Yesterday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a key congressional champion for sensible immigration policy, introduced real immigration reform legislation in the House of Representatives. It’s called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity” (CIR ASAP).
This is the long-awaited legislative kick-off to repair our nation’s broken immigration system, which is in crisis.
Already, the bill has nearly 90 U.S. House sponsors, including members of the Congressional Hispanic, Black, Asian Pacific American, and Progressive Caucuses.
But won’t the first round of this debate take place in the Senate in early 2010? Yes, it will. But by coming out early and strong, Rep. Gutierrez and his colleagues in the House achieve three important objectives: 1) they have created a template for good policy that will influence future bills; 2) they are putting pressure on the White House and leaders in both the House and the Senate to keep their promise of moving on immigration reform in this Congress; and 3) they are ensuring a place for themselves at the final negotiations over what a final bill will look like.
The fact is that Gutierrez, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Rep. Xavier Becerra and others in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have taken on the responsibility of representing the voices of millions of Latinos who turned out in 2008 to cast votes for change, for their loved ones without legal status, and for national recognition of their contributions to America – in the workplace, in local communities, and on the battlefield.