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Pair of representatives introduce bipartisan immigration reform bill

Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, introduced a bipartisan immigration reform bill on Tuesday. Pool photo by Mandel Ngan/UPI
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, introduced a bipartisan immigration reform bill on Tuesday. Pool photo by Mandel Ngan/UPI | License Photo

May 23 (UPI) -- A bipartisan pair of representatives introduced Tuesday an immigration bill they said would address border security and create legal status for undocumented immigrants.

Reps. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, and Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., introduced the Dignity Act of 2023, which would grant legal status to undocumented immigrants already living in the United States with the possibility of earning citizenship, and also create new regional processing centers for asylum seekers.

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"Decades of congressional inaction on immigration law has real consequences, and the humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes requires a bipartisan solution," Escobar said in a statement. "I have seen the toll our broken immigration system has on federal personnel, local representatives, nonprofits, and the migrants themselves, and the need for a realistic, common-sense compromise could not be more urgent."

Salazar said that the bill would also provide support to border agents and businesses that need employees.

"Our broken immigration system is frustrating Americans, causing people to suffer, and fracturing our country -- economically, morally, socially, and politically. A solution is long overdue," Salazar said.

Earlier this month, House Republicans passed the Secure the Border Act, which greatly limits asylum eligibility and expands the offenses that disqualify a person from being eligible for entry. It also directs the Department of Homeland Security to resume construction on former President Donald Trump's border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Following the vote, House Republicans, led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., held a press conference to laud the proposal. McCarthy called it the "strongest border security bill this country has ever seen."

"This bill secures the border from President Biden's record crossings, record carelessness and record chaos," he said. "By passing H.R.2, House Republicans have shown we're focused on addressing our nation's biggest challenges. By contrast, the White House has two years to plan for the end of Title 42."

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