Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) Bill Introduced in the US House of Representatives

Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) has introduced a new bill for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the House on December 15, 2009.   Representative Gutierrez issue the following press release in celebration of the bill

This bill is not complicated.  What we need to do – right now — is not complicated.  Our nation’s immigration policy should be pro-family, pro-jobs and pro-security.

Family, jobs and security.  This bill accomplishes all three.

It keeps families together, but understands we must secure our borders.  It keeps people working, but understands the needs of our economy.  It gives a pathway to citizenship, but understands that immigrants must learn English, pay taxes and contribute to their communities.

It’s pro-family, pro-jobs and pro-security.  And the time to pass it into law is right now.

A summary of the proposed legislation can be found here.  The hot topic of the proposed reform will, of course, be the amnesty provisions entitled “The Earned Legalization Program for the Undocumented.”  This new legislation will provide a six year conditional nonimmigrant or immigrant visa to those who are out of status or entered the US without inspection.  It will waive the bars to legal status under the current law, provide work authorization and travel authorization along with protection from removal.

Requirements for Conditional Nonimmigrant Status: The alien must:

  • Establish presence in the U.S. on the day of introduction, and continuously thereafter
  • At time of registration, attests to contributions to the U.S. through employment, education, military service, or other volunteer/community service (with exemptions for minors, persons with disabilities, the elderly, or other unusual circumstances)
  • Complete criminal and security background checks
  • Pay a $500 fine plus necessary application fees (fine exemption for children and certain immigrants who initially entered the U.S. before the age of 16)
  • The individual shall be ineligible to receive a visa as a result of a serious criminal conviction, persecution of another person or reasonable grounds for believing that the alien committed a particularly serious crime abroad
  • There is a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment for anyone who willfully falsifies information in an application for conditional nonimmigrant status

Conditional nonimmigrants will also be eligible to apply for permanent residency and later US citizenship.

President Obama has previously indicated that Comprehensive Immigration Reform is number three on his agenda, the first and second being health care reform and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, he later backed off that pledge and it is unclear what priority he now places on immigration.