Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced an immigration reform proposal last week that has already garnered significant criticism from anti-immigration advocates.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 is the first significant proposal on the issue introduced in Congress in the last two years.
It contains far-reaching provisions, including a route to legalization for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants—who would be required to pay a $500 fine, learn English and pass a criminal background check—and a suggestion to strip police officers of their federally-sanctioned powers to detain individuals for immigration and visa violations, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Moreover, the legislation draft calls for providing 100,000 extra visas for people from countries with high rates of illegal immigration and for expediting legal immigration for close relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful residents.
The proposal has come under fire from conservative groups that have labeled it "an amnesty."
Among the most vocal critics is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which described the bill as a "wholesale sell-out of the interests of the American people."
The organization’s president, Dan Stein, stated that "at a time when some 25 million Americans are either unemployed or relegated to part-time work, the last thing the Democratic majority ought to be focused on is a massive amnesty and immigration expansion bill."