Blog & Updates
Gutierrez Throws the First Pitch
December 16, 2009 - Posted by Maurice Belanger
Representative Luis Gutierrez has begun the first inning in the effort to get Congress to act to fix our broken immigration system. Tuesday, there was a press conference to announce the introduction of his Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act (CIR ASAP).
The bill represents a progressive vision for immigration reform, and is the result of thousands of conversations with people of faith, labor leaders and workers, civil rights advocates, and members of Congress. Provisions of the bill would: update our family- and employment-based immigration admissions systems to speed family unification and provide for the workers essential to economic recovery; provide for the legalization of undocumented immigrants; provide for more worker protections; create more accountability for enforcement and border security; restore some due process rights that have been stripped from the law in recent years; and provide resources for immigrant integration. For a very general summary of the bill’s contents, see our policy update, posted here.
At the press conference, it was announced that there are already 88 co-sponsors to the legislation. Many of those co-sponsors were in the room and made the case for reform from their perspective. An impressive coalition was present, representing the Congressional Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, the Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Progressive Caucus. There were also dozens of immigrants and advocates in the room, cheering the Members of Congress as they entered the room.
Introduction of the bill kicks off the Congressional debate that will continue next year, and comes at a time when officials in the Obama administration have been gearing up for making their case for reform. It is the Senate’s turn to act, and Senator Schumer is expected to introduce a bill in January.
Immigration restrictionists will say that now is the wrong time for immigration reform, because of the economy. At Tuesday’s press conference, Lydia Velasquez, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, reflecting on the recent death of a constituent in a hate crime, put it best when she said that
"There is no wrong or right time. There is a moral obligation."
You can urge your representative to support this progressive vision of immigration reform—or thank your Member if he or she is already signed on—by using this letter on our Web site.