Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform
On March 22, Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced
bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the STRIVE Act (Security
Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy) of 2007.
According to the National Immigration Forum, if enacted as proposed, the STRIVE
Act would be:
• The toughest enforcement bill aimed at illegal immigration in American history.
• It will also be the most practical reform of our legal immigration system in American
• It will make our borders more secure, crack down on bad actor employers, and make
it nearly impossible for those without proper papers to get hired.
• At the same time, it modernizes our legal immigration system by expanding controlled
legal channels for those already here and those coming in the future."
• Our immigration system is broken. Congress should pass legislation this year—
comprehensive reform cannot wait any longer.
• The STRIVE Act includes provisions which address post-9/11 civil liberties issues
that affect Arab and Muslim immigrant communities.
• Other aspects of the bill that benefit the Arab immigrant community are updating
employer backlogs, family reunification provisions, and providing more visas for
highly skilled workers.
For more information, please contact Rebecca Abou-Chedid, AAI Director of Government Relations at
(202) 429-9210 or email@example.com
SUMMARY OF THE STRIVE ACT FROM THE CONGRESSIONAL
Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007 or STRIVE
Act of 2007- Prohibits the Secretary of Homeland Security from implementing the New
Worker Program established in title IV or grant conditional nonimmigrant classification
under title VI of this Act prior to certification to the President and to Congress that
specified conditions have been met respecting: (1) border security; (2) document security;
and (3) first phase implementation of the electronic employment verification system.
Sets forth border security and enforcement provisions, including provisions respecting: (1)
personnel and asset increases and enhancements; (2) a National Strategy for Border Security;
(3) border security initiatives, including biometric data enhancements and a biometric entry-
exit system, and document integrity, (4) international cooperation; (5) Central American
gangs; and (6) National Guard use on the southern border.
Authorizes a border relief grant program for a tribal, state, or local law enforcement agency
in a county: (1) no more than 100 miles from a U.S. border with Canada or Mexico; or (2)
more than 100 miles from any such border but which is a high impact area.
Sets forth protections for asylum seekers and other immigrants who are subject to expedited
removal and/or detention. Establishes within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
an Office of Detention Oversight. Provides for a secure (detention) alternatives program.
Directs the Secretary to develop a plan to combat human smuggling.
Sets forth interior enforcement provisions, including provisions respecting: (1) criminal
aliens; (2) voluntary departure; (3) expedited removal; (4) background checks; (5) the state
criminal alien assistance program; (6) tribal lands security; (7) state and local enforcement of
immigration laws; (8) detention and alternatives; (9) passport and immigration fraud; (10)
illegal entry and reentry; (11) detention and removal; (12) criminal penalties; (13) alien street
gang members; and (14) alien smuggling.
Makes it unlawful to knowingly hire, recruit, or refer for a fee an unauthorized alien. Sets
forth verification provisions.
Provides for implementation of an electronic employment verification system, which shall
include required, voluntary, and excluded employer categories.
Sets forth system provisions respecting: (1) procedures; (2) criminal and civil penalties; and
(3) privacy and anti-discrimination safeguards.
Provides for additional worksite and fraud detection personnel.
Establishes a temporary guest worker program (H-2C visa) (New Worker Program) of
400,000 initial entrants. Provides for: (1) a three-year admission with one additional three-
year extension; (2) issuance of H-4 nonimmigrant visas for accompanying or following
spouses and children; (3) U.S. and guest worker protections; (4) implementation of an alien
employment management system; (5) specified employer obligations; and (6) establishment
of a Standing Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets.
Provides for H-2C adjustment of status to permanent resident if the alien: (1) has been
employed in H-2C status for a cumulative period of at least five years and establishes
evidence of employment; (2) pays a $500 application fee; (3) is physically present in the
United States; and (4) is pursuing English language and U.S. history education.
Directs the Secretary of State to negotiate bilateral agreements with H-2C worker home
Sets forth backlog reduction provisions respecting: (1) family-sponsored and employment-
based immigrant levels, including recapture of unused visas; (2) country limits; (3) immigrant
visa allocations; (4) shortage occupations; (5) nurses a nd physical therapists; (6) Iraqi and
Afghan translators; (7) aliens of extraordinary artistic ability; (8) Canadian powerline workers
and boilermakers; (9) aliens in specialty occupations; (10) U.S. educated immigrants; (11)
students; (12) L-visa (intracompany transfer) aliens; and (13) minor children and widows.
