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Congress must reform immigration

On Dec. 15, 2009, U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced a bill into Congress that could open the door for millions of immigrants currently living in this country to become lawful, permanent residents.

I hope it is taken seriously. The name of his bill, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act,” reflects the growing impatience of his constituency and that of many other people throughout this country, including those in Queens.

Unfortunately, his bill appears to contain many provisions that would ensure its demise. For example, the bill only touches upon the problem of security along our southern border. Many politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have been on the record for years saying they would vote against any bill that did not shut down this border before creating a path to residency.

Accordingly, we need to be able to focus on the immigrants who are here now — especially the children who were brought here at a tender age, educated here and have graduated from high school or college only to find they are without the ability to become productive members of society.

However it is accomplished, whether in progressive steps or comprehensively, it is about time. The Democratic Party has been in control of Congress since November 2006. It is supposed to be the champion of minority issues.

But despite the support of Republican former President George W. Bush and independent Republicans and now the support of Democratic President Barack Obama and a filibuster-proof Senate, six sessions of Congress have elapsed without a law.

No wonder Gutierrez, in office since 1993, is frustrated with his colleagues.

Richard La Salle


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