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Illinois Congressman Pledges to Introduce Comprehensive Immigration Bill

October 15, 2009

CHICAGO - An Illinois congressman is making good on his pledge to introduce and push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Flanked by several members of Congress during a candlelight vigil in Washington D.C. Tuesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) announced plans to introduce the legislation as early as this fall.

Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says Congressman Gutierrez' bill will not only improve the immigration process for those looking to become citizens, but will also benefit the nation as a whole.

"We can't fix our broken laws without having secure borders, without having effective enforcement, without having a system through which people can come here legally in the future. But, the system must also have a pathway so that those undocumented immigrants who are currently here can get legal, and eventually earn their American citizenship."

Although some say the nation is facing more pressing issues like the recession and health care reform, Hoyt says immigration policy is just as crucial to the country's success.

"We can't solve big problems like health care, like education, like our workforce without addressing immigration reform. I'm glad this is going to be addressed in these coming months."

According to Gutierrez' announcement, his proposed immigration reform bill would do many things, including protect both U.S. and immigrant workers, outline a humane approach to handling the undocumented population and establish a strategic border enforcement policy.

Aricka Flowers, Public News Service - IL