National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Comprehensive Immigration Reform: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

March 22, 2007

Washington, DC - Today, Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the STRIVE Act (Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy) of 2007, a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill.  The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy organization in Washington.

Thanks to the leadership and courage of Representatives Flake and Gutierrez, comprehensive immigration reform has left the station and has a full head of steam.  The STRIVE Act is bipartisan, comprehensive, and workable.  On an issue too often dominated by harsh rhetoric and vacuous proposals, the STRIVE Act charts a substantive and serious path towards an immigration system realistically designed and effectively enforced.

It's time for Congress and the President to roll up their sleeves and fix our nation's broken immigration system once and for all.  It's time to transform a chaotic and disorderly system immersed in illegality into a controlled and realistic legal immigration system that reflects our traditions as both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.  It's time for partisan posturing to give way to bipartisan problem-solving.

The Gutierrez-Flake bill is a great place to start.  If enacted as proposed, it will be the toughest enforcement bill aimed at illegal immigration in American history.  It will also be the most practical reform of our legal immigration system in American history.  It will make our borders more secure, crack down on bad actor employers, and make it nearly impossible for those without proper papers to get hired. At the same time, it modernizes our legal immigration system by expanding controlled legal channels for those already here and those coming in the future. 

It is telling that the House has taken this step first.  The House of Representatives is the "People's House."  Its members are closest to the electorate.  They feel the frustration of local communities and state and local governments.  They are well aware of the need for action and the price of inaction.  We hope their initiative will spur the Senate into action soon.

Finally, we will be studying the STRIVE Act in the coming days.  No bill is perfect, and after studying the language carefully, we expect we will take issue with specific provisions.  But we are thrilled that the legislative starting gun has been fired, and we look forward to a vigorous debate that irons out differences and enacts into law a workable version of comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this year.


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