Senators introduce immigration reform bill

[JURIST] US Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official profiles] introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 [legislative materials] Wednesday, which, if passed would greatly change US immigration [JURIST news archive] law. The bill incorporates previously proposed legislation [Terra report], including the AgJOBS Act [legislative materials; text], which would allow some undocumented workers to work on US farms, the Uniting American Families Act [legislative materials; text], which would allow same-sex partners of US citizens to reside in the US and the DREAM Act [legislative materials; text], which would provide a path to permanent resident status for some high school graduates who enter the military or enroll in a college degree program. Leahy praised the legislation [press release], claiming the bill "protects the rights and opportunities of American workers, while ensuring that American farmers and employers have the help they need. It promotes jobs to help spur our economy, it supports families, it helps to bring undocumented workers out of the shadows, and it enhances our border security. These are goals we can all share." President Barack Obama said he looked forward to reading the bill [press release], adding he is "pleased that the bill includes important building blocks laid out in the bipartisan framework presented earlier this year addressing the urgent need for reform." Also on Wednesday, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) [official profile] proposed an immigration bill [legislative materials; press release] that would increase cooperation between federal and local enforcement officials, strengthen enforcement of current immigration laws and limit federal benefits to illegal immigrants [JURIST news archive].

Illegal immigration continues to be a concern for local governments, as the federal government has failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. In September, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that two ordinances passed by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to live or work in the town are unconstitutional. Earlier that month, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona granted a motion to dismiss [order, PDF; JURIST report] a police officer's suit [JURIST report] challenging Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070 materials, JURIST news archive]. In August Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official website] filed the state's opening brief [text, PDF; JURIST report] in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], asking the court to lift the preliminary injunction preventing the law from taking full effect. Also in August, a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that the Nebraska Supreme Court should be the first forum to address Fremont, Nebraska ordinance [No 5165 text] banning hiring, harboring or renting property to illegal immigrants.

 

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