Congressman Gutierrez Introduces Immigration Reform Bill
Today, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and twenty House Democrats introduced an immigration reform bill that would enhance border security and provide an earned path to citizenship for the undocumented. In a Huffington Post article Congressman Gutierrez says:
We have waited patiently for a workable solution to our immigration crisis to be taken up by this Congress and our president. We've waited for laws that don't stop at securing our border, but go further to secure our economy, protect our workforce and recognize the proud tradition of immigrants seeking the American Dream. And the time for waiting is over...Our bill will be presented before Congress heads home for the holidays so that there is no excuse for inaction in the New Year.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity (CIR ASAP) Act of 2009 is supported by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are expected to introduce an immigration bill in the Senate early next year. Some Democrats and advocates argue that Congress needs to take up the issue early next year before the mid-term elections. However, some analysts argue that it would be difficult to tackle immigration in an election year because many Democrats are fearful of loosing their seats.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said last week that it wouldn't be responsible to legalize undocumented workers at a time when the unemployment rate is 10 percent. But as I have argued before, immigration reform is not a zero-sum game in which every job performed by an undocumented immigrant must have been stolen from a more deserving American. The reality is that an earned legalization program would protect and benefit American workers by leveling the playing field between native-born and immigrant workers and increase the economic contributions of immigrants.
Republican opposition and fear among vulnerable Democrats won't stop until the real economics of immigration reframe the debate.