Center for American Progress Action

STATEMENT: CAP’s Angela Kelley on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act Introduction
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Angela Kelley on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act Introduction

Washington, D.C. – Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011 on June 22. CAP Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy Angela Kelley released this statement in response:

We applaud Sen. Menendez and his co-sponsors for injecting a desperately needed bit of sanity back into the immigration debate. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011, or CIRA, provides a workable solution for durable immigration reform. This legislation reflects an understanding of the complexities and realities inherent in overhauling a dysfunctional system and rejects the simplistic notion that we can enforce our way to a solution. In contrast to the recent spate of enforcement-only bills that recommend more jailing, mass deportation, increased deficits, and more burdens on ordinary Americans, CIRA proposes to restore the rule of law while growing the economy and protecting U.S. workers and honest employers.

Sen. Menendez and his colleagues embrace economic growth and national security as twin goals that can only be served through a mix of tough, fair, and practical policies. CIRA combines smart worksite and border-enforcement strategies with a realistic solution for the 11 million immigrants already living in the county and sensible family-reunification provisions. This is precisely the type of smart, forward-looking solution that we have argued will most effectively advance the nation’s interests.

Indeed, we have published an analysis demonstrating that legislation along the lines of CIRA would generate $1.5 trillion in cumulative gross domestic product over 10 years. It would lift the wages and working conditions of all Americans, even the playing field for all employers, and increase tax revenues.

Moreover, this bill would significantly advance the nation’s security by strengthening the integrity of the border, deploying tools to hold employers accountable for legal hiring, and bringing millions of individuals out of the shadows.

It is past time for the federal government to step up and take charge with some states like Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina mistakenly taking immigration policy into their own hands to demonize immigrants through state-level action. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act points the way forward and we challenge Congress to find the courage to pass it.

To speak with CAP’s experts on this issue, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202-481-8181 or [email protected].