Things That Matter

The Details Of Bernie Sanders Immigration Plan Are Out And Here’s What He Wants To Do

Senator Bernie Sanders released a comprehensive immigration plan where he plans to completely overhaul the system, and undo much of the Trump Administration’s policies, using executive orders and legislative action. 

The 2020 presidential candidate, and a front-runner, proposed placing a moratorium on deportations, ending ICE raids, halting construction of Trump’s wall at the southern border, ending family separation, and closing for-profit detention centers on day one of his administration should he win. 

Under the Vermont senator’s “A Welcoming and Safe America For All” plan he hopes to entirely restructure the Department of Homeland Security which could mean the end of ICE. Under a Sanders’ administration, the agency’s duties would be folded into the Justice Department, while Customs and Border Protection would operate under the Treasury Department. 

Sanders plans to undo the Trump administration’s discriminatory practices. 

The plan will reverse Trump’s orders and allow asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence and gang violence to begin the immigration process. 

According to CNN, it would, “also overturn Trump’s so-called ‘public charge’ rule and ensure that immigrants are not discriminated against based on income or disability, while extending temporary protected status until more permanent resolutions are in place, invalidating Trump’s efforts to end those designations.”

He would also eliminate DNA testing and facial recognition software while implementing anti-profiling guidance from the Department of Justice. 

Dreamers stand to receive more protection. 

Finishing the work of Obama and expanding it, Sanders would extend legal status to 1.8 million young people who are eligible Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients. Using an executive order he would allow 85 percent of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than five years to be free from deportation, which would also expand the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program. 

In addition, Sanders would urge Congress to create a five-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants without reducing the amount of “traditional, family-based visas.” 

Under Sanders’ plan undocumented immigration would largely be decriminalized at multiple levels.

Not only would detention end for migrants without criminal convictions, but they would also be given community-based alternatives that would provide access to health care and legal resources. Moreover, crossing the border would be decriminalized completely. 

“Punitive policies have been justified as a deterrent to migration, but in addition to being morally wrong, there is no evidence that these policies have served this purpose,” Sanders states in the plan.“The criminalization of immigrants has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, dehumanized vulnerable migrants, and swelled already-overcrowded jails and prisons.”

The Trump administration used Section 1325 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code, which makes crossing the border without first being inspected by an immigration officer a misdemeanor offense, to justify separating families at the border. Sanders would repeal the section. 

Immigrants would have more labor rights under Sanders’ plan. 

Sanders hopes to prioritize the interests of immigrants in trade negotiations. The plan would create a whistleblower visa where immigrants could report illegal actions without fear of deportation or retribution. This would ensure that domestic and farm workers are paid a $15 per hour minimum wage regardless of status. 

In his plan, immigrants would have access to his new social programs like Medicare for All, free college, and free school meals. Finally, Sanders would create a program to accept 50,000 climate change refugees within his first year in office. 

“I remember in some early, private meetings he had in 2015 with young undocumented people, he came away so moved, and the connection that was created between him and those young immigrants has really been enduring and what motivates his desire to see this inhumane immigration system to be reformed,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ senior adviser, told CNN.”Those meetings were some of the most personally moving for him in my time with him.”

Critics react to Sanders’ plan. 

“Bernie’s immigration plan is not just a total rejection of Trump’s xenophobic policies. It’s also a truly radical break with the bipartisan war on immigrants that made Trump possible,” author Daniel Denvir wrote on Twitter, praising the Senator.  

“He rejects establishment’s beloved comprehensive immigration reform model of trading draconian enforcement for a legalization that never comes. This is a condemnation of Bush and Obama’s political strategy of mass deportation and border militarization in the name of compromise, Denvir asserted.

However, others were more skeptical of how Sanders plans to execute his lofty ideals. 

“While he proposes integrating migrants in communities, Sanders does little to explain how he would help cities shoulder the burden and provide housing,” Ian Kullgran wrote for Politico. “Nor does Sanders explain how he would background-check migrants as levels rise. The expansion of DACA and DAPA, for example, would require the U.S. to screen entrants’ criminal backgrounds … but Sanders does not say how he would do that once ICE and CBP are dismantled.”

Trump Administration Hikes Up DACA Renewal Fee

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Trump Administration Hikes Up DACA Renewal Fee

Juan Escalante @JuanSaaa / Twitter

A new proposal brought forth by immigration officials might hike up the cost of immigrants entering the United States as children. According to a New York Times report, the Trump administration proposal would increase fees for applicants by more than 60 percent and handover more than $200 million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On Friday, the Trump administration proposed increasing a “range of fees” tacked onto applications for those seeking legal immigration and citizenship.

If it is sent into motion, the proposal would increase citizenship fees by more than 60 percent. Under the new plan, fees for applicants would skyrocket from $725  to $1,170. The proposal would also allow the government to charge asylum seekers $50 for applications and $490 for work permits. Such a rule would make the United States one out of four countries in the world to force asylum seekers to pay for applications. Australia, Fiji and Iran all charge for asylum protection. 

If instituted, the proposal would be yet another roadblock implemented by the Trump administration to restrict immigration through legal means.

Over the past few months, immigrants and immigration advocates have seen similar attempts at hacking through the rights of immigrants before. Recently the Trump administration issued a series of policies that work to withhold permanent residency to immigrants in the United States have been deemed incapable of financially supporting themselves. They have also blocked entry to immigrants applying for visas on the basis of health insurance status. On October 4, 2019, Trump published a Presidential Proclamation that prevents entry to visa applicants are unable to provide proof of their ability to obtain health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States. 

