Republican Florida Rep. Maria Salazar on Tuesday urged Congress to provide “dignity” to millions of illegal immigrants as part of an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws.
Salazar spoke during the America (Un)Bound panel at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. “There’s no way that the United States can continue being what it is, the most important power in the world, the number-one economy in the world, if we don’t have hands,” she said. “I represent the Hispanics, which are the largest minority in the country. We are 23%. And the overwhelming majority of the people who are crossing the border as we speak are Hispanics, Latinos, like I am.”
A second-term congresswoman, Salazar represents a Miami-based congressional district that is 70% Hispanic. 68% of adult residents speak Spanish at home, according to the U.S. Census, and 52% are immigrants. Salazar has repeatedly expressed interest in immigration reform, introducing legislation in February 2022 that would increase border security and give longtime illegal immigrants a pathway to permanent resident status. (RELATED: Rep. Maria Salazar Goes Ballistic On Fox News: Joe Biden Is The One Using Immigrants ‘As Pawns’)
The WEF later made its livestream of the panel private. A WEF spokeswoman did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on why the organization made the video private.
Republican Congresswoman Maria Salazar says at the WEF that we need to “give dignity” to the “13-15 million” illegals living in America. pic.twitter.com/dXykyYQOj2
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 17, 2023
“And this nation, and I believe people like me in Congress, should be the ones telling the rest of the political elite that it’s time for both parties to pay attention to something that, for the last 35 years, neither party has been able to do, which is to pass complete overhaul of the immigration system. Because not only do we need those hands, like the senator was saying, but we need to also give dignity to those people who are in the country,” Salazar continued.
“Because those are the people that I represent. We’re talking about 13, 15 million people who are, most of them, Hispanics, I would say 85%, who speak my language, look like me and sound like me, that are contributing with the economy of this country. And they live in the shadows. So it’s time to seal the border … and then turn around and give dignity. That doesn’t mean a path to citizenship, that means to include them and make them dignified members of our community,” she said.
Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who was also on the panel, worked on an immigration reform package alongside Republican North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis in the waning days of the 117th Congress. Although the two did not succeed in passing legislation, they are continuing their efforts in the 118th Congress.
Experts estimate that between 11 and 15 million illegal immigrants currently reside in the U.S. Federal officials encountered nearly 2.4 million migrants at the U.S.’s southwestern border in Fiscal Year 2022, a record number.