CIR ASAP? Get In Line

By Debayani Kar Dec 15, 2009

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) led the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus in formally introducing their bill today for comprehensive immigration reform. Titled CIR ASAP (or more formally, "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity"), the bill would offer a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants and establish a panel within the Department of Homeland Security for making recommendations about future immigration. Gutierrez writes in the Huffington Post:

CIR ASAP prioritizes the best of what our nation values: family, civil rights, economic opportunity and diversity. It is the product of months of collaboration with human rights advocates, labor organizations, and members of Congress. Already, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and members of the Congressional Black Caucus have endorsed it as a solution to both stem illegal immigration and promote legal migration that will protect and strengthen our nation’s economic and national security.

I am not so optimistic. The Politico rightly points out that the White House and Congress are still working to address health care, climate change, and reform of the banking and financial system. And right-wing conservatives are busy painting their distorted picture that job creation is at odds with any progressive immigration reform. Given the long and disappointing process for health care reform, it is hard to be optimistic that immigration reform will go any differently. Immigration advocates are more hopeful. America’s Voice is looking forward to “working alongside key champions for reform like Congressman Gutierrez as the fight moves to Congress.” SEIU issued a statement commending Gutierrez for taking “one step closer to passing the smart immigration reform that American workers need." Taking a more critical tone, Citizen Orange encourages Gutierrez and Congress to not forget LGBT families and youth within the immigrant community. On a final note, I suppose coverage of immigration reform may be improving. AP writer Suzanne Gamboa’s headline about Gutierrez’s bill read: “Bill would give undocumented legal status.” Let’s hope we move from improved language to improved policy in the new year.