I have had a number of AILA members and prospective immigrants email me recently about my blog on the waiting lines. In addition to the comments on the length of the immigrant visa delays (and possible changes to the wait times based upon newly found information), many commentators also threw in their thoughts on the need for immigration reform. One particular thought ran through many of these emails. Is immigration reform going to happen, and if it will happen will it be “CIR” or will it be piecemeal?
As I pondered how best to respond to this, today AILA posted a listing of all the immigration related legislation introduced in September and October 2009:

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (Sept-Oct 2009)
Cite as “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09110264 (posted Nov. 2, 2009)”

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in September and October:

New IDEA (Illegal Deduction Elimination Act) (H.R. 3580)Introduced by Rep. King (R-IA) on 9/16/09. Summary: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that wages paid to unauthorized aliens may not be deducted from gross income, and for other purposes.

Improving Methods to Promote Regular Occurrences of the Verification of Employability Status Act of 2009 (H.R. 3676)Introduced by Rep. Broun (R-GA) on 9/30/09. Summary: To amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to make permanent the E-Verify Program, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3687 Introduced by Rep. Issa (R-CA) on 10/1/09. Summary: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the diversity immigrant program and to re-allocate those visas to certain employment-based immigrants who obtain an
advanced degree in the United States

Dairy and Sheep H-2A Visa Enhancement Act (H.R. 3744)Introduced by Rep. Arcuri (D-NY) on 10/7/09. Summary: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide a special rule for the period of admission of H-2A nonimmigrants employed as dairy workers and sheepherders, and for other purposes.

Fairness in Representation Act (H.R. 3797)Introduced by Rep. Foxx (R-NC) on 10/13/09. Summary: To prevent congressional reapportionment distortions by requiring that, in the questionnaires used in the taking of any decennial census of population, a checkbox or other similar option be included for respondents to indicate citizenship status or lawful presence in the United States.

Every Person Counts Act (H.R. 3855)Introduced by Rep. Baca (D-CA) on 10/20/09. Summary: To amend Title 13, United States Code, to make clear that each decennial census, as required for the apportionment of Representatives in Congress among the several States, shall tabulate the total number of persons in each State, and to provide that no information regarding United States citizenship or immigration status may be elicited in any such census.

Note: Each week hundreds of bills are introduced into the House and Senate, and the likelihood of any particular bill moving is usually very small. The bills posted on this page represent all immigration-related legislation introduced this week, not legislation AILA believes is important or likely to succeed.

One of the common strings I see running through these non-comprehensive bills, is that, for the most part they are negative. They are bad bills introduced to be used as leverage against any CIR legislation that will be introduced.
Let’s take the givens: We know that CIR is going to be tough to pass if the economy does not recover. We know that CIR is going to be controversial because the anti-immigration minority will inundate Congress with calls, letters, faxes and emails. We know that on top of any CIR legislation all of these “bad” bills will be proposed as additions because they have been pending prior to reform legislation. So, why not start getting those who understand the need to fix our broken immigration system to start introducing “positive” immigration bills, to be used as a counterweight to these bad bills?
Just a thought for those working on these issues. Isn’t it about time to play the game on the same terms as our opponents?