO), and Democrats Daniel K. Inouye (HI), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Barbara Mikulski (MD), and Patrick Leahy (VT).

For more information on how to contact an immigration subcommittee member, please "click" onto their respective link as provided in our Senate and House of Representatives section in order to access their individual webpage.