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3/24: Initial Information about the New Immigrant Bill: STRIVE Act of 2007 (Flake-Guitierrez)
Released 24 March 2007  By Compiled by: National Immigrant Solidarity Network

Initial Information about the New Immigrant Bill: STRIVE Act of 2007 (Flake-Guitierrez)

The Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act (STRIVE Act H.R. 1645)

H.R. 1645, Introduced by Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and 28 other original co-sponsors on March 22, 2007. Among other things, the bill tightens borer security and interior enforcement, establishes an employment verification system, provides a new worker program for the future flow of immigrant workers, overhauls the family immigration system to reduce backlogs, contains an earned legalization program for the undocumented living in the U.S., and facilitates the integration of immigrants.

The Full 697-pages bill:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h1645ih.txt.pdf

A four-page overview of the bill here:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/documents/PolicyWire/Legislation/110/STRIVE_Overview.pdf
A longer 12-page summary here:
http://www.immigrationforum.org/documents/PolicyWire/Legislation/110/STRIVE_Summary.pdf

Flake unveils new immigration bill
March 22, 2007
Arizona Congress Watch

http://www.azcongresswatch.com/?p=2986

Jeff Flake and Luis Guitierrez introduced the STRIVE Act of 2007, a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will be sponsored in the Senate by John McCain and Ted Kennedy. Here’s at-a-glance information on the bill, as put out by its sponsors:

Securing our borders
The STRIVE Act increases enforcement personnel on the border. It also requires a thorough evaluation of information-sharing, international and federal-state-local coordination, technology, anti-smuggling, and other border security initiatives to ensure that we are doing everything possible to bolster border security. The Gutierrez-Flake bill also calls for the development of multilateral partnerships to establish a North American security perimeter and improve border security on the Mexican southern border.

Strengthening interior enforcement
The Gutierrez-Flake bill increases penalties for crimes committed by immigrants, including those related to smuggling and gang activities. The legislation includes provisions to combat passport and visa fraud, and it increases penalties for trafficking in fake documents. The bill also stiffens penalties related to illegal immigration.

Bolstering employment verification
The STRIVE Act sets up an employment verification system whereby employers would be required to confirm each potential employee’s eligibility to work. The new system would eventually apply to all workers and all new hires, and would be rolled out in phases, beginning with critical infrastructure employers and large employers. The legislation increases penalties against employers who do not comply with the new system.

New worker program that reflects realities of our workforce
The Gutierrez-Flake bill sets up a new worker program for low-skilled workers, when a U.S. worker cannot be found to fill a needed job. It addresses the failures and problems with past worker programs and charts a new course that better protects workers, while more effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of employers. The program mandates strong workplace protections. In addition, employers would be required to provide foreign workers with the same wages and working conditions enjoyed by U.S. workers. Workers also would have the ability to change jobs and eventually get on a path to citizenship, if they choose. The worker visa would be valid for 3 years and renewable once.

Reforming a broken visa system in a way that protects families
The STRIVE Act overhauls the family-based and employment-based immigration system to reduce backlogs and inefficiencies. The legislation provides opportunities for high skilled workers to come to, and remain in, the U.S. It also addresses employment needs in shortage occupations, such as nursing.

Earned legalization for hardworking, deserving individuals
Under the legislation, undocumented workers, who pay a fine and pass extensive and thorough background examinations, would be eligible for conditional status with work and travel authorization for 6 years. If, during those six years, the worker remains employed, continues to be an upstanding member of the community, learns English and civics, and pays any owed taxes, they could be eligible to adjust their status if they leave the country and re-enter legally.

The Gutierrez-Flake bill also includes the DREAM Act and AgJobs, as introduced in the 110th Congress.

Miscellaneous
The bill also would increase resources for the immigration court system, provides relief for immigrant victims of the 9-11 attacks and their families, and it facilitates naturalization for members of the armed forces.

Related:

- “[T]his is not blanket amnesty. It is a process that could take 11 years and would subject potential citizens to the most extensive review ever.” [Tucson Citizen]
http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/opinion/45663.php

- Grijalva is a cosponsor: “This bill, while not perfect, begins to recognize the significant contributions immigrants make to our country and how much we all will gain from a more rational and responsible immigration policy.” [house.gov]
http://www.house.gov/grijalva/press/press_releases/pr_032207.html

- Behind the scenes, the bill’s chances are uncertain. [NYT]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/23/washington/23immig-q.html

- Gabrielle Giffords: “It’s tough, it’s practical and it’s effective.” [Tucson Citizen]
http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/45806.php


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