Issues: Comprehensive Reform
America's current immigration system was created in 1965, when an amendment to the the Immigration and Nationality Act replaced the old national-origin quotas with the current family-based approach. Though the amended system was far more equitable, opening the doors to immigrants from Asia and Latin America, where demand was greatest, fundamental flaws quickly became apparent as undocumented immigration became a major concern.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, a bill that created a pathway to legalization for three million undocumented immigrants. Even so, the bill did nothing to address the old Immigration and Nationality Act's inflexibility in the face of changing demographic and economic pressures. For an overview of the issue, see the Immigration Policy Center paper Breaking Down the Problems: What's Wrong with our Current Immigration System.
Today, the U.S. is in the midst of the second largest immigration wave in its history. That wave includes some 11 million undocumented people currently estimated to be living and working within the United States, or between a quarter and a third of the nation's foreign-born residents, according to a 2010 Pew Center report. All sides of the political spectrum agree that our immigration system is outdated and malfunctioning. Yet every year, families, communities and local economies are traumatized by the system's inequities as politicians continue to shirk the hard work necessary to create sensible, secure and just reforms.
MIRA advocates for comprehensive reform through:
National partnership work
The MIRA Coalition collaborates with national groups and sister coalitions in states such as New York, California, and Illinois, working to develop strategies that will lead to a strong and sensible overhaul of our current immigration system. In 2009 and 2010, MIRA worked with the campaign Reform Immigration FOR America to push for comprehensive bills in both houses of Congress.
Statewide organizing and mobilizing
MIRA works with its 140-plus member organizations and numerous allies across the state and region to develop our local response in the national campaign for comprehensive immigration reform.
Recent updates in the movement for reform
In mid 2010, Rep. Luis Gutierrez presented H.R.4321 CIR ASAP -- a very strong piece of legislation that addressed many of our concerns with enforcement, border control, future flow, and integration.
In late 2010, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Leahy (D-VT) proposed their version of a comprehensive reform (SB 3932 - See summary here), tackling Border Enforcement, Interior Enforcement, Worksite Enforcement, Reforming the Legal System, Legalization to the Undocumented, and a piece on Integration. Though far from perfect, these blueprints are vital steps forward.