Provides for status adjustment filing of qualifying employment based immigrants regardless
of whether an immigrant visa is immediately available.
Establishes a special immigrant category for certain children and women at risk of harm.
Exempt sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans who were naturalized under
the Immigration Act of 1990 from worldwide or numerical limitations on immigrant visas.
Provides that determinations under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998
as to whether an individual is a child of a parent shall be made using the individual's age and
status on October 21, 1998.
Expands the S-visa (witness/informant) classification.
Limits the L-visa (intracompany transfer) classification.
Replaces the existing fashion model H-1B visa classification with an O-visa classification.
Return of Talent Act - Directs the Secretary to establish the return of talent program to
permit eligible aliens to temporarily return to their country of citizenship in order to make a
material contribution if the country is engaged in post-conflict or natural disaster
Major Disaster and Emergency Victims Immigration Benefits Preservation Act - Sets forth
disaster- or emergency-related immigration benefit preservation provisions respecting: (1)
special immigrant status; (2) filing or reentry deadline extensions; (3) surviving spouses and
children, including surviving spouses and children of refugees and asylees; (4) waiver of
public charge inadmissibility grounds; (5) age-out protection; (6) documents and address
requirements; and (7) foreign students.
Authorizes a six-year conditional nonimmigrant status for a qualifying alien (and spouse and
children as conditional nonimmigrant dependents) who has been illegally and continually
present and employed in the United States since before June 1, 2006 up to the present.
Requires: (1) criminal and security background checks; (2) payment of a $500 fine and
applicable application fees; and (3) payment of tax obligations. Prohibits such status for an
alien who has: (1) participated in persecutions; or (2) been convicted of a felony or three or
more misdemeanors. Permits permanent resident status adjustment.
Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2007 or DREAM Act of 2007
- Repeals the denial of an unlawful alien's eligibility for higher education benefits based on
state residence unless a U.S. national is similarly eligible without regard to such state
Authorizes the Secretary to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent
resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States before his or her sixteenth
birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately
preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not
inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds; (4) at the time of application, has been
admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a high school or equivalent
diploma; and (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of
exclusion, deportation, or removal.
Sets forth the conditions for conditional permanent resident status.
Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007 or AgJOBS Act of 2007 -
Directs the Secretary to confer "blue card status" upon an alien who: (1) has performed
agricultural employment in the United States for at least 863 hours or 150 work days during
the 24-month period ending on December 31, 2006; (2) applied for such status during the
18-month application period beginning on the first day of the seventh month that begins
after the date of enactment of this Act; (3) is otherwise admissible to the United States; and
(4) has not been convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor, an element of which involves
bodily injury, threat of serious bodily injury, or harm to property in excess of $500.
Directs the Secretary to adjust a blue card alien (and spouse and minor children) to
permanent resident status if the alien has fulfilled specified periods of agricultural
Amends the Social Security Act to exempt blue card aliens from prosecution for social
security-related identity or payment false statements if such conduct occurred prior to the
granting of blue card status.
Revises H-2A visa (agricultural labor or temporary or seasonal services) provisions. Replaces
the existing labor certification requirement with a labor attestation requirement containing:
(1) a description of the nature and location of the job; (2) the job's expected beginning and
ending dates; (3) the number of jobs; and (4) specified labor assurances respecting job
opportunities covered by collective bargaining agreements and non-covered job
Authorizes an initial entry, adjustment, and citizenship assistance grant program.
Strengthening American Citizenship Act of 2007 - Directs the Chief of the Office of
Citizenship of DHS to provide grants to assist legal U.S. residents who declare an intent to
apply for citizenship in the United States to meet naturalization requirements.
Provides that a legal U.S. resident who demonstrates English fluency will satisfy the
residency requirement upon the completion of four years (currently, five years) of
continuous U.S. legal residency.
Directs the Secretary to establish an American citizenship grant program for qualified
entities to provide civics, history, and English classes to promote the patriotic integration of
Authorizes the Secretary to establish the United States Citizenship Foundation to support
the functions of the Office of Citizenship.
Establishes a new citizens award program to recognize citizens who: (1) have made an
outstanding contribution to the United States; a nd (2) were naturalized during the ten-year
period ending on the date of such recognition.
Authorizes the Secretary of State to award a grant to a U.S. land grant university to establish
a national program for a broad, university-based Mexican rural poverty mitigation program.
Provides for increases in DHS immigration attorneys and Department of Justice
immigration attorneys and judges.
