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House Republicans rolled out their own immigration plan this week, offering an alternative solution as President Biden faces a spiraling crisis at the southern border.
The Dignity Plan, led by Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), provides immediate legal status for Dreamers, young people granted a pathway to citizenship under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
It also prioritizes border security, requiring the federal government to provide funding for “an impenetrable border infrastructure system that should include enhanced physical barriers, employing the most up-to-date technology, and securing our ports of entry.”
The legislation also provides a 10-year path to legal status for non-felon immigrants, while cracking down on abuse in the asylum system and improving processing for those fleeing persecution.
Additionally, it “enhances enforcement of immigration laws” to “ensure criminals are removed immediately.”
In introducing the bill, the freshman Republican, who represents part of Miami, argued that her legislation had a far better chance of making it through a 50-50 split Senate than the Democratic proposal.
“[M]y Democrat colleagues have presented an immigration reform law that they know, they know will never become law in the way that it has been written,” the Hispanic lawmaker said.
“We have a crisis on our southern border, children are being trafficked, and we must do everything possible to fix our immigration system once and for all.”
In a statement released by her office, the congresswoman continued her defense of the Dignity Plan, arguing that “no political party holds a monopoly on compassion in our country.”
Democrats unveiled their immigration package last month, led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.).
The legislation, which will likely be divided up into three parts and pushed through separately, mirrors some of the executive actions President Biden signed in his first weeks in office.
It includes an earned pathway to citizenship for over half a million Dreamers, as well as a five-year path to legal status, or a green card, for individuals who pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfill other requirements.
Those who complete that five-year process, if the legislation passes, would then begin a three-year path to citizenship.
Menendez and Sánchez have argued that their legislation goes as far as it does because Democrats felt an obligation to go beyond simply undoing the Trump administration’s immigration efforts.
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