The on-again, off-again drive to overhaul the nation’s immigration moved back to Congress on Tuesday with the introduction of legislation that would open a path to legal status for millions of illegal immigrants.
The bill presented by U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) of a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill is considered an important step in creating momentum for immigration reform and fixing our nation's broken immigration system.
The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives, contains many core principles which immigration advocates consider vital to any comprehensive immigration reform bill which include:
- Pathway to legalization for undocumented workers and students,
- Family unity,
- Labor provisions, smarter and more effective enforcement, and worker verification systems that work.
CIR for America's Security and Prosperity Act 2009 (CIR ASAP), prioritizes family unification, protection of civil rights, creation of economic opportunity and diversity. It is the result of many months cooperation with human rights advocates, labor organizations, and members of Congress.
Recent favorable comments by the DHS Secretary Napolitano and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) further demonstrate that Congress and the Obama administration are fully committed to launch the difficult task engaging different interest groups together to create a measure which will be in our national interest.President Obama has pledged to take up the issue early next year.
The pressing desire for “comprehensive immigration reform” — as it is known by supporters — was made clear in the acronym of Mr. Gutierrez’s bill: “C.I.R. A.S.A.P.”
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity (CIR ASAP) Act of 2009 contains six titles.
TITLE I - BORDER SECURITY, DETENTION, AND
TITLE II - EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION
TITLE III - VISA REFORMS
TITLE IV – EARNED LEGALIZATION PROGRAM FOR
TITLE V - STRENGTHENING AMERICA'S WORKFORCE
TITLE VI - INTEGRATION OF NEW AMERICANS
Under the bill, to obtain legal status and possibly citizenship, illegal immigrants already here must demonstrate that they had been working, pay a $500 fine, learn English and undergo a criminal background check, among other provisions. Unlike previous proposals in Congress, they would not have to return to their homeland first, something known as “touchback.”
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, is working with some Republicans on a separate bill that should be ready whenever Mr. Obama asked for it.