AJC Applauds Introduction of Comprehensive Immigration Reform in United States Senate

October 6, 2010 — Washington — The American Jewish Committee is encouraged by the introduction of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (CIR Act of 2010) (S.3932), introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D- VT) on September 30, 2010. This legislation provides an opportunity for Congress to enact urgently needed legislation that provides a federal fix to our broken immigration system.

“This legislation offers necessary steps towards policy solutions, particularly regarding a pathway to legal status and the strengthening of the family immigration system,” said Richard Foltin, Director of National and Legislative Affairs. “It provides workable solutions to our broken immigration system and we applaud the leadership put forward by Senators Menendez and Leahy.”

The CIR Act of 2010 is broken into six titles that address the major elements of reform: 1) Border security; 2) Interior Enforcement; 3) Employment Verification; 4) Reforming Legal Immigration; 5) Legalization of the Undocumented; and 6) Integration and Citizenship. Specifically, the bill would provide a legalization process by which undocumented immigrants could earn their legal status and eventual citizenship, thereby creating millions of new taxpayers by requiring undocumented immigrants to register, go through background checks, pay taxes, and study English on their way to becoming full U.S. citizens. It would also promote respect for families by reducing waiting times for separated families, protect due process rights and improve immigration detention conditions, and provide special protections for refugees, children seeking asylum, and other vulnerable populations. Finally, and importantly, this legislation would bolster our national security by providing more effective border security and enforcement measures and focusing enforcement and security measures on the most dangerous threats to America.

For more than a century, AJC has been a vocal advocate for a generous and humane immigration system that is also effective and enforceable. A comprehensive approach— and certainly not a patchwork of constitutionally problematic state laws—is the only effective way to fix our flawed system and protect our homeland security. There are millions of people currently living in the shadows throughout the United States, unable to gain full access to fundamental needs such as health care and education. Moreover, the fact that we do not know who is entering, and has entered, our country poses obvious security risks. Mass deportations of the undocumented population must be rejected out of hand—such actions would violate family unification principles, fail to address security concerns, and run counter to the values of American society.

AJC applauds Senator Menendez and Senator Leahy for their desire to resolve the problems with our current immigration system. We are committed to working with Congress to reform our immigration system in a manner that treats immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in a fair, sensible, and safe fashion while addressing national security concerns.
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