Elvira Salazar Introduces Border Securing 'Dignity Act'

“Our broken immigration system is fracturing America – economically, morally, socially, and politically.”

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
February 8, 2022

Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) held a press conference this week to introduce the Dignity Act. Elvira Salazar introduced the legislation, which is billed as “a complete immigration reform bill consisting of 3 core principles: stopping illegal immigration, providing a dignified solution for immigrants living in America, and strengthening the American workforce and economy."

In a statement, the GOP lawmaker expressed that “our broken immigration system is fracturing America – economically, morally, socially, and politically.” Because of this, she warns that “it’s threatening the American Dream and our very way of life.”

In filing the bill, Elvira Salazar argued that the goal is “to secure our border, provide a dignified solution to immigrants in the United States, and support American workers.”

“While we are a nation of laws, we are also a nation of second chances,” she concluded, adding that the legislation is an effort “to keep the American Dream alive.”

Republicans have been at odds with the Biden Administration over immigration, and lawmakers have tried to address concerns regarding the southern border. This has led to disputes between Biden and states like Florida and Texas. The latter even announced that it would be developing its own southern border wall to curb illegal immigration.

In a press release, the Dignity Act is described as “the only realistic solution proposed in Congress that fully secures the border, reestablishes law and order in our immigration system, enacts a 10-year Dignity Program providing renewable legal status, and offers an additional optional redemption path to permanent legalization.”

The Key Provisions of the bill are the following:

 

Border Security and Enforcement

  • Authorizes funding to fully secure America’s border at no cost to American taxpayers.
  • Implements best border technology available – including radar, cameras, infrared, secure communications, and autonomous detection technology.
  • Restarts all currently paused border infrastructure contracts and increases funding for physical border infrastructure.
  • Hires 3,000 new DHS border security personnel and prioritizes hiring of military veterans and law enforcement agents.
  • Creates a task force to detect and destroy cartel smuggling tunnels along the southern border.
  • Mandates 100% nationwide e-verify to ensure all American business are hiring legal workers.
  • Increases criminal penalties for illegal border crossings and immediately deports illegal immigrants who commit crimes.
  • Expands U.S. authorities to go after transnational criminals, smugglers, human traffickers, drug traffickers, and gangs like MS-13 operating outside the United States.
  • Establishes 4 Regional Processing Centers to house asylum claimants at the border to end catch and release policies while cases are being determined.
  • Enacts last-in, first-out judicial policy to cut down multi-year backlog in immigration courts.
  • Hires 1,700 new immigration court personal to rule on asylum cases faster.
  • Curbs irregular migration from Central America and address roots causes of northern migration by bring law, order, and increased development to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

 

Addressing Immigrants Living in America

  • Creates immediate legal status and streamlined path for Dreamers.
  • Dignity Program (10 Years):Through the 10-year Dignity Program, undocumented immigrants will be provided a chance to work, earn legal status, pay restitution, and get right with the law. They must comply with all federal and state laws, pass a criminal background check, work or serve as a family caregiver, and pay taxes. They must contribute to the American Worker Fund to begin the program. The Dignity program provides work authorization and protection from removal proceedings as long as conditions are being met. Dignity participants will pay $10,000 in restitution during the 10 years of the program, must check in with DHS every 2 years, and must remain in good public standing.
  • Individuals in the Dignity Program will not have access to federal means-tested benefits or entitlements.They will be net contributors to tax revenue and the U.S. economy.
  • The Redemption Program (+5 years):The Redemption Program is optional, and individuals must complete the 10-year Dignity Program to start the Redemption Program. It will offer a chance at redemption and to earn more permanent legal status. The 5-year Redemption Program requires that participants learn English and U.S. civics, and provides the opportunity for those seeking permanent legal status to contribute to their local community either through local volunteer work, national community service, or increased contributions into the American Worker Fund. It also opens up eligibility for existing pathways to citizenship, but would not be a special pathway. Individuals applying would go to the back of the line.
  • Enforcement through a functioning mandatory e-verify system and certification of a fully secure border will be completed before the Redemption Program can begin.

 

American Workforce and Economy

  • Creates an American Worker Fund, using restitution payments from the Dignity and Redemption programs, at no-cost to taxpayers. This provides grants to American citizens for workforce education initiatives, apprenticeship programs, and Career and Technical Education to give opportunities for Americans to enter new careers.
  • For every $10,000 paid by 1 immigrant in the Dignity program will, this can retrain at least 2 Americans workers.
  • Implements a market-based solution for our labor shortages by expanding and modernizing the H-2A Agricultural Guest Worker program to adequately respond to workforce needs.
  • Updates the antiquated definition of farming to reflect modern-day farming practices, setting a policy that works for all of America’s farmers, growers, and ranchers.
  • Provides wage stability for farmers and ensures a resilient and reliable agricultural commodity supply chain.
  • Combats food price inflation so families can continue to have access to affordable groceries and a large variety of products that originate from American farms.
  • Includes the H-2B Returning Worker Exception Act to ensure that small and seasonal businesses can fulfill their labor needs and contribute to our nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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