Woodall Leads House to Turn Casework into Policy
(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed bipartisan legislation introduced in March by U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) to provide new choices for those receiving official documentation regarding their immigration status from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Currently, USCIS refuses to send sensitive documents through any mode other than the U.S. Postal Service, and if those documents are lost in the mail, USCIS assumes the constituent is at fault and bills them for what can be hundreds of dollars to begin the document production and delivery process again.
H.R. 4712, the “Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security Secure Mail Initiative Act (Secure Mail Initiative Act)” stems from an issue brought to Woodall’s attention by constituents directly affected by the problem and offers recipients the ability to choose signature-required delivery once their application has been approved and completed. The measure imposes no cost on taxpayers and ensures tracking and accurate delivery for the documents.
“As well as being a solution to a problem facing members of our communities, this is also a national security bill,” said Rep. Woodall. “Ensuring these documents reach the men and women to whom they belong is certainly the goal, and by achieving it we can be certain they aren’t falling into the hands of those with ill intent. When I received calls from constituents who never received the documents for which they paid – not to mention rightfully earned – I went to work on a common-sense solution. I’ll always work to sort things out on a case by case basis, but this bill aims to keep it from happening in the first place, and I’m proud to partner with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it done.”
“I am heartened to see that the gridlock that has waylaid so many of our efforts in Congress has given way for the passage of this important piece of legislation. This bill will not only help the people in dire need of receiving these sensitive documents, and who frequently suffer great financial burdens and emotional turmoil when they are not delivered, it will also help to strengthen our national security as many of these items can be used by terrorists, human traffickers, and other criminal elements to wreak havoc here at home,” said Rep. Speier. “This was an easy fix for a complex problem that has affected people within my District and across the country and I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to support this bill.”
Existing law requires permanent resident cards, travel documents, and employment authorization documents to be sent using U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail with delivery confirmation via tracking number, however, that does not guarantee delivery. The “Secure Mail Initiative Act” offers applicants a simple and voluntary way to ensure they – and no one else – receive their documents.
“I always ask constituents to bring their concerns and their solutions whenever they see challenges or opportunities in the federal government,” Woodall added. “I tell them that we can work together to solve problems and make government operate better—not just for the one constituent family, but for all American families. H.R 4712 is one of those success stories, and together – one family and one concern at the time – we will create many more.”
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.