December 15: Gutierrez to Unveil "CIR ASAP"

The immigration reform bill that Rep. Luis Gutierrez promised with some vague principles a couple months ago is on the verge of making its arrival to the House. It is called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP),” and expected to be revealed on Tuesday, December 15.

For having the acronym ‘ASAP,’ it is surely taking its merry time to arrive.

On October 13, Gutierrez had revealed these principles for immigration reform:

* Include a rational and humane approach to the undocumented population;
* Protect U.S. and immigrant workers;
* Allocate sufficient visas to close unlawful migration channels;
* Enhance our nation’s security and safety;
* Establish a strategic border enforcement policy that reflects American values;
* Keep American families together;
* Promote immigrant integration;
* Include the DREAM Act and AgJOBS; and
* Protect fundamental rights for all.

Shortly thereafter, he faced criticism for not including LGBT families in his proposed bill and the ACLU chimed in to say that any comprehensive legislation should protect privacy and civil liberties for all. It is yet to be seen whether Gutierrez will incorporate any of these criticisms in the final version of CIR ASAP.

Gutierrez states on his press release:

We have waited patiently for a workable solution to our immigration crisis to be taken up by this Congress and our President. The time for waiting is over. This bill will be presented before Congress recesses for the holidays so that there is no excuse for inaction in the New Year. It is the product of months of collaboration with civil rights advocates, labor organizations, and members of Congress. It is an answer to too many years of pain —mothers separated from their children, workers exploited and undermined security at the border— all caused at the hands of a broken immigration system. This bill says ‘enough,’ and presents a solution to our broken system that we as a nation of immigrants can be proud of.

Strategically, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has no power in the Senate so the bill is unlikely to get anywhere without the support of Senator Schumer (D-NY), who has been busy working on his own version of an immigration reform bill. But it sends a strong message to Congress to act on immigration reform and may serve the function of a ‘public option’ starting point for immigration reform, metaphorically speaking.

(Photo Credit: HispanicCaucus Flickr PhotoStream)

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