Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gutierrez Introduces Immigration Bill

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez yesterday introduced the Hispanic Caucus version of immigration reform legislation in the House, characterizing the bill he sponsors with nearly 90 other Congressmen as “pro-family, pro-job and pro-security.” The Gutierrez bill would immediately give “nonimmigrant status” to 12 million illegal aliens upon registration with the federal government, payment of a $500 fine, plus application fees, and clearing a criminal and security background check.

After six years, or clearance of the existing backlog of green card applications, whichever comes first, the “nonimmigrants” could apply for lawful permanent resident status. The bill also repeals the 287(g) permission for state and local police enforcement of immigration laws.

While the bill calls for establishment of a permanent system for verifying a person’s work eligibility, it does not specify whether or not the existing E-verify system would be made permanent. Republican Congressmen oppose the bill. House Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith said “Allowing millions of illegal immigrants to stay and take away jobs from citizens and legal immigrants is like giving a burglar a key to the house.”

Business groups oppose the legislation’s creation of a 100,000 visa random lottery rather than a guest worker program keyed to the unmet employment needs of the American economy.
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