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“Forgive us for not jumping up and down at this ‘news’”

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America’s Voice reacts to Rep. Salazar immigration bill

Washington, DC – Today, South Florida Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar introduced immigration legislation titled “The Dignity Act.” Her office describes the proposal as a “reasonable and compassionate approach” that “will finally fix an immigration system that has been broken for decades.”

Unfortunately, a close reading of the materials the Congresswoman has put out on her legislation – including a “trigger mechanism” that “will ensure that DHS certifies to Congress that the border is fully secure before subsequent reforms take place” – makes clear it’s more about branding and her re-election than a good faith legislative effort to broker a solution.

According to Vanessa Cardenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: 

Forgive us for not jumping up and down at this ‘news’. 

Two problems: First, her bill is full of bad ideas based on Republican messaging: like  build-the-wall, gut asylum and more border patrol. Moreover, insisting that the border is declared ‘fully secure’ before pursuing overdue legalization measures when many Republicans have demonstrated that they will never declare the border is secure, is a recipe for enforcement without legalization. Americans support legal status and citizenship for immigrants and it is the Republican Party that is thwarting it with stalking horse attacks of ‘open borders’’ and ‘mass amnesty.’   

Second, the Republican Party has lost any claim to being a party serious about solving our nation’s immigration challenges. Senator John McCain lost his battle with cancer; Senator Jeff Flake lost his seat; Senator Lindsey Graham lost his soul; and Senator Marco Rubio lost his nerve. In fact, today’s GOP is increasingly defined by white nationalism. Immigrants, they say, are ‘invading’ America to ‘replace Americans.’ If you don’t believe it, read this AV report on the mainstreaming of this racist trope among Republicans, as well as the RNCC memo where they lay out immigration as a political weapon against Democrats. 

This bill strikes us as a press release aimed at immigrant voters in her Florida district. It seems designed to burnish her re-election chances, not a serious effort to pass legislation or take on the nativists in the GOP. If Kevin McCarthy is their next House speaker, the chance of him allowing this flawed bill to be taken up is zero. When she gets her party on board, she can call us.