THE BLOG

Comprehensive Immigration Reform, A.S.A.P.

12/14/2009 02:12 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tomorrow, December 15, I will join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and my colleagues in the House of Representatives in introducing a progressive, compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Every single day in America, families are being divided. Over the past year, I've traveled across the country with my colleagues conducting something called the United Families ("Familias Unidas") tour. In twenty-four cities across the country, we heard from families who were being ripped apart by the current system. We've heard stories from a father dying from cancer whose wife faced deportation. We've heard from American citizen children who are faced with choosing between their parents and a college education.

This is a crisis. It's a crisis of human and civil rights, it's a crisis of our economy and our workforce, and it's a crisis of national security. This is why we cannot wait any longer. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity (CIR ASAP) Act of 2009 is a solution that we, as a nation of immigrants, can be proud of.

We've waited a long time for this -- a workable solution to our immigration crisis.

We've waited for laws that don't stop at securing our border, but go further to secure our economy, protect our workforce and recognize the proud tradition of immigrants seeking the American Dream. We've waited for it to be taken up by this Congress and our President. And the time for waiting is over.

Our bill will be presented before Congress heads home for the holidays so that there is no excuse for inaction in the New Year.

CIR ASAP prioritizes the best of what our nation values: family, civil rights, economic opportunity and diversity. It is the product of months of collaboration with human rights advocates, labor organizations, and members of Congress. Already, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and members of the Congressional Black Caucus have endorsed it as a solution to both stem illegal immigration and promote legal migration that will protect and strengthen our nation's economic and national security.

During the campaign, Barack Obama made a commitment to push for real, comprehensive immigration reform. As President, he's reaffirmed that promise to the nation and to me personally. I'm also very encouraged by the support of Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid. I intend to work with them and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to make sure that promises made to the American people are promises kept.

We are a proud nation of immigrants from around the globe, and with this legislation, we will be able to once again be proud of our immigration laws. I don't think you will find too many people who would tell you that our current immigration system is working. Everyone, regardless of their position on this issue, agrees that the system should be overhauled.

The American people elected us to solve problems like this - and that's exactly what we're going to do.