Schumer wants immigration bill by fall
If New York Senator Charles Schumer has anything to do with it, the estimated 50,000 Irish undocumented in the U.S. will have an immigration bill to look forward to by the end of this year or early next.
Schumer, chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, said he aspires to have a comprehensive immigration reform bill before the Senate by Labor Day.
“When the president asks me whether we can pass comprehensive immigration reform this Congress, I will smile and say, ‘Mr. President, yes we can. All of the fundamental building blocks are in place to pass comprehensive immigration reform this session and, even possibly, later this year,’” Schumer said while addressing the Migration Policy Institute’s conference at Georgetown University in New York two weeks ago.
“I have no doubt that President Obama has an unyielding commitment to achieving comprehensive immigration reform. And I truly believe that his leadership will be the critical difference in getting us over the hump this time around,” he added.
Schumer, a Democrat who has firmly supported the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) in the past, said his bill will be tough on future waves of illegal immigration and will be kinder to those immigrants who have skills to offer.
Last Wednesday Schumer outlined seven principles he said would represent the foundation of a solid, structured comprehensive immigration reform bill.
One of Schumer’s top priorities in creating workable legislation is to take a strong-arm stance on illegal immigration. He suggests using a biometric-based employer verification system to identify employees.
Schumer said protecting the U.S. borders was a necessity. He suggested a year time line to enact “operation control” of the borders, which would include increasing infrastructure, technology, and border personnel.
The undocumented immigrants who wish to apply for legal status if Schumer’s proposals becomes law must be present in the U.S. on the date the bill is enacted. Persons will then be required to register their presence in the country with the U.S. government.
Schumer’s bill would also include family reunification provisions and a controlled flow of legal immigration for high skilled workers.
“We have a shortage maybe of engineers here or PhDs in physics, but we probably don't have a shortage of people who can do construction work,” he said.
Schumer said a bill could be on its way sooner rather than later.
“I think we'll have a good bill by Labor Day,” Schumer told the Associated Press last week. “I think the fundamental building blocks are in place to do comprehensive immigration reform.”
Earlier this year, the Change to Win and the AFL-CIO labor unions threw their support behind immigration reform. In the past they have condemned a comprehensive immigration bill.
Last week Schumer met with Obama to outline his plans for moving the comprehensive immigration reform debate forward.
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