On Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Dignity Act. This is a bipartisan effort to strengthen border security and provide undocumented individuals with a legal pathway if they meet certain eligibility requirements. This proposed bill would allow individuals illegally residing in the country to work without being deported. It would also speed up the asylum process for those who arrive through the southern border at humanitarian campuses. This immigration bill has also stipulated that those in the country with permanent legal statutes will be docked from their wages to fund border infrastructure. This legislation was proposed after the Biden administration ended the enforcement of a health law, Title 42, imposed during the pandemic. The end has brought more people to the border to seek asylum in the U.S. Keep reading to learn what the Dignity Act would do and discover how a knowledgeable New Jersey Immigration Lawyer can help you.
What is the difference between the Dignity Act immigration bill and the Amnesty Act?
The Dignity Act was proposed to modernize America’s immigration system to meet the country’s economic needs. The objective is to bring dignity and redemption to underpaid Border Patrol agents. The bill was criticized for its resemblance to the Amnesty law signed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1986. This sweeping immigration reform bill aimed to create tighter security at the Mexican border and employers would face strict penalties for hiring undocumented workers. However, the bill allowed any immigrant who entered the country before 1982 to be eligible for amnesty. Amnesty in this sense, is a pardon for a person who violates immigration policies. Therefore, those who entered the country illegally would be pardoned. Unfortunately, Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act failed which is why Congresswomen, Rep. Maria Salzar, R-Fla., and Rep. Veronica Escobar do not want people to confuse the Dignity Act with the Amnesty Act. Salzar announced the bill would have tougher measures and higher penalties.
What are some of the provisions of the bill?
This sweeping immigration bill would establish an Immigration Infrastructure Fund. This would be used to pay for the costs associated with the bills including the development of infrastructure and personnel. Essentially, individuals in the dignity program would have a 1.5% dignity level withheld from their paycheck in addition to tax. They will also have to pay a $5,000 fee.
The bill would also reform the asylum system by adjudicating asylum claims at the border. Asylum seekers would wait for a final determination on their claim. An asylum officer would review their claim within 60 days. This would prevent the release of individuals in custody. Moreover, it would allow people to remain in the country without legal status or a criminal record to work for five years through the proposed Dignity program. Other provisions can affect your ability to obtain asylum as tougher measures could be implemented at the border. However, the bill has not been passed into law. Nevertheless, it is imperative to understand what the Dignity Act would do if it was to be passed in the future.
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