New Jersey's junior senator Robert Menendez has introduced an immigration reform bill that is aimed at giving thousands of undocumented workers in the United States a clear-cut path to permanent residency.
The bill is called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010, and is being co-sponsored by Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy, Democrat-Vermont. The bill would require that undocumented workers learn English, pay taxes, pay a fine and undergo background verification checks that would make them eligible for permanent residency.
The bill's provisions have been outlined in six sections:
- Border security;
- Interior enforcement;
- Employment verification;
- Reforming illegal immigration;
- Legalization of undocumented workers; and
- Integration and citizenship.
The bill proposes enhanced enforcement of immigration laws across the country. This would include increased penalties for criminal offenses, stronger requirements for monitoring of border entries and exits, and improved detention rules that ensure that no American citizen is detained unlawfully. The bill would also provide for a cause that many New Jersey immigration lawyers support: enhanced conditions at detention facilities.
The bill would provide for better enforcement at a worksite. This would include the establishment of an employment verification system. It would also establish a Standing Commission on Immigration, which would study the impact of immigration on economy and national security matters. There would also be a temporary worker program to determine the current labor conditions in the country, and establish a link between the numbers of visas issued and the need for more workers. The bill would also expand labor protections, and promote the learning of English and integration efforts among undocumented workers.