Salazar Lobbies for Passage of Immigration Reform ‘Dignity Act’

Salazar Lobbies for Passage of Immigration Reform ‘Dignity Act’

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
|
June 20, 2024

The Dignity Act, a bipartisan bill filed by a Congressional group led by US Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), is receiving renewed attention as the US’ immigration crisis ensues.

Originally filed by Representatives Salazar and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) in 2023, the Dignity Act would significantly reform US immigration law.

Since being filed, the bill has gained support from over 35 legislators belonging to both major parties.

Salazar defined the law as “the only viable bill in Congress that (addresses) all aspects of our broken immigration system.”

“I am proud of the significant momentum the Dignity Act has gained since Rep. Escobar and I introduced this bill a year ago,” said Salazar. “The Dignity Act is the only way forward Congress has on immigration. To solve our southern border and immigration crisis, Congress must come together to pass this legislation now!”

The nearly 500-page Dignity Act covers border security, asylum claims, illegal immigration, agricultural competitiveness, and the US’ domestic workforce.

Regarding border security, the bill would funnel $25 billion to secure the southern border, mandate national E-verify requirements for all employers, hire thousands of new border officials, and more.

Asylum processes would also be redesigned via the Dignity Act. Current catch-and-release policies would be terminated and humanitarian campuses to house asylum applicants would be built.

Catch-and-release policies, where an individual who seeks asylum enters the country illegally is detained but released until the asylum case’s resolution, have been historically opposed by conservatives.

The Dignity Act would also grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who have been in the US for at least five years granted they pay a $5,000 fine and possess good legal conduct.

The program offers two pathways for eligible illegal immigrants: Dignity Status or the ‘Redemption Program.’

Those who select Dignity Status would receive work authorization, legal permanent residency, and travel authorization. However, they would be ineligible for citizenship.

The Redemption Program would create a citizenship pathway for eligible illegal immigrants which requires passage of English and US civics tests and community service or an additional $5,000 fine.

To address legal immigration issues, the bill increases per-country quotas, expands visa opportunities for foreign STEM students, and cuts the legal immigration backlog.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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