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Dignity Bill is Important Step Toward Fixing our Immigration System

Legislation Would Enhance Border Security and
Help Modernize Immigration System

Arlington, VA – Today, The LIBRE Initiative and Americans for Prosperity applauded the introduction of the Dignity Act, legislation that would streamline, modernize, and improve our country’s immigration system.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican from South Florida.

If enacted, the Dignity Act would enhance immigration enforcement and border security while reforming the asylum process and providing a practical solution to Dreamers, TPS recipients, and the undocumented community. Additionally, the legislation strengthens and revitalizes the American economy through market-based reforms for agricultural and guest workers.

This bill creates an opportunity for lawmakers, on both sides and chambers, to engage and work toward a bill that can get the necessary votes to become law.

Jorge Lima, senior vice president for policy for Americans for Prosperity, issued the following statement:

“It has been said again and again: America’s immigration laws have remained outdated and broken for far too long. The Dignity Act shows how far we can go toward fixing some of our country’s most urgent immigration needs. We urge lawmakers, on both sides, to take up the urgent task of improving security at the border, modernizing legal immigration, and addressing the undocumented population who are living in the shadows. We applaud Rep. Salazar for her leadership and call on her colleagues to join the discussion toward reform.

Daniel Garza, founder and president of The LIBRE Initiative, issued the following statement:

“The humanitarian crisis at the border along with years of a broken immigration system is untenable requiring bold and decisive action. We commend Rep. Salazar for her leadership on this issue and her commitment to address this crisis and so much of what’s wrong with our country’s outdated immigration system. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, regardless of political party, should consider the merits of this bill and debate this topic in earnest for the good of all Americans – immigrant and non-immigrant alike.”

BACKGROUND

If enacted, The Dignity Act would provide:

Border Security

  • Adds thousands of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to enhance security and our situational awareness at the border
  • Replaces obsolete and malfunctioning technology along the border
  • Requires the disruption of smuggling tunnels
  • Combats visa overstays with a visa exit system
  • Speeds up the asylum adjudication process by adding hundreds of asylum officers, immigration judges, and other legal support staff, and increasing asylum fraud penalties

Legal Immigration reforms

  • Allows employers to exempt returning workers from visa caps if they were employed by them in the previous 3 years
  • Makes guest worker programs more accessible to employers by reducing redundant paperwork that can span over 100 time consuming and costly steps
  • Opens temporary work visa programs to non-seasonal industries, such as dairy

Earned pathway to legal status

  • Grants Dreamers conditional residency, pending a background check, if they arrived on or prior to July 4, 2016, complete the requisite secondary education, and pay a fee. Rewards certain conditional residents who spend 4 years in the workforce, obtain a college degree, or serve in the military for three years with lawful permanent residency
  • Provides, pending a background check and the payment of a fine and back taxes, a one time, 18-month window for unauthorized agricultural workers who have worked in the U.S. for at least 180 days in the past two years to pursue a pathway to residency. The pathway is either 4 or 8 years long, depending on how long they’ve performed agricultural work in the U.S.
  • Provides an opportunity for people who arrived on or prior to July 4, 2016, to get right with the law through a 10-year program with a background check, a USCIS fee between $3,000 and $10,000, biennial check-ins, and a $10,000 restitution fee (paid over 10 years). Rewards people who successfully complete the program with a renewable employment visa or the opportunity to apply for a rigorous 5-year path to permanent residency that demands further restitution or intensive community service and other requirements