Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), filed the first comprehensive immigration reform bill in the current Congress. This bill gives renewed hope to millions of undocumented immigrants and others who are seeking legal immigration status in the United States.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP) includes similar provisions as those in prior immigration reform efforts.
Undocumented immigrants in the United States as of December 15, 2009 would be encouraged to register with the government in exchange for legal status and a future path to residency and citizenship.
Certain immigrants in deportation proceedings would be able to apply for legalization under this bill. Applicants would pay a $500 fine and must have clean criminal records. If approved, applicants would receive a six-year visa, which eventually could be replaced by permanent residency -- also known as a green card.
The bill also incorporates provisions of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would provide green cards to young people who were brought to the United States as children, complete high school in the US, and either complete two years of college or serve two years in the military.
For a detailed analysis of this legislation, see the summary by the American Immigration Lawyers Association at http://aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=30803.