Immigration Reform – UAFA, DREAM, REPAIR, CIR ASAP Act
Since Gov. Jan Brewer signed Arizona’s immigration bill into law, immigration reform has moved to near the top of the agenda on Capitol Hill. In the past, Congress has failed to offer sustainable new legislation or revamp old processes; however, several bills in Congress could ultimately provide some lasting and progressive reform to seemingly ineffective laws and programs.
Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)
First introduced in 2009, this bill was designed to replace the Immigration and Naturalization Act, which has outlined immigration and citizenship law in the United States for more than six decades. In this proposed legislation, immigration discrimination will be eliminated, and permanent partners and spouses of legal residents could gain similar immigration or citizenship status.
Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM)
This act is actually reintroduced legislation. DREAM, in its most recent incarnation, focuses on providing provisional permanent citizenship to under-aged immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, successfully complete high school, have continuous U.S. residency and demonstrate good moral character. The program is designed to determine the residency of students for purposes of higher education.
Real Enforcement with Practical Answers for Immigration Reform Act (REPAIR)
This proposed bill, symbolically named, is one of the newest pieces of proposed immigration reform legislation. The REPAIR Act seeks to restructure the nation’s entire immigration system. This new bill includes phased amnesty and legalization, permanent partner considerations, increased border security, and modifications that could affect Social Security, such as biometric data collection.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act (CIR ASAP Act)
The CIR ASAP Act, like some of its sister legislation, would increase border security and create an illegal alien registry. This legislation includes provisions for child protection and employment verification. As well as seeking to revamp various visa programs, the act would establish a Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets, which would provide researched, unbiased, accurate recommendations for future flows of workers.
The Debate Continues
While the immigration reform debate continues, many political leaders, advocacy groups and voters wonder if any of these proposed bills will get beyond committee. National crises such as the BP spill in the Gulf, as well as some leaders’ concerns about impending midterm elections, could stall movement on this controversial issue. Past history on this type of legislation favors delay. Party divisions and fear of a growing anti-establishment sentiment in voters may prompt legislators to wait until ballots are cast.
If you have questions about immigration or about any of the proposed legislation, please consult an experienced immigration lawyer.