Just before Congress ended its last session to allow for re-election campaigning, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010.
This bill, which will likely be taken up after Congress returns in November but before new members arrive in January, is an attempt at gaining a bipartisan compromise on issues that both parties believe are in need of reform.
If the Act should pass, it would tighten border security and immigration enforcement, while creating a path to citizenship and integration for undocumented workers.
Border Security: The Act would fund more Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry in the southwest while adding more U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators and judges. It would also enhance training for Department of Homeland Security Officers.
Enforcement: The bill includes mechanisms to insure mandatory use of federal employment verification systems and protections for workers wrongfully categorized by those systems. It also provides measures designed to prevent unlawful entry into the country and expedite removals while offering protections for children and for those needing access to medical care and legal services.
Citizenship: The Act also creates a path to citizenship for those who meet certain qualifications, pass background and security checks, pay back taxes, and pass citizenship and language skills requirements.
While it might be hard to pass the bill through a lame duck Congress, White House officials have reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that they are determined to make good on promises of immigration reform, even if the reforms must be passed incrementally next year.
If necessary, the White House has indicated that it would embrace Republican proposals to step up immigration law enforcement and border and port security in exchange for a variety of individual measures, such as the DREAM Act, which would give illegal immigrant children a path to citizenship through military or public service.
If and when this new pathway to citizenship does become a reality, our office will be prepared to facilitate any related applications for conditional or permanent residency.
For more information about our immigration practice representing individuals and families seeking legal status, please visit the pertinent section of our Website or call our office at (847) 564-0712.