On December 15, 2009, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009”, or “CIR ASAP” for short, and was introduced in Congress.  Highlights of the bill include an “earned legalization” program for those undocumented immigrants who were physically present in the United States as of December 15, 2009.  Those individuals could apply for conditional residence and, after six years, apply for green cards.  Special rules for youths are built in that would allow them a faster track to green cards and citizenship.

To reduce the visa backlogs, CIR ASAP would recapture unused visa numbers from past years and remove caps for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and certain highly skilled workers.  Additionally, a new employment-eligibility-verification system with harsh penalties for hiring unauthorized workers would be put in place.

CIR ASAP would provide relief to millions of individuals and families negatively affected by current immigration regulations.  President Obama has indicated that he would like to see immigration legislation in 2010, but first on the priority list appears to be financial regulatory reform and clean energy legislation.  Interested citizens should take the opportunity to let their House and Senate representatives know how they feel about the bill.  Stay tuned for further developments!