In an effort to break the stalemate around immigration legislation in Congress, a bipartisan House duo has introduced a new immigration measure that would offer a 12-year, two-part pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants in the U.S. while concurrently investing in border security.
The new proposed legislation comes on the heels of the Biden administration ending pandemic-era public health law Title 42, whose expiration brought huge numbers of people to the border to seek asylum or other entry, though not as many as had been projected.
The new proposed bill, AKA The DIgnity Act, is authored by Reps. María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) who hope that this bill will have a better chance for success than the GOP-passed House bill from earlier this month, which focuses largely on enforcement, places extreme limits on asylum, and which has very little chance of passing in the Senate. The goal of The Dignity Act is to focus more on those already in the U.S., with more than 10 million undocumented migrants estimated to be living here.
Provisions included in the Salazar-Escobar bill:
- Undocumented migrants already in the U.S. for five years with no criminal record would be allowed to work anywhere and travel abroad freely.
- Those in the Dignity Program would pay $700 per year for seven years, while their payroll taxes would decrease from 7 percent to 1.5 percent since they’d be exempt from contributing to U.S. government programs for which they are not eligible; the billions raised through these fees would go towards funding border security.
- Asylum-seekers who arrive via the southern border would be detained at one of five “humanitarian campuses,” where they would stay until their case is decided.
- The asylum process would be sped up to 60 days
- Those who complete the Dignity Program would be eligible to enter the five-year Redemption program, during which time they would learn English, U.S. civics, perform community service or pay another $5,000. If completed successfully, they would earn legal permanent residency status, the stepping stone to citizenship.
- The General Accounting Office would be required to determine that the border has remained secure for the year (i.e. that they have detected and apprehended 90% of people trying to cross the border illegally) before allowing immigrants on the path to be granted permanent legal status.
- Establishes protected status and a streamlined path for Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status
The bill faces an uncertain path forward in the House, but we will be following any developments in its potential path forward.
Speak to an Immigration Lawyer Today
While this legislation is still pending, the outcome could impact migrant individuals and families, and we are happy to answer any questions around its potential implications moving forward. Reeves Immigration Law Group regularly advises individuals and their families on the best immigration path for their circumstances whether it is humanitarian parole, asylum, or other family-based immigration options. With over 40 years of experience, our immigration attorneys are well-equipped to advise on all issues faced by newcomers to the U.S. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.