List of beneficiaries of immigration/nationality-related United States Private Bills/Laws

List of notable beneficiaries of enacted immigration/nationality-related United States Private Bills/Laws, signed into law.

Honorary United States citizenship

Naturalization via private bill legislation

Cold War service to the United States

  • Nora Isabella Samuelli (July 9, 1914–December 1986).[2] Beneficiary of Private Bill 89-203, under which Samuelli was held and considered to have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the United States as of July 31, 1963, upon payment of the required visa fee. Samuelli was imprisoned for 12 years (1949–1961) by the Communist government of Rumania on charges that she acted as a spy for the United States while employed in the United States Legation in Bucharest, which has been determined to be creditable service for the purposes of the Civil Service Retirement Act, provided that she makes the required employee contributions. She was awarded $ 38,114.90 compensation under Private Bill 89-108 (passed September 29, 1965) as "a gratuity for sacrifices sustained by her [Samuelli]" (i.e. twelve years imprisonment; see above).[3]
  • Lauri Törni, aka Larry Thorne (May 28, 1919 – October 18, 1965). Finnish Army captain who led an infantry company in the Finnish Winter and Continuation Wars and moved to the United States after World War II. In 1953, Törni was granted a residence permit through an Act of Congress, thanks to lobbying by William "Wild Bill" Donovan, former head of the OSS. During his life, he fought under three flags: Finnish, German (when he fought the Soviets in World War II), and American (where he was known as Larry Thorne), serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces in the Vietnam War.[4]



  • Tanith Belbin, Olympics ice dancer; born in Canada, she holds dual citizenship and has competed for the United States. Citizenship expedited to compete.[7]

Criminal convictions

  • Boris Kowerda, Russian exile convicted of the 1927 assassination of Pyotr Voykov, Soviet ambassador to Poland, was allowed to immigrate to the U.S. from Germany. Voykov was assassinated at a Warsaw railway station by Kowerda, purportedly in retaliation for Voykov's having signed the death warrants in 1918 for Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian Imperial Family. Kowerda died in Maryland in 1987, aged 79.[8]

Other notables

  • Hope Namgyal, née Cooke, who renounced her citizenship on March 25, 1963 after marrying the Crown Prince of Sikkim,[9] later returned to the U.S. and requested restoration of her citizenship by private bill after her husband was deposed. Due to Congressional objections, she was granted a green card (permanent resident visa) instead, with eligibility to naturalize after five years.[1][10][11]


  1. ^ a b Ashley Dunn, Congress' Ticket for Foreigners: 'Private bills' have granted citizenship or residency to many who were ineligible under U.S. law., Los Angeles Times, February 4, 1992.
  2. ^ 89th Congress (1965) (November 7, 1965). "S. 618 (89th)". Legislation. Retrieved August 22, 2013. A bill for the relief of Nora Isabella Samuelli. 
  3. ^ Info re Nora Samuelli,; accessed December 2, 2014.
  4. ^ Cleverley, J. Michael (2008). Born a Soldier, The Times and Life of Larry Thorne. Booksurge. ISBN . OCLC 299168934. 
  5. ^ Wei Jingsheng bill (S. 11 (106th Congress, 1999–2000)), signed by President on November 22, 2000, and enacted,; accessed December 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Bill S. 768: A bill for the relief of Michel Christopher Meili, Giuseppina Meili, Mirjam Naomi Meili, and Davide Meili, private bill sponsored by New York Senator Alphonse D'Amato (R-NY), signed into Private Law 105-1 by President Bill Clinton on July 29, 1997; accessed December 2, 2014.
  7. ^ "Ice dancer Tanith Belbin sworn in as U.S. citizen". Associated Press (USA Today). December 31, 2005. 
  8. ^ "Shot Down by Assassin — Soviet Ambassador at Warsaw", Wellington Evening Post, June 8, 1927, p. 9 "RUSSIA: Nest of Murderers", Time Magazine, June 20, 1927
  9. ^ "Hope Cooke's fate in hands of Ford, fairy-tale life ends". The Montreal Gazette. 1976-06-14. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  10. ^ "Hope Cooke seeks to regain U.S. citizenship". Eugene Register-Guard. 1976-06-13. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  11. ^ "Hope Cooke allowed to stay". The Montreal Gazette. 1976-06-17. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 


  • The "Widow Penalty"