Expresses the sense of Congress that an effective and fair immigration court system should
Sets forth citizenship assistance provisions for members of the Armed Forces.
Provides permanent resident status adjustment or cancellation of removal and permanent
resident status adjustment for a requesting alien who was on September 10, 2001, the wife,
child, or dependent son or daughter of a lawful nonimmigrant alien who died as a result of
the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.
Authorizes an alien who is under removal or ordered to depart voluntarily from the United
States to apply for such status adjustment.
Excludes from such provisions an alien who is: (1) inadmissible or deportable under criminal
or security grounds, including September 11, 2001, terrorist activity; or (2) a family member
of such an alien.
Establishes: (1) the Office of Internal Corruption Investigation; (2) the State Impact
Assistance Account; and (3) the New Worker Program and Conditional Nonimmigrant Fee
Account; and (4) the Immigrant Entrepeneur Regional Account Center.
Provide permanent resident status adjustment for certain persecuted religious minorities.
Establishes grants for state courts to implement programs to assist individuals with limited
English proficiency to understand court proceedings.
Provides for notice and hearing if DHS intends to remove an alien to a country other than
the one designated at the removal hearing.
Requires that Department of State and Department of Justice immigration documents
comply with specified authentication, documentation, and machine readable standards.
COSPONSORS(39), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort:
Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43] - 3/22/2007
Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31] - 3/22/2007
Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] - 3/22/2007
Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] - 3/22/2007
Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28] - 3/22/2007
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 3/28/2007
Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [FL-21] - 3/22/2007
Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-25] - 3/22/2007
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 3/28/2007
Rep Emanuel, Rahm [IL-5] - 3/22/2007
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 3/22/2007
Rep Fortuno, Luis G. [PR] - 3/22/2007
Rep Giffords, Gabrielle [AZ-8] - 3/22/2007
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 3/22/2007
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 3/22/2007
Rep Harman, Jane [CA-36] - 3/29/2007
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 3/28/2007
Rep Hinojosa, Ruben [TX-15] - 3/22/2007
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 3/26/2007
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 3/22/2007
Rep LaHood, Ray [IL-18] - 3/22/2007
Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] - 3/29/2007
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 3/29/2007
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 3/28/2007
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 3/22/2007
Rep Ortiz, Solomon P. [TX-27] - 3/22/2007
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 3/22/2007
Rep Radanovich, George [CA-19] - 3/22/2007
Rep Reyes, Silvestre [TX-16] - 3/22/2007
Rep Rodriguez, Ciro D. [TX-23] - 3/22/2007
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] - 3/22/2007
Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] - 3/22/2007
Rep Salazar, John T. [CO-3] - 3/22/2007
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 3/22/2007
Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-16] - 3/22/2007
Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] - 3/22/2007
Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32] - 3/22/2007
Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] - 3/26/2007
Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 3/28/2007
Our immigration system is broken
• The need to reform our immigration system has been evident with the national
immigrant rights movement.
• The delays, bureaucracy, and overall system faults have left our immigrant
communities in limbo.
• It is important that comprehensive immigration reform that is fair and just be
• In the past we have seen how the immigration system is used as a vehicle to
undermine our civil liberties and rights.
• So it is important that we are conscientiousness of hidden provisions that allow for
violations of our due process and constitutional rights as we advocate for
Preventing human and civil rights abuses
• Our communities are faced with an increase in discrimination and hate crimes.
• Racial profiling and blatant targeting of our community has put our organizations
and other service providers on high alert to address the growing need to pass policies
and legislation that protect our community from abuses.
Access to human services programs
• Every year, as human service providers, we see more immigrant families being
denied access to the most essential services, such as medical care and food assistance,
because they lack the status of being a U.S. citizen as required by the Welfare Reform
Act of 1996.
• Denying access to our most vulnerable community members has left our
organizations stranded for ways to help ease the negative impact it has on them and
New programs for American citizenship for immigrants
• One of the most important initiatives for our communities is pushing for better
citizenship programs that allow community members to be fully engaged in U.S.
• In promoting programs that would ease the stressful process in applying for
citizenship and all that is included such as learning English and increasing knowledge
of civic government and history.
Educate your community on the following LEGISLATION:
• The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005: A bipartisan
comprehensive immigration reform bill that creates legal and safe methods for
reuniting immigrant families, providing a pathway to U.S. citizenship and allowing
immigrant workers to join the U.S. workforce.
