Immigration is at the forefront of the El Paso Chamber’s legislative agenda and has been a priority for the Chamber since its founding.
Via El Paso Chamber
As a border community, we continue to look for creative policies and legislation from our representatives. In keeping with our advocacy mission, we encourage bipartisan discussion on our current immigration system, which is why the El Paso Chamber supports legislation like “The Dignity Act of 2023,” a newly proposed bipartisan immigration reform bill put forth by Representatives Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and María Elvira Salazar (FL-27).
The bill, which is over six months in the making, addresses a wide slew of issues concerning immigration, geared toward investing in border infrastructure and security, creating new legal pathways for economic migrants and unaccompanied minors, establishing new pathways for asylum seekers, and creating new regional processing centers. The proposed legislation also seeks to grant legal status to undocumented immigrants already living in the United States with the possibility of earning citizenship, as well as creating additional pathways to citizenship to include the new Dignity Program, certified agricultural worker status, or service through the armed forces.
We are truly inspired to see the hard work of our local representatives coming to fruition, and we are excited to see our elected officials leading the way on comprehensive immigration reform. Congresswoman Escobar’s office has brought us to the forefront of the national conversation around immigration by inviting us to roundtables discussing these matters, as well as inviting us to be a part of the delegation meeting with President Biden on January 8th. These bipartisan discussions allow us to engage and voice the concerns of our local business community on a state and national level, and give us the opportunity to advocate for our community needs. Representative Tony Gonzales (TX-23) has also included us in conversations on the issue. He recently took part in proposing the bipartisan “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Rural and Remote Hiring and Retention Strategy Act of 2023,” inviting Congress to address the shortage of CBP officers in rural areas.
While the Chamber supports the actions of our local representatives, we are also taking our own steps to advocate for immigration reform. Back in March, the Chamber hosted an Immigration Forum to discuss the possible solutions and local responses to the current obstacles in our immigration system. Such conversations are necessary for addressing these problems. In the decades since the last comprehensive immigration reform bill was last adopted, we have seen the strain the system has gone through. It cannot remain as it is, and it is absolutely critical that legislation be passed to tackle the situation.
We continue to face the same problems as a consequence of decades of inaction. The legislation put forth is evidence that reform is possible and can be passed while considering ideas on both sides of the aisle. These bipartisan efforts show not only that it can be done, but that it must be done. As such, the Chamber will continue to support any and all efforts to develop and advocate for legislation that considers businesses and workers alike.