Salazar Leads the Way with Bipartisan Bill to Reform America’s Immigration System

“The Dignity Act tries to tackle the most important topic facing our country.”

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar (FL-27) appeared yesterday morning before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society, delivering remarks about the need to reform America’s immigration system and the bipartisan piece of legislation she has authored to achieve this goals.  The bill is called the Dignity Act.

Introduced last month by Salazar and Democratic Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), the measure has four key objectives. First, the bill seeks to end illegal immigration once and for all.  Second, the measure attempts to give dignity to people living in the shadows.  Third, the bill would protect American workers and support American industries.  And fourth, the legislation would grow the U.S. economy and make sure the nation remains competitive.

“The Dignity Act tries to tackle the most important topic facing our country,” the Florida lawmaker said, explaining why she introduced the legislation.

Salazar was first elected to Congress in 2020.  Born in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, she is the daughter of two Cuban exiles.  She is also a five-time Emmy Award-winning journalist who has worked for every major Spanish-language broadcasting network in the U.S. — Telemundo, Univision, AmericaTeve, MegaTV, and CNN en Español.

In her remarks, she talked about the importance of securing the southern border, and why she believes America has both the resources and technology to get the job done.  She also talked about the need to end “catch and release,” a policy that requires the federal government to release illegal immigrants into the nation’s interior after detaining them for six months, if no other country accepts them for deportation.  Finally, Salazar talked about the importance of achieving these goals in a way that would not only seal our border, but preserve America’s role as a beacon of freedom and opportunity for people who want to build a better life for themselves and their families.

“I believe that we are a good nation — a generous nation,” she explained, “and that we have highly benefited from immigrants coming to America over the past two-hundred-some years.”

Delving more into the title of the reform legislation, she continued:

“Why do I call it dignity?  Because we have a class of people — most of them Hispanic, let’s say 10, 12, 13 million illegals — who live in the shadows. I’m not sure if you realize that these people have no rights, and that they live in a permanent state of anxiety.  They are the people who do the jobs that other people are not willing to do – the ones who are picking jalapeño peppers in Southern California, or working in the slaughterhouses in Iowa, or cleaning the toilets in Manhattan, or peeling the potatoes somewhere in New York City.  These people, I believe, deserve to live a dignified life.”

To achieve this goal, Salazar noted that her bill would establish a seven-year Dignity Program and an optional five-year Redemption Program. These programs provide eligible undocumented immigrants the opportunity to work and earn renewable legal status, conditional on good conduct and restitution payments made to the American taxpayer.

“I am not saying that they have to become American citizens,” she explained.  “I’m saying that we can give them the dignity status like any other status, which is the one that we’re creating in this piece of legislation.”

Following her opening remarks, Salazar took a number of questions, including one about the politics of the immigration issue in Congress and the prospects that the bill would be considered this year.

“We will not be able to pass the Dignity Act through the House of Representatives if we don’t have bipartisan support,” she stated matter-of-factly.  “I have a fantastic co-sponsor. Her name is Veronica Escobar. She is a Democrat on the progressive side. Could you imagine? I am a Republican on the conservative side, and she is a Democrat on the progressive side.

“She is the best there is because she understands everything that I’m telling you – that we have to seal the border; that we have to end catch and release; that we cannot have these people come in illegally; that we need to give dignity to the ones who are here; that we need to put order at the border; and that we have to create new laws for those and expand … providing different types of visas for people to come in if they are needed in the marketplace.

“She understands that.  Because this has nothing to do with political parties.  This has to do with common sense, which is the least common of all senses. We’re trying to explain to both conferences — the Dems and the Republicans — that this is a good idea. She’s all in — full of heart into this.  I am very grateful to Veronica Escobar.  She’s become my friend, because we’re here to do things.”

To view the remarks of Congresswoman Salazar at yesterday’s breakfast discussion, please click the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.