A South Florida Republican has introduced an immigration bill she’s touting as “The Dignity Act.” Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar claims the legislation will “provide a dignified solution to immigrants currently living in the US.” On its surface, it would appear to make Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar a rarity of sorts, a Republican putting forward a pathway to legalization.
But don’t be fooled. Experts and immigrant rights advocates note that the path to legalization in Salazar’s bill is a “dead end,” thanks to the ridiculous standards it sets—which Republicans will make sure can never be met. Advocates note the bill is, in reality, a re-election ploy for Salazar, who voted against the insurrectionist president’s impeachment.
“We appreciate that some House Republicans support a path to citizenship (which the American public wants), but Rep. Salazar's bill as written is seriously flawed,” noted American Immigration Council policy counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. “For example, the path to citizenship is a dead end thanks to a border security ‘trigger’ that will never be met.”
Roll Call reports that this “trigger” ensures border security “is emphasized first before any other bill measures are implemented,” including that path to legalization. The problem here is that Republicans will never, ever, especially under a Democratic administration, publicly say the border is secure. Remember, the Biden administration has kept some of the previous administration’s worst asylum policies in place, and the GOP is still screaming “open borders.”
Reichlin-Melnick also notes another provision could likely scare away prospective applicants, rather than encouraging them to step forward to gain relief for themselves and their families.
“The Salazar bill would make it a federal crime to be undocumented for more than 90 days if you're an adult. As a result, anyone who wanted to apply for the path to citizenship would be risking prison by applying. That's one example of what I meant by ‘seriously flawed.’”
It’s also a dead-end because Kevin McCarthy has said so, previously promising racist rag Breitbart that he’ll kill any immigration legislation should he become speaker. “Unless and until McCarthy and other GOPers stop kissing the nativist ring, the Rep. Salazar bill is dead on arrival and designed for optics, not as a real proposal,” America’s Voice notes.
Salazar is also promoting this “Dignity” ploy as Republicans in her state are aiding Gov. Ron DeSantis’ despicable anti-child agenda. In recent weeks, both chambers of the state legislature have advanced hateful bills targeting asylum-seeking children and other migrants.
“In Arizona, Mark Brnovich, the state Attorney General and a candidate for the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, called immigration into the state an ‘invasion’ in a legal opinion he issued this week justifying Arizona’s ability to send troops to the border,” America’s Voice continued. “And national Republican candidates and official party committees continue to run hard on nativist tropes and lies.”
Salazar is pushing her ploy as the House has already passed legislation putting millions of undocumented people onto a path to legalization. The Dream and Promise Act, as well as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, passed nearly a year ago under Democratic leadership and support from some GOP votes.
Salazar could just push her party in both chambers to line up behind those bills, but then that would mean a realistic path to legalization. You know, actual “dignity.”
“It’s not that Rep. Salazar is naive about the rest of the Republican Party and their open embrace of nativism,” America’s Voice deputy director Vanessa Cardenas said. “Instead of taking on those forces in her Party, she is in concert with those same forces and enables them by seeking to launder the Republican brand for select diverse districts ahead of the midterms, while seeking to blame Democrats for legislative inaction on immigration reform blocked by Republicans.”