Senators Menendez and Leahy Introduce the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010

Written by on September 30, 2010 in Legislation, Reform with 8 Comments

Last night, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (SB 3932), a bill which takes a broad approach to fixing the wide range of problems plaguing our outdated immigration system. Earlier this month, Sen. Menendez threw his support behind the DREAM Act (which failed in a cloture vote 54-46) and vowed to introduce his own immigration bill in the Senate. While immigration advocates are calling the Menendez-Leahy bill a “step in the right direction,” many remain skeptical whether Congress can muster the political courage to pick up the bill and tackle immigration once and for all. The Menendez-Leahy bill is preceded by a House immigration bill, CIR ASAP (HR 4321), introduced by Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) last year.

Flanked by fellow Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez at a rally on Capitol Hill earlier this month, Sen. Menendez spoke about the economic and emotional need for immigration reform:

[This legislation] ensures that we secure our country as we all wanted to, that we look at how we deal with the economic needs of our country, but it will also have a pathway toward earned legalization for those who are in the shadows who will be able to come into the full light and observe the dignity that they deserve with what they are helping America to achieve.

I believe that [CIR] is in the national security interest. I believe that the economy is not a reason to oppose immigration reform, but a reason to have immigration reform. I believe in the dignity of each and every individual and the concept of family values that we hear so often in the senate needs to be preserved. We cannot see families ripped apart.

And this bill, The Comprehensive Reform Act of 2010, proposes to do just that—reform border, interior, and worksite enforcement policy, and includes a legalization program with mechanisms to account for future immigration flows. Key bill provisions include:

  • Improvements to Border Security as triggers for legalization, including more Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at new ports of entry along the Southwest border, more money toward infrastructure improvements along border, new ICE investigators, more immigration attorneys and judges, improved training for DHS officers and a clarification that federal laws preempt state and local immigration laws.
  • Interior Enforcement measures which focus on the prevention of unauthorized entries, improved removal processes, and detention reforms that provide protections for children, secure alternatives to detention, adequate medical care and access to legal services.
  • Worksite Enforcement to include mandatory use of employment verification systems, to make improvements to that system, and protections for workers.
  • Employment and Family-based immigration reforms which establish a new worker program, reforms current temporary worker programs, creates a standing commission on immigration to regulate employment-based visas; and reforms to family immigration to promote family unity and reduce family immigration backlogs. (Includes UAFA)
  • Legalization of Undocumented Individuals by creating a path to citizenship to those who qualify for provisional legal status (LPI), pass background and security checks, pay all back taxes, pass basic citizenship and English skills requirements and ensures they are placed at the back of the line. (Also includes the DREAM Act and AgJobs)
  • Immigrant Integration programs that expand investments in English literacy and civics education, provides state grants to provide better opportunities to immigrant communities and addresses adjustment of status based on humanitarian needs.

While this bill provides a strong starting point for Congress to honestly debate meaningful immigration reforms, many wonder whether obstructionists in Congress will continue to use immigration as a political piñata in the name of election politics or put partisanship aside and fix our broken immigration system.

Photo by sayanythingblog.

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  • spillai

    Immigration is a moral and economical issue for a nation that was built by immigrants for many centuries.Politicians,instead of pandering to voters’ fears,should honestly debate pros and cons.Governance should supersede partisan views.Of course everyone has his own ideas and plans,but learn to respect opinion of fellow politiicans as well if you are a civilized nation.America is a multicultural nation that shown tolerance to different cultures,religions and customs.If we were to hold on to the values that shaped this nation into a greatest democracy on earth,then we should leave fear and prejudice behind and go an extra mile to debate immigration reforms.Leaders like Obama,Bush,Boehner,Pelosi,McCain,Reid should rally nation to support a comprehensive immigration reform that rewards deserving employment and family based immigrants,secures borders,increases visas for migrant farmers and temporary alien employees,registers current illegals and gives them employment visas with eventual green cards if they qualify through job or family and makes deporatation easy for future illegals.

  • murli iyer

    this is really soo great i hope all the senators pass this bill asap as this will actually help the economy and the busineses and also bring togather families and over help the country as awhole god bless america

  • Sr. Ann F. Leonard

    Please continue to work for this need. You have my prayers and support.

  • Pingback: Immigration Solutions | CIR Introduced in the Senate by Menendez and Leahy | Immigration Solutions Blog()

  • To spillai

    Very well said. I hope and pray that this bill will be passed. God bless America

  • Winnifred Caffean James

    I sometimes wonder if any critical thinking skill is used when the house put forth a bill. I do understand that America has to protect it’s borders, but the question is how are they going to deal with the millions of immigrants that are already in the country? Why use the existing state of the Economy to deny those that are already here a pathway to citizenship? the argument is that immigrants take jobs from citizens,that is so untrue I can give examples of citizens that do not want to work even if they are offered the jobs that the immigrants do,let us assume that we do nothing to improve the immigration laws; the ones that are here will still be here they will have no means of providing themselves basic up keep some will turn to crime then they will be thrown into jails where the taxpayers will have to foot the bill for their upkeep the jails becomes over crowded;what do you do construct more jails to deal with this issue.It is just so uneducated, if a pathway to citizenship how in the world that these immigrants come come to the front of the employment line and take jobs away from Americans? do the Senators in Congress know how long a process it is before any immigrant can become qualified for a top paying job, the only jobs that will still be available to them is housekeeping, babysitting, walmart and grocery jobs the only difference is that they will be doing it legally and paying uncle SAM

  • Arnoldo Jimenez-Dovalle

    Please help us. and God Bless you

  • Prabir Roy

    I hope and pray: All the senators and act together and pass the bill ASAP. I am sure they will feel good themself one day and will be realized they did the right thing. God Bless America!