“Healthcare providers and taxpayers bear substantial costs in paying for medical expenses incurred by people who lack health insurance or the ability to pay for their healthcare.  Hospitals and other providers often administer care to the uninsured without any hope of receiving reimbursement from them,” the proclamation read. “The costs associated with this care are passed on to the American people in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher fees for medical services.  In total, uncompensated care costs — the overall measure of unreimbursed services that hospitals give their patients — have exceeded $35 billion in each of the last 10 years.”

 Ur Jaddou, former chief counsel at USCIS under the Obama administration called the new policy, “one more way under the administration that they are making legal immigration unattainable.”

“Currently, USCIS is conducting its biennial fee review, as required under the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, to study the agency’s revenue, costs and needs,” a spokesperson for USCIS told BuzzFeed News. “As always, USCIS will publicly communicate information on its fee review through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the federal register, should a decision be made to adjust its fees. No determination has yet been made.”

Immigration advocates on social media have been quick to slam the proposal as unfair. 

“The proposal to get rid of fee waivers is a whole statement and stand against the poor. From the public charge stuff to this. Worse thing too is this is how people actually feel,” film director Angy Rivera wrote in a thread that lambasted the policy. “The Department of Homeland Security’s plan will be open to public comment for 30 days starting Nov. 14. Make sure to flood them!”

Other users who quick to underline the significance of taking the funds from these applicants and transfer them to  Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration plans to “transfer money raised through the new proposed fee schedule to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency under DHS that carries out deportations, workplace investigations and other immigration enforcement actions. The money would be used to root out any potential fraud in future applications for citizenship, green cards, asylum and other immigration benefits.” 

“At this point I feel like they are just putting numbers in hat, and tossing it around. This is money we use to live and maintain our families, minimum wage ass job won’t cover this. This is just business to make money, y’all taking advantage of us,” Cristal Ruiz Rodriguez wrote in a tweet.

There’s no doubt that the Trump administration’s latest attack on immigrants is a wealth tax.

The Trump administration’s new policy would not be applicable to immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and asking for asylum. 

Melissa Rodgers is the director of programs for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and told the Washington Street Journal that the proposed fees would be unaffordable for those who could have had a chance at citizenship.

“This is a wealth tax on becoming a U.S. citizen,” Rodgers said in a statement. “It’s part and parcel of the assault on the naturalization process.”

Latin America’s First Indigenous President Is Forced To Resign After Weeks Of Protests And Irregular Election Results

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Latin America’s First Indigenous President Is Forced To Resign After Weeks Of Protests And Irregular Election Results

José Luis Rodriguez / Getty

Protests are occurring throughout Latin America as calls for environmental and economic justice strengthen from Chile and Brazil to Venezuela and Ecuador. Now, Bolivia has become the latest flash point for the growing widespread movements across the region.

What started as a protest against President Evo Morales seeking an additional presidential term (he was constitutionally term-limited) has resulted in his abrupt resignation and in what many are calling a coup.

President Morales resigned the presidency after he lost support from the Bolivian police and military.

Bolivia’s political crisis deepened Sunday as President Evo Morales resigned amid allegations of “serious irregularities” during last month’s election and pressure from the country’s armed forces.

Morales faced mounting protests in the aftermath of the October 20 vote as demonstrators and the Bolivian opposition accused electoral authorities of manipulating the vote count in favor of the incumbent. He denied the allegations and declared himself the winner, but was eventually forced to resign

But what led to his resignation?

In the hours after polls closed, preliminary results showed Morales slightly ahead of his opponent, former President Carlos Mesa. But the opposition and international observers became suspicious after election officials stopped the count for about 24 hours without an explanation. When the count resumed, Morales’ lead had jumped significantly.

Electoral monitors from the Organization of American States (OAS) published a report Sunday alleging irregularities that impacted the official vote count.

In the aftermath of the report, Morales initially promised new elections would be held and the country’s electoral council replaced. However just hours later the president had resigned after the head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Cmdr. Williams Kaliman, asked Morales to step down in order to restore peace and stability.

The decision follows weeks of raucous anti-government protests across the country. 

Demonstrators have burned down the headquarters of local election offices, set up blockades, and paraded a mayor barefoot through the streets after cutting her hair and showering her in paint.

Many are calling this an outright coup committed by the military and US-backed politicians.

The international reaction has been swift and vocal.

On Monday, Mr Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, struck a defiant note on Twitter, saying that “the Bolivian people have never abandoned me and I will never abandon them”. He has also said that he was the victim of a “civic coup”.

International allies of Mr Morales echoed his characterisation of what had happened. The Russian foreign ministry said that “the wave of violence unleashed by the opposition didn’t allow the presidential mandate of Evo Morales to be completed”.

Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said that events in Bolivia constituted “a coup because the army requested the resignation of the president, and that violates the constitutional order of that country”.

Spain also expressed its concern over the role of Bolivia’s army, saying that “this intervention takes us back to moments in the past history of Latin America”.

But what do Bolivians actually think of all of this?

Mr. Morales, a former coca farmer, was first elected in 2006. He has earned praise for fighting poverty and improving Bolivia’s economy but drew controversy by defying constitutional term limits to run for a fourth term in October’s election, which is alleged to have been rife with irregularities.

The biggest criticism of Evo Morales was his lack of respect for Bolivia’s democracy – accused of overstaying his welcome and refusing to step down. 

But the fact that the military has called the shots on the president standing down does not do much for Bolivia’s democracy either. 

Now Evo Morales has gone, there is a power vacuum. Increasing numbers of his Mas party are resigning, and it feels like there is a need for retribution – for Evo Morales and his people to pay the price for the mistakes they made while in power.

His supporters have called this a coup – his detractors the end of tyranny. The priority now is to choose an interim leader, call new elections and bring a polarised Bolivia together or face yet more unrest and violence in the coming weeks.