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Representative Luis Gutierrez (IL-4) donned the hat of Santa Claus nine days before Christmas and delivered a somewhat liberal immigration reform bill today in the form of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act (CIRASAP) of 2009, that is being hailed by immigration organizations.
The mainstream English media is largely silent but maybe they are abiding by the embargo that was imposed on the bill, full text of which is available here.
As I was going through the 644 pages of the bill, I received a GChat from a fellow DREAM Act student who asked whether there was anything that will allow haters to support it. I replied in the negative. And then corrected myself quickly to say “Yes. It doesn’t include gays.”
I’ll be honest. CIRASAP is like a ‘public option’ for health (insurance) reform but nowhere near the singlepayer that we need to make the system work. Gutierrez has taken some steps in the right direction: it calls for a repeal of harmful 287(g) programs, introduces an expedited DREAM Act, eliminates the 1-year bar for asylum applications, expands U-visas to protect whistle-blowers (I may qualify for this), loosens the requirements for ‘family unity,’ and comes with the usual border security and enforcement compromises. It does not tackle the more contentious issue of future immigrant flows beyond recapturing visas and reducing backlogs, and excludes the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the legislation for same-sex bi-national couples.
This is a bitter pill to swallow, even though there is little doubt that the bill would make an appearance in committee or conference. Kyle de Beausset from Citizen Orange has already started a petition on Twitter to get Rep. Gutierrez to include UAFA, a bill that the Congressperson has co-sponsored as a standalone. A question about the omission of UAFA from CIRASAP was raised in one of the blogger calls where embargoed information was shared with media personnel. An awkward silence followed the question, which spoke volumes.
In the least, it looks like the UAFA issue won’t die a silent death. That is more than what can be said about the Gutierrez CIRASAP, which comes nine days before Christmas, and dead on arrival to the Senate, if it ever even makes it there. I really don’t want to say the obvious but Got DEADASAP?
Watch this blog for analysis of each section of CIRASAP coming soon.