Representatives unveil a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill
Representatives Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Florida) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) have unveiled an extensive immigration bill that may attract the largest bipartisan support of any such bill that has been introduced in recent years. The Dignity Act of 2023 would create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, update asylum law, provide a way for undocumented immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S. if they pay restitution, and invest more into border security measures, in addition to a number of other provisions.
“It’s encouraging to see Republicans and Democrats working together on immigration reforms, especially given recent partisanship. Americans across political lines want these kinds of solutions,” said Jennie Murray, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Congresswomen Salazar and Escobar are right to seek middle ground.”
More than 1.5 million people have applied for the migrant sponsorship program
In just 5 months, DHS has received over 1.5 million applications from people eligible to sponsor migrants arriving from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, overwhelming caseworkers because they cannot approve more than 30,000 arrivals under the sponsorship program per month. DHS documents show that the large number of applications have caused long wait times for applicants and if the monthly cap of 30,000 is not raised, the sponsorship program could lose its effectiveness in discouraging migrants from crossing the border illegally.
Immigrant workers bolster U.S. labor shortages
According to the Labor Department’s annual report more foreign-born people joined the U.S. workforce than did individuals born in the U.S. in 2022. The number of immigrants working or seeking work increased by 1.8 million totaling 29.8 million. U.S. population growth slowed and retirements increased during the pandemic, creating labor shortages across many industries, opening up more opportunities for immigrant workers.
“Any real gains we’re seeing in the labor force are coming from immigrants—they’re a buoy,” Elizabeth Crofoot, senior economist at the labor-market data firm Lightcast, noted.