Our nation’s history is rooted in the strength of immigrants. As New Yorkers, we have a special understanding of how America’s melting pot can create a rich tapestry of ethnic, cultural and religious traditions that infuse vitality into the economic and social aspects of our communities. Throughout my time in Congress, I have made immigration issues a priority, and I strongly believe that by protecting the rights of workers, securing the border, and modernizing our pathway to legal immigration, the hope that we can fix our broken system will become a reality. I am proud to share with you several key pieces of legislation, all of which I am a cosponsor, that would provide a pathway to citizenship, keep families intact, create a level playing field, and improve our economy.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Last December, I was proud to join over 90 of my colleagues in Congress as an original cosponsor of H.R. 4321, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP Act). Securing the border, cracking down on employers who illegally hire, and requiring immigrants to register for legal status are all components of a comprehensive approach. A troubled economy makes it all the more important that we pursue immigration reform. CIR addresses the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living on the margins of society and it will bring in critical revenue by integrating more people into the economy as workers, taxpayers, and consumers.
As a cosponsor of H.R. 2709, the Reuniting Families Act, I believe that fixing our current family-based immigration system should be at the heart of immigration reform and I am very pleased that it has been included in the comprehensive bill. I am committed to ending lengthy separations of loved ones by providing for the use of unused visas, reclassifying the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents as immediate relatives, allowing gay and lesbian American citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their permanent partners for immigration, raising the per-country limits on immigration, and allowing widows and orphans to remain eligible for a visa after the death of their sponsoring relative.
We must provide a path to legal immigration status for college-bound children who have lived most of their lives in this country. Under H.R. 1751 the American Dream Act (which was included in CIR), qualified students would be eligible for temporary legal immigration status upon high school graduation that would then lead to permanent legal residency if they go to college or serve in the military. H.R 1751 also eliminates a federal provision that discourages states from providing in-state college tuition to immigrant students who have long resided in their states. We cannot deny these students the opportunity to pursue education—especially when the alternative is often working illegally. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this important legislation.
H.R. 5193 StartUp Visa Act of 2010
The entrepreneurial spirit is ingrained in our country’s history and success. In April, I introduced legislation that permits immigrant entrepreneurs greater access to American visas. H.R. 5193, the StartUp Visa Act of 2010 allows an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two year visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to dedicate a significant sum to the immigrant’s startup venture (a minimum of $250,000). Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar introduced bipartisan, companion legislation in the Senate, S. 3029.
Currently, the EB-5 category visa permits foreign nationals to obtain a green card if their efforts invest at least $1 million into the U.S. economy and create at least 10 jobs. H.R. 5193 creates a new EB-6 visa for immigrant entrepreneurs. After proving that he or she has secured initial investment capital (totaling at least $250,000) and if, after two years, the immigrant entrepreneur can show that he or she has generated at least five full-time jobs in the United States, attracted $1 million in additional investment capitol or achieved $1 million in revenue, then he or she would receive permanent legal resident status. I believe that this legislation is a vital component of job creation and promoting America’s global competitiveness.
03/16/2011 - StartUp Visa Act of 2011 [112th Congress]
06/23/09 - Cosponsor of H.R. 1751 – American Dream Act
Key Votes - Rep. Maloney's Key Votes on Immigration