• The Civil Liberties Restoration Act (CLRA): A bill that addresses some of the post-
September 11th administrative policies such as special registration, the practice of
closed immigration hearings, etc.
• DREAM Act: A bipartisan bill that permits high school graduates who immigrated
to the U.S. as minors and lived in the U.S. for at least five years to apply for legal
status and eliminates a federal provision that discourages states from providing in-
state tuition to immigrant students.
Comprehensive Reform of Our Immigration Laws
Any look at the nation's immigration policy, regardless of the perspective of the viewer,
reveals a system greatly in need of reform. The presence of large numbers of unauthorized
immigrants in the nation's workforce is indisputable; their hard work is widely recognized to
be an asset to the United States. However, current U.S. immigration policies and border
enforcement strategies create a deadly paradox: economic opportunities are available within
the United States, but there aren't sufficient legal ways for people to cross the border to fill
them. Outdated policies also keep American families separated from loved ones in other
countries, due to our backlogged family immigration system.
For more than a decade, American policy makers have taken the approach of spending ever
greater sums of money, hiring more and more enforcement personnel, and creating new and
harsher penalties in order to make our outdated laws fit current realities. It hasn't worked.
The paradox still exists; there is still opportunity here, but a lack of legal means to take
advantage of it. We need a new approach to managing migration, one that will make more
of the immigration flow safe, orderly, and legal instead of deadly, chaotic, and operating
outside the bounds of the law.
In a time in which Americans are especially concerned, for security reasons, about the
integrity of the nation's borders, the rationale for reform grows more compelling. While
there is no reason to fear migrants who come to the U.S. to work and share in the American
dream, lawmakers enamored with policies that have failed us to date continue to call for
even tougher measures aimed primarily at immigrant workers. However, our security needs
are such that we can ill afford a system so at odds with economic realities that the promise of
economic opportunity drives hundreds of thousands of immigrants to enter each year
outside of the law.
The safety and security of migrants themselves must not be overlooked; more than one
person dies each day attempting to enter the U.S. in search of a better life. In addition, the
health and safety of the larger community are undermined by enforcement activities that
discourage immigrants from contact with law enforcement officials and public health
facilities. Simply put, Americans would be far better off with immigration policies that allow
the nation to know who is here and who is entering, and provide safe avenues for lawful
The Problem: Our Immigration Laws are Broken
Currently, there are estimated to be more than eight million immigrants here working
without legal papers. Each year, an estimated 300,000 or more join that population. These
people are coming here to work, to join family members, or both. Why don't they just apply
to come legally? The impression many Americans gain from the public debate on
unauthorized immigration is that good laws are being violated by bad, selfish, impatient
people. That point of view, however, may come from the misunderstanding that legally
immigrating to the United States is a relatively easy process. In fact, people trying to come
here to work or join family find themselves caught in a hodge-podge of outdated
immigration laws and a famously inept and unpredictable immigration bureaucracy.
In the dozen years since our immigration laws were last updated, the number of immigrant
visas available has remained static, while the demand has grown-from immigrants coming to
join their American family members and from American employers seeking workers. Waits
can be as long as 20 years for some categories of immigrants in the family preference
system. There are very few visas available for immigrants to come here and work, if they
don't have particular skills. Faced with years or decades of waiting to reunite with family
members, too many immigrants attempt to enter the U.S. illegally, use temporary visas for
permanent immigration, or turn to smugglers. A father seeking work so he can make a
better life for his family must choose to wait in a decades-long line or risk capture,
humiliation, second-class status-or even his own life-in order to provide for his family.
Many rational people are making the decision to risk being in the U.S. illegally in order to
work and make money at abundantly available jobs in the U.S. These are not bad people
violating good laws; they are rational people making difficult choices to improve their lives
and assist their families.
The reality of today's labor market and the laws and quotas set by Congress in Washington
are colliding, and reality is winning. America's economy and demographic shifts demand
more workers, while our economic ties to Latin America and the rest of the world provide
the economy with reserves of willing workers desiring nothing more than honest work and
honest pay. However, our immigration policies still criminalize large segments of the labor
force, with dire consequences for immigrants and the country as a whole. A black market
for fake documents, smuggling cartels, under-the-table-payments, and the potential for
unscrupulous employers to undercut the competition has sprung up because the supply of
legal visas and authorized immigration channels is out-of-step with the demand for legal
immigration and legal status by employers and employees.
