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Bipartisan bill addresses border security, would grant legal status to many

Hillary Scholten
Hillary Scholten campaign website
Rep. Hillary Scholten (D) is a co-author of The Dignity Act of 2023

U.S. immigration reform was last passed by Congress in 1996. Now, the ending of Title 42 emergency health powers that allowed border officials to deny migrants entry has created what many have described as a humanitarian crisis at the border.

A bipartisan coalition of U.S. House members believe their new legislation addresses the challenges. One of the bill’s co-authors is Grand Rapids Democrat, Hillary Scholten

The Dignity Act of 2023 is a bipartisan bill providing immigration reform. Its authors say the legislation produces additional pathways to citizenship including certification of agricultural worker status or serving in the U.S. armed forces. Undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. would be granted legal status with the possibility of obtaining citizenship. New legal pathways would also be established for asylum seekers, economic migrants and unaccompanied minors. The Dignity Act of 2023 addresses infrastructure challenges including regional processing centers.

The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by seven U.S. House members. Republican representatives María Elvira Salazar from Florida, Jenniffer González Colón from Puerto Rico, Oregon’s Lori Chavez-DeRemer and Mike Lawler from New York. Democrats include Veronica Escobar of Texas, North Carolina’s Kathy Manning, and Michigan’s Hillary Scholten.

In a news release the Grand Rapids representative and former immigration attorney said, “This bill will make our communities and our country safer; it will bring our workforce into the 21st century, and it will bring dignity to millions of hardworking families already living in the United States and contributing to make our country a better place.”

Scholten and her colleagues pointing out that over the past decade, seven immigration reform bills have failed.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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