Senate Democrats, led by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), today reaffirmed their commitment to a common sense, comprehensive solution to “illegal” immigration by introducing the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Menendez and co-sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Chuck Schumer (D-NY),
Secretary of the Conference Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry (D-MA), and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Republicans should take note: Sen. Menendez and his co-sponsors have offered practical solutions for immigration that will also restore the rule of law. The new legislation offers a workable blueprint for how our nation could fix its broken immigration system with real and lasting reform — one that would benefit all American workers and restore the rule of law to our dysfunctional immigration system.
The GOP’s approach is actually mass-deportation. We know that — and we know it won’t work. The Menendez bill pairs implementation of a new employment authorization verification regime with legalization of the undocumented workforce and other provisions. By phasing in legalization of qualified workers at the same time the government improves the existing E-Verify program and expands the number of businesses using it, the Menendez bill will avoid that traps of the Smith-Grassley legislation which will simply push more jobs and workers into the underground economy.
The Republicans have chosen a band-aid proposals, pushing legislation like mandatory E-verify legislation. That will cost jobs and create a disaster for our agricultural industry. On the other hand, the Senate Democrats’ approach is a complete solution. By turning undocumented workers into legal workers and full taxpayers, this legislation will increase revenue, expand employment and grow the economy. That’s something our country could use right now.
The GOP should stop playing politics around immigration issues and recognize that the approach embodied by the Senate Democrats’ bill is the right one for their own Party as well as for the rest of the country.