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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update

Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Outlook for 2010

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On December 15, Representative Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform ASAP Act of 2009 (H.R. 4321) in the House of Representatives. To date, the bill has 92 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. We link to the 644-page bill and to summaries of the bill from our "Immigration Legislation" page at

The bill provides a generous legalization program whereby persons who were undocumented in the U.S. on December 15 would have to demonstrate that they have jobs, undergo criminal background checks, learn English and pay $500 fines in order to gain six-year visas, and later to become lawful permanent residents. The bill incorporates other pieces of legislation including the DREAM Act and the Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act.

The bill would also provide for increased training and equipment for the Border Patrol, improved conditions for detainees and an end to the controversial program whereby local law enforcement officers assist in federal immigration law enforcement.

Finally, the bill would increase and improve the current "preference" systems for admitting both employment and family-based immigrants.

In contrast to the Kennedy-McCain bill in 2007, the new bill contains no provision for a guest worker program. Instead, it would create a federal commission to study this issue.

Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a champion of immigration reform on the other side of the aisle from Mr. Gutierrez noted this when he stated: "Any bill without a temporary worker program is simply not comprehensive."

An indication of the vehemence of the opposition to the bill can be seen by the comment from Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) who said "The bill won't pass because the American people oppose rewarding lawbreakers, which then encourages even more illegal immigration."

Representative Gutierrez stated that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Obama Administration have agreed that the Senate will first take up the issue of immigration reform bill before the House of Representatives.

In January or February, it is expected that the Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee Charles Schumer and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) will introduce a bi-partisan immigration reform bill in the Senate.

Since the Senate bill will be bipartisan, we expect that it will have tougher enforcement provisions, and less generous benefits provisions, than does the House bill.

President Obama has indicated that he wants Congress to pass an immigration bill in 2010, but not until Congress passes legislation to reform energy and to regulate financial markets. This could mean that Congress will be debating immigration policy just ahead of the 2010 elections in November.

Senator Schumer has indicated that the bipartisan bill will be based upon the following principles:

1) Illegal immigration is wrong, and a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.

2) Operational control of our borders--through significant additional increases in infrastructure, technology, and border personnel--must be achieved within a year of enactment of legislation.

3) A biometric-based employer verification system--with tough enforcement and auditing--is necessary to significantly diminish the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the United States and to provide certainty and simplicity for employers.

4) All illegal aliens present in the United States on the date of enactment of our bill must quickly register their presence with the United States Government--and submit to a rigorous process of converting to legal status and earning a path to citizenship--or face imminent deportation.

5) Family reunification is a cornerstone value of our immigration system. By dramatically reducing illegal immigration, we can create more room for both family immigration and employment-based immigration.

6) We must encourage the world's best and brightest individuals to come to the United States and create the new technologies and businesses that will employ countless American workers, but must discourage businesses from using our immigration laws as a means to obtain temporary and less-expensive foreign labor to replace capable American workers; and finally

7) We must create a system that converts the current flow of unskilled illegal immigrants into the United States into a more manageable and controlled flow of legal immigrants who can be absorbed by our economy.

Can 2010, an election year with the country mired in double-digit unemployment, be the right time for comprehensive immigration reform?

We have our doubts, but only time will tell.

We will continue to keep you informed of developments in Congress this year regarding immigration reform.

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Updated 12-02-2013 at 04:46 PM by CShusterman


  1. Carl McGinnis's Avatar
    I am a citizen of the United States and I have a friend that is from
    Paris, France here on a student visa to finish his degree. Noureddine
    Feddane has been here since 2005. His visa is valid until March of
    2010, his passport is valid until 2014, and his I-20 is current. He is
    not what people call an 'illegal immigrant.' In 2008, he fell in love
    and married a U.S. citizen that just happens to be addicted to
    prescription medications. Noureddine knew nothing about this. But he
    was arrested due to her mistakes.
    He was placed in detention and scheduled for deportation. My friend
    has been in detention center in Pompano Beach Florida for 5 months
    now. This couple has lost all there savings on lawyers, she lost her
    job, and they are in the process of losing their home. All this was
    caused because ICE has the wrong person in jail.

