12.27.22

President Biden signs private bill for Rebecca Trimble, military wife and mother government tried to deport

Rebecca Trimble received a rare and long-awaited Christmas present this year. On December 15, the Senate unanimously passed a private bill for Trimble. The bill was introduced by the late Don Young and passed the House unanimously on June 7. President Joe Biden signed it into law today. The bill allows Trimble, who was inadvertently brought into the U.S. illegally by her adoptive parents when she was only days old, to remain in the country indefinitely.

Private bills, which benefit a specific individual or corporation, are extremely rare. Since 2008, 160 private relief bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Just 22 have passed the House, and only two have been signed into law. The last one signed into law before Trimble’s was in 2012. A private bill for Trimble passed the House during the last Congress but did not make it through the Senate, requiring the process to start over.

On February 10, 2020, Trimble received a letter from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informing her she has 33 days to leave the country. At the time she was living in Bethel with her husband John, an Army dentist, and their two children.

Trimble, who was born in Mexico, was adopted by an American couple when she was a baby. She was raised in the Pacific Northwest and grew up believing she was an American citizen. But in 2012 when she tried to get a REAL ID, the nightmare started. The government said her adoption had not been performed legally, and because she had voted in 2008 she had broken the law.

The Landmine broke this story in March of 2020. Four months later, the New York Times did a featured story on Rebecca’s situation. This Landmine article explains the long and arduous process the Trimble family has faced over the last ten years.

John and Rebecca have spent the last decade trying to resolve the situation. They moved from Bethel to Washington state last year to be closer to family. They had a third child this summer.

Rebecca told the Landmine, “This is a such huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s been such a journey and I am so happy it’s finally over.” Trimble said she got a call from Senator Lisa Murkowski (R – Alaska) the day after the bill passed the Senate. The call was from a blocked number and she almost didn’t answer, but was glad she did. Trimble’s lawyer had sent her an email about the bill passing the Senate an hour before Murkowski called, but because she had not seen it she learned the bill had passed the Senate from the senator. She said Murkowski congratulated her and told her, “It’s a great Christmas present.”

Rebecca and John stated that they are both grateful to the late Don Young, who took a great interest in Rebecca’s situation and pushed hard for the bill to pass the House. Trimble’s bill is one of the last of Don Young’s bills that will be signed into law. It’s a fitting piece of legislation for his legacy. Young was well-known for his exceptional constituent services and helping everyday Alaskans.

Senator Dan Sullivan (R – Alaska) provided the following statement after the bill passed the Senate:

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. 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.

Senator Murkowski provided the following statement after the bill was signed into law:

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. 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.

Now that the bill has been signed into law, Trimble can become a lawful permanent resident and eventually obtain citizenship.


By:  Jeff Landfield
Source: Alaska Landmine