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Congressman Rob Woodall

Representing the 7th District of Georgia

Woodall Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Immigration Document Delivery

March 10, 2016
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – This week, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA-07) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) along with 6 co-sponsors introduced a bipartisan measure to provide an added option of certainty for those receiving official immigration documents from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  The “Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act (Secure Mail Initiative Act)” would update the USCIS Secure Mail Initiative (USCIS SMI) to offer recipients – at no additional cost to the taxpayer - the option of choosing signature-required delivery upon approval and completion.

Georgia’s 7th District is home to a large and diverse immigrant population, some of whom have already experienced this very issue, often at great expense of time and financial resources.  The only recourse for those who do not receive their documents has been to re-apply and pay all of the application fees a second time– a process Woodall has seen firsthand to cause hardship on individuals and their families through no fault of their own.

“It’s not uncommon for me to get a call from a constituent concerned that they have not received requested documents from USCIS,” said Woodall. “They are anxious and, in some cases, afraid of how it will affect them and their families. They’re also frustrated by the lack of options to ensure secure delivery in the first place. I am happy to go to work and straighten these issues out for them; however, they deserve a mechanism that will eliminate this stress altogether, and that’s exactly what this legislation does.”

“When immigration documents are not properly delivered, it can be catastrophic to the person who is waiting to receive it—and it poses a threat to national security,” added Speier. “People nationwide have not been receiving their documents in the mail, even when the USPS tracking system reports the item has been delivered. That is unacceptable. It can create a great financial burden for the intended recipient whose only recourse is to reapply for the document, and that same document could wind up in the hands of terrorists or human traffickers. We can easily fix this problem by allowing people to choose signature-required delivery, at no additional cost to taxpayers.”

Under current law, permanent resident cards, travel documents, and employment authorization documents are required to be sent using U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation via tracking number, but in some cases have still not made it to the intended recipients.  The “Secure Mail Initiative Act” offers applicants a simple and voluntary mechanism to ensure receipt, as well as eliminate the concern of these documents falling into the wrong hands.

Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.