    I have written many letters to Janet Napolitano, Senator Bill Nelson,
    Representative Ginny Brown-Waite and even President Obama. But no one
    will listen. What is illegal in this case is the way DHS is treating
    this guy, who is 51 and has never had a traffic violation. While in
    detention center, they have abused him, denied him food and proper
    medical treatment. Noureddine is diabetic and they will not give him
    the proper food or medical attention. The phone system is very poor
    and hardly works. I suspect that they plan it that way so the
    detainees cannot contact their lawyers and family. I fear he will be
    next on the long list of persons that have died while in detention.

    Until you go to one of these detention centers and see with your own
    eyes, you will not believe what America is doing. I was shocked, on my
    first visit and after almost 6 months of seeing what happens and how
    they have to live, I am still in shock. It is all about the money
    . My friend has never
    cost America anything until they locked him up. He is in a private
    prison owned by a company called GEO
    based near Miami, Florida. They are paid very well by our tax dollars,
    but the treatment is unbelievable. I wonder how many politicians have
    stock in this company. They are doing quite well even in a bad

    Six months ago I had no idea that we treated immigrants in this way,
    especially when they are here legally and have done nothing wrong. I
    knew nothing about ICE and how they operate illegally
    . I was under
    the impression that DHS was here only to protect us from terrorists.
    And I had no idea of the millions of our tax dollars were being wasted
    to imprison people that could be out of detention and have their
    family support them until a decision is made in immigration court. I
    do not understand why we have to pay our hard earned tax dollars to house and feed persons that are not dangerous.

    When they have to lock up a man who has done nothing wrong, make him
    spend thousands in fees, ICE is giving way too much importance to
    themselves. How can we turn such educated people away simply to boost
    the ego of ICE officers and add another number to the Janet Napolitano
    deportation list, so that the Obama Administration can look like it is
    doing its job of 'cracking down on criminals?'

    Something has to change soon. I feel it is my duty as an American to
    let as many people as possible know the truth. I visit the detention
    center every Saturday and spend the rest of the week writing letters.
    This Christmas, let's do something worthwhile. Let's go back to
    protecting the country rather than making up stories to justify the
    expansion of a national security complex. Let's end businesses
    profiting from immigrant detention and restore our image as a nation
    of immigrants.
  2. Pooja's Avatar
    I am crying blood tears and hoping that this CIR passes. I am a permanent resident of the United States. My green card took 26 years in the backlog and the gruelling laws kept me unmarried (or else the backlog would be longer). Now at age 34, I cant get married to a woman in my native country because it will pose another 8 years of wait due to backlogs and I can not unite my wife. Therefore, first 34 years of life is spent waiting waiting waiting for a better life ...or "start a life".
    Whereas, NOn-immigrant students, temporary workers have this luxury of accompanying their spouses instantaneously to reside with them. Why can the spouses of permanent resident not reside with them in the US while they wait their immigrant petition to become current?
    I beg Mr. Obama to please shed light upon this unjust immigration policy. I have waited 26 years to qualify for greencard and this should not be a luxury for illegals who are in the US.
    Just pass the family unification bill please.!!!!!!!!!!
  3. ramiro's Avatar
    I am what you would call an illegal alien i have been raised in the us since i was 1.5 years old i am 22 turning 23 after high school i tried to enlist in the army i have had the opportunity to educate myself by reading at home since college is not an option for me because of my status, i am pretty sure the average person can not do what i can do with computers, my case has been pending with uscis since 2001 my whole family is legal but me i dont know what i would do the day i get deported i have never been to mexico nor do i know anybody there
  4. Green Card Visa's Avatar
    $500 for a 6 year visa seems like the absolute deal of the century to me. I still have a little bit of hesitance in my gut about rewarding people who have entered the country and worked illegally, but the state of the infrastructure does not really allow for many other solutions.
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