Immigrants want to follow the rules and would choose to immigrate legally if that were a
realistic option. The question for us then becomes, should we continue to restrict
immigration ineffectively or should we embrace reality, update our laws, and manage
immigration effectively? In the context of the threat of terrorism, how we answer this
question will have enormous consequences for our ability to detect and deter terrorism. If
our enforcement continues to focus primarily on immigrant workers, and our economy
demands more workers than we allow in legally, our ability to detect and act against terrorists
will be diminished.
Solution: Comprehensive Immigration Reform
We cannot solve our immigration problems through enforcement alone. We must step back
and re-think our immigration system, and make the changes we need to make to effectively
focus our enforcement resources on fighting terrorism and criminals, satisfy the needs of our
economy for workers, and give American families the opportunity to be united with
immigrant members in a timely manner.
Reform that will make our laws more realistic, so they can be effectively enforced, must
adhere to the following principles:
• It Must Be Comprehensive: Any proposal must simultaneously deal effectively
with 1) undocumented immigrants working and living in the United States; 2) the
future flow of workers and close family members; 3) the need for tailored, targeted,
effective enforcement with realistic policies; and 4) support for the successful
integration of newcomers in the communities where they settle.
• It Must Provide a Path to Citizenship: Opportunities should be provided for
undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. to receive work permits (or to
access educational opportunities) and travel permission once they undergo
background and security checks. Those who choose to settle in the U.S. should
eventually be eligible for permanent residence and citizenship.
• It Must Protect Workers: Wider legal channels must be created so needed workers
can be admitted legally to fill available jobs. To avoid the exploitation and abuses of
guestworker programs that have been flawed in the past, any new worker visa
program must adequately protect the wages and working conditions of U.S. and
immigrant workers. It should also allow workers to change jobs, provide for
adequate enforcement of both the program?s rules and existing labor laws, protect
law-abiding employers from unscrupulous competitors, and provide a path to
permanent status through sponsorship.
• It Must Reunite Families: Immigration reform will not succeed if public policy
does not recognize one of the main factors driving migration: family unity.
Restrictive laws and bureaucratic delays too often undermine this cornerstone of our
legal immigration system. Those waiting in line should have their admission
expedited, and those admitted on work visas should be able to keep their nuclear
• It Must Restore the Rule of Law and Enhance Security: Enforcement only
works when the law is realistic and enforceable. A comprehensive overhaul will
make our immigration laws more realistic, permitting a smart enforcement regime
that should include smart inspections and screening practices, fair proceedings,
efficient processing, and strategies that focus on detecting and deterring terrorists
and cracking down on criminal smugglers and lawbreaking employers. Such a system
will better enable the nation to know who is already here and who is coming in the
future, and will bring our system back into line with our tradition as a nation of
immigrants and a nation of laws.
• It Must Promote Citizenship and Civic Participation and Help Local
Communities: Immigration to America works because newcomers are encouraged
to become new Americans. It is time to renew our nation?s commitment to the full
integration of newcomers by providing adult immigrants with quality English
instruction, promoting and preparing them for citizenship, and providing them with
opportunities to move up the economic ladder. The system should also offer support
to local communities working to welcome newcomers.
Conclusion: We Can No Longer Afford the Failed Status Quo
Our immigration system will continue to be troubled until our laws more closely reflect
reality. Unfortunately, policy makers in powerful positions, who have long advocated for a
reduction in immigration, have cynically used our concern about terrorism to call for a
redoubling of enforcement policies that have plainly failed us up to now. This is more than
a distraction. It is increasingly costly and increasingly dangerous.
More rational voices are beginning to be heard. The President has repeatedly spoken out
about the need for reform. Business groups worry about the ability of our economy to
continue expanding without more worker visas to match up employers and willing workers
in the future. Labor groups want workers to be brought out of the shadows so that they can
enjoy the same labor protections as other workers. Religious and ethnic groups are calling
for reform to speed the reunification of families. Border state politicians, seeing the death
toll increase daily as immigrants try to cross into their states for a better life, are trying to
craft solutions that will provide more opportunity for immigrants to come through legal
channels. Security experts point out that our enforcement resources must be much more
narrowly focused if we hope to be effective in preventing further acts of terrorism.
In the coming months, Congress will be debating competing approaches to reforming our
immigration system. One approach would have us clamp down even further on immigrant
workers. This approach has proven ineffective. A more thoughtful approach will
modernize our laws and ultimately bring them into synch with the needs of our economy
and of American families.