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Private Matters: Family and Race and the Post-World-War-II Translation of 'American'

International Review of Social History, Vol. 46, p. 209, 2001

26 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2010  

Nancy Ota

Albany Law School

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

The US Constitution preserves the right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances. This right allows individuals to request private legislation from Congress and, as such, private bill petitions involve individual claims or pleas for relief for a specified person, or persons. Private petitions to Congress fall into two principal categories: claims against the US government (e.g., claims stemming from automobile accidents with government vehicles) and relief from immigration and naturalization laws. Although private laws concerning immigration and naturalization have influenced later public legislation by highlighting areas in need of reform, the private laws have limited application. Other than serving as precedent for subsequent private legislation for similarly situated individuals making requests for enactment of private laws, the laws do not benefit anyone other than the named beneficiaries of the bills.

Keywords: US Constitution, Private Legislation, Immigration and Naturalization Laws

Suggested Citation

Ota, Nancy, Private Matters: Family and Race and the Post-World-War-II Translation of 'American' (2001). International Review of Social History, Vol. 46, p. 209, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1554584

Nancy Ota (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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