Today, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011,” a bill that seeks to fix a system that has been broken for far too long, hit the U.S. Senate. Introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and John Kerry (D-MA), the legislation proposes a balance of solutions, such as:
- enhanced enforcement measures and a mandatory E-verify program which is paired with strategies to address the current population of undocumented workers,
- improvements to regulating future flows of legal immigration,
- a commission to study and regulate temporary worker programs, as well as
- efforts to support the integration of immigrants into America.
The American Immigration Council’s Executive Director, Ben Johnson, commented rather positively on the bill:
“We welcome the introduction of the 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011’ the first immigration reform bill of the 112th Congress that proposes a framework for lasting reform. Senator Menendez and co-sponsors should be commended for offering the country an alternative to the enforcement-only bills proposed by immigration restrictionists.
While some politicians propose mandatory E-verify without any counter-balancing attempt to help needed workers retain their jobs, the Menendez bill proposes a strategy for the current population of unauthorized immigrants to get right with the law, implementing mandatory E-verify only in the context of broader system reforms.
At least the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act gives Congress a clear choice between enforcement-only bills that squander the country’s resources and human capital, and thoughtful, long-range legislation that puts in place the tools for a 21st century immigration system.
Members of Congress have, thus far, provided only simplistic enforcement-only solutions and sound bites. The Menendez bill, however, gives Congress the chance to prove that it is willing to put good policy over political expediency, engage in a serious and constructive debate over immigration reform, and focus on realistic solutions rather than passing this year’s political Band-aid.”
My own reaction is less enthused. I've written on E-Verify HERE and am dissatisfied to see it as a component of this bill. I'm not a politician, and I'm impatient with incremental change. I tip my hat to people who have the ability to work on The Hill. That is not my gift. I refuse to be happy with the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011.”
"Better than garbage is not good enough for me." Call me grumpy, if you will.