New Immigration Bill Debuts in Washington

By Minara El-Rahman on December 22, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A new immigration bill that is known as the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act has finally gotten some air play in Congress. The bill's official name is Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act (CIRASAP). With all of the focus on job creation and healthcare, immigration issues have been pushed to the wayside. However Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) wants to ensure that immigration issues are not forgotten. He is one of the congressmen supporting this proposed piece of legislation.

According to a press release by the ACLU, the bill calls for border security, improving conditions of detention, protecting U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, protecting family unity, ending discrimination in immigration enforcement, employment verification, visa reforms, and finally earned legalization of illegal immigrants.

The response to the new immigration bill has been generally pessimistic. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) told the New York Times that the new immigration bill would bring in new waves of immigrants who will take jobs away from Americans in a time when Americans need all of the jobs that they can get.

One of the main criticisms of the new immigration bill is that it fails to provide any guidance on the topic of migrant workers. With 7 out of 10 farm workers being foreign born, it is essential to address this topic. The U.S. Dept. of Labor's National Agricultural Worker's Survey states: "Over the seven-year period of the survey, the population of foreign-born farm workers increased by 10%; by 1994-95 they comprised 69% of all farm workers. This rise in foreign-born workers was due primarily to a dramatic increase in the proportion of Mexican farm workers, from 53% of all farm workers in FY 1990-91 to 65% in FY 1994-95."

With such a large and growing population of Mexican migrant workers, the new immigration bill should address them. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told the New York Times: "In order for immigration reform to be effective, it needs to be comprehensive. Any bill without a temporary worker program is simply not comprehensive."

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