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Si Se Puede on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

by Published on

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez launched the first volley in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform today. The Congressman said the bill would be filed in December before Christmas so that Congress had no excuse not to bring it up first thing in 2010.

 The bill called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (whew!), let’s call it the (CIR ASAP) for short has 87 House cosponsors already. 

 The bill is being backed not only by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, of which Gutierrez is the chair, but also the Black Caucus, the Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Progressive Caucus.

 Texas’ very own Solomon Ortiz will file the bill since he is the most senior Latino congressional leader, according to Gutierrez.

 So what’s in this bill anyway? Gutierrez laid out some highlights back in October. Here’s the top 10 items on his list.

      1.   Pathway to legalization for the undocumented

      2.   Professional and effective border enforcement

      3.   Smart and humane interior enforcement

      4.   AgJobs

      5.  DreamAct

      6.  Employment-based visa system

      7.   Worker protection

      8.   Verification systems

      9.   Family unity the cornerstone of the immigration system

     10.  Promote immigration integration

Our immigration system is broken, broken, broken…we’ve got immigration courts drowning in cases, overflowing detention facilities, broken families, hate crimes, businesses going bankrupt because they can’t find labor, a multi-billion dollar border wall rusting on the southern border.

It makes you want to holler and throw up both your hands.

 Of course, that doesn’t mean Congress is going to do anything about it. Foes of immigration are already carping that it will never happen in our troubled economy. We have double the jobless rates of 2007 — the last time immigration reform was tanked in a wash of anti-immigrant vitriol.

People on both side of the issue are skeptical to say the least. I admit I don’t want to get my hopes up because I am afraid they will be dashed.  Nothing is simple in Congress – just look at healthcare reform. Senator Charles Schumer is also pledging to offer something up in the way of immigration reform. El diablo is in the details. Let’s hope Congress can get it done this time. Gutierrez said in his press conference today that Majority Leader Harry Reid had given him the green light to bring up comprehensive immigration reform in February or March.

 Let’s hope it happens in 2010.

Melissa del Bosque joined The Texas Observer staff in 2008. She specializes in reporting on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Her work has been published in national and international publications including TIME magazine and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. Melissa is a 2014-15 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.