CLINIC Applauds Framework Provided by Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill
On Wednesday, December 16, Representative Solomon P. Ortiz (D-TX) introduced HR 4321, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity (CIR ASAP) Act of 2009. This bill, drafted by Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and co-sponsored by 89 others, has revived the immigration debate in Congress.
CLINIC applauds the efforts of Representative Gutierrez and his colleagues who represent a broad spectrum of constituencies.
Maria M. Odom, CLINIC’s Executive Director, called the legislation “an important first step toward fixing our nation’s broken immigration system.” She believes “this bill provides a workable framework for the overhaul of our nation’s immigration system.” CLINIC looks forward to evaluating this bill and applauds Rep. Gutierrez for his unwavering commitment to creating a fair and solid immigration system – a system that meets the needs of our country while ensuring respect and dignity for all immigrants.
The bill aims at preserving family unity through provisions that will recapture unused visas, eliminate processing backlogs, and reclassify the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents as immediate relatives. Another important provision calls for greater discretionary authority to be afforded to and exercised by immigration judges when deciding the fate of undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children.
In addition, the bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement alternatives to detention for vulnerable populations; it provides that families will not be separated except where detention alternatives are not available. When detention cannot be avoided, DHS will be required to improve its practices to ensure the humane treatment of detainees.
Other highlights of the bill include the ideals of the DREAM Act, the AgJOBS Act, and the PROUD Act, as well as the repeal of the 287(g) program.
The most anticipated section of the bill lays out a path toward earned legalization. The 12 million undocumented immigrants already living and working in the U.S. will have the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the ideals of this country and eventually become United States citizens. The citizenship process will be made more affordable and accessible. Grants will be awarded to community-based organizations to provide legal, educational and support services throughout the country.
Odom looks forward to the day when all immigrants are able to safely ‘come out of the shadows’ and share in our joint hopes, values and dreams.
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