U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, today (December 28th, 2022) celebrated the enactment of private legislation they led with the late Congressman for all Alaska, Don Young. The measure – H.R. 681, For the Relief of Rebecca Trimble – is now Private Law [117-1], and provides Mrs. Trimble with a pathway to lawful permanent resident status in the United States.
“After a decade of uncertainty and legal appeals, I’m so pleased that we have put an end to any possibility of deportation and provided Rebecca with the peace of mind she so clearly deserves. She has lived in America, built her life in America, and raised her family in America. Now she can remain with her husband and children in the only country she has ever called home,” Murkowski said. “I thank all who helped ensure this bill could unanimously pass the House and Senate – including Rep. Nadler, Senator Padilla, and Senator Cornyn – as well as President Biden for quickly signing it into law. We finally got this right for a woman who never did anything wrong.”
“It is exceptionally rare for Congress to pass a piece of legislation that impacts just one person. That’s exactly what we’ve been able to deliver today for Rebecca Trimble,” said Senator Sullivan. “Rebecca spent her entire life living the American Dream, raising a family with her husband, an Army dentist who, until recently, served Alaskans in the Bethel area. That dream was thrown into jeopardy when Rebecca, through no fault of her own, faced threats of deportation to a country she’s never known. When Rebecca’s unique and challenging case couldn’t be resolved through regular immigration channels, Congressman Young, Senator Murkowski and I got to work on a legislative fix. It is fitting that this will be Don Young’s final bill to get signed into law, a capstone to a long and amazing career advocating for a state and a people he loved. I commend Rebecca and her family for their patience and dogged determination, and I hope this news makes for an especially meaningful holiday season for the Trimble family and for the many Alaskans who the Trimbles touched.”
“It has been amazing and heartwarming to see the Alaska Congressional delegation come together and do the hard work necessary to help this military spouse stay in the United States,” said Margaret Stock, Rebecca Trimble’s immigration lawyer in Alaska, Cascadia Cross Border Law group, Anchorage.
Mrs. Trimble was born in Mexico in 1989, adopted by an American couple, and brought into the U.S. when she was only a few days old. In 2012, after applying for an enhanced driver’s license and despite no wrongdoing by her or her adoptive parents, Mrs. Trimble learned that her adoption was not properly completed, her birth certificates were not valid, and that she was not a legal citizen—as she had understood she was for more than 20 years.
As the spouse of a military member, Mrs. Trimble applied for “parole in place” status in 2015 but was denied in 2016. She applied for permanent resident status while living in Bethel, Alaska in 2017 but was denied in 2020. At that point, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service informed her that she had just 33 days to depart the country and could face removal proceedings if she did not.
The Trimble’s received an outpouring of support from the Bethel community—from the military community to their church to community members—who urged for Rebecca’s special case to be addressed. After learning of Mrs. Trimble’s unique situation, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Congressman Young sought to assist her through a private bill, a rare form of legislation that seeks to address the exceptional circumstances faced by an individual. Murkowski introduced the first measure to assist Mrs. Trimble in February 2020, with Sullivan as an original cosponsor. They reintroduced the bill as S. 776 in the current Congress.
H.R. 681 is the first private bill to become private law during the 117th Congress, and just the third to be enacted in the past 10 years.