On Dec. 27, President Joe Biden signed a law that provides former Bethel resident Rebecca Trimble with a pathway to permanent resident status in the United States.
Trimble’s journey to legal immigration has been unfolding for more than a decade. And even with the help of an immigration attorney, her unique situation took an act of Congress to resolve.
“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 Trimble’s attorney, Margaret Stock.
U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, celebrated the enactment of private legislation they carried with the late Rep. Don Young.
In a press release, Murkowski said, “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.”
Sullivan noted that it is exceptionally rare for Congress to pass this type of legislation.
“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,” Sullivan said in a statement.
Trimble said that she is relieved to have the bill signed, finished, and enacted into private law. In a statement to KYUK, she said that it feels good to not worry about her status.
“We are so happy, and it made this holiday season all the more special,” Trimble said.
Rebecca’s husband, John Trimble, had conflicting reactions.
“It’s amazing that Rebecca’s case has gone so far. When we first started this journey of trying to obtain her a legal status in the U.S., I thought it was going to be easy: fill out a few forms, pay a fee, wait a month or two. Eight years later, it developed into something that I couldn’t have imagined,” said John.
John said that he is grateful for the new law, but years of ups and downs, fear, and disappointment have colored the experience for him. He said that he is upset about how long the process took, and the loss of time, effort, and money.
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.