Things That Matter

What You Need To Know About Elizabeth Warren And Her Newly Unveiled Immigration Plan

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has just unveiled her plan for Immigration Reform. Many political pundits consider that unless there is a major escalation in the ongoing tensions with Iran, the 2020 United States presidential election will be defined by the issue of immigration, which has been the most controversial aspect of the Trump administration, and where the POTUS has focused his reelection campaign. Warren’s plan is bold and big and is based on the principles of human rights and dignity for migrants and refugees. 

The race for the Democratic nomination is a crowded field (perhaps too crowded if the Democrats wish to upstage Donald Trump), but Warren is one of the leading contenders if we are to take the constant attacks that Trump launches in her direction whenever he has a chance (particularly when mocking what he calls her doubtful claim to have Native-American heritage). According to the political website Real Clear Politics, Warren is tied with Bernie Sanders in second place, both around 11 points behind the leader of the pack, the former vice president Joe Biden. It is still too early to tell who will run against Trump, but Warren has charm, intelligence and above all the political savviness to give a good fight to Biden and Sanders, and ultimately Trump. 

This is Elizabeth Warren (in case you have been living under a rock for the past two years or so).

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She is an American politician and former academic. Since 2013 she has been the Senator from Massachusetts, an important state for the federal elections. She has brains, alright? She is a former law school professor and has lectured in universities across the country, specializing in bankruptcy law. However, don’t let her smarts make you think that she is not in touch with everyday voters: she has a long and successful history of working in community organizing, and she knows all about the trials and tribulations of the working class. 

Her grassroots approach to politics reminds some of the 2008 Obama campaign. Yes we can, again?

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Many commentators see similarities in the political careers and beliefs of Warren and Obama. They are both experienced in the Senate and former academics. The Independent even went as far as to say that Warren is the 2020 Obama, explaining: “Both Obama and Warren believe in ending political corruption, strengthening the American healthcare system and economy, restructuring the tax system to unburden the average citizen, eliminating bigotry, and ending the cycle of foreign wars. Obama’s potential constituents were most concerned about the economy, healthcare, education, energy, and Iraq. Today’s liberal voters feel similarly (substituting Syria for Iraq). And they both believe in raising their own campaign funds, though Warren rejects the PAC dollars that Obama didn’t.” 

Additionally, if Obama faced the aftermath of the Great Recession, Warren is facing a humanitarian crisis at the border that is bound to dictate the platform of whoever ends up being the Democratic Party’s candidate (there could be surprises, re: Kamala Harris!). 

If she ends up getting the Democratic nomination she won’t hold back calling out you-know-who.

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Trump and Warren have been adversarial for years now, and Warren has been one of the main proponents of impeachment proceedings against POTUS (she does know the law inside out, so…).  

She believes that immigration reform needs to be a priority for the next president.

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She describes the current policies as a mess. She wrote in a post on Medium: “We must address the humanitarian mess at the border and reverse this president’s discriminatory policies. But that won’t be nearly enough to fix our immigration system. We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands.” This is a very intelligent approach to immigration, as it appeals to both those worried about the economy and how the United States can respond to the competition of global markets, and to the voters who consider current zero-tolerance policies, including ICE raids, inadmissible. She vows to “Decriminalize migration and refocus enforcement on serious criminal activity”. 

Her plan for immigration reform is BIG, and would define policies for generations: she wants more opportunities for migrants to enter the country legally.

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Thinking of pure numbers, her plan would increase the intake of refugees from 30,000 a year to 125,000 and then to 175,000 in gradual increments. This policy would provide more opportunities for those who are fleeing precarious situations in war-torn countries and regions savaged by criminal networks and civil unrest, such as Central America, where a high percentage of the migrants who are captured or die in the border come from (you surely remember the devastating photograph of a Salvadorian father and his toddler daughter, who sadly drowned in the Rio Bravo). 

She proposes an approach that puts human values and individual dignity above anything else (so, in short, 100 percent opposite to the current administration’s): this translates into legal changes.

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The biggest legal change proposed by Warren is a restructure of the immigration court system that translates into independence from Justice Department bosses. This would mean that courts who decide the fate of hundreds of immigrants would be more autonomous and not necessarily bend to the pressures coming from the political machinations of the Washington political elite. This would also mean that local judges would have carta ancha to follow their ethical stance in individual cases (and in situations such as the separation of families at the border). 

Under a Warren presidency, the poor conditions of detention centers would be looked at and changed from day 1 and the Office of New Americans would be created.

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One of the main challenges for the country is the assimilation of new intakes into society. Some tend to be resentful and violent towards migrants, and migrants find it hard to get their footing into their new reality. This new office proposed by Warren would be in charge of facilitating integration, including teaching English.

She doesn’t believe in little efforts, but in big changes overhauling of previous policies.

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Under Warren, two of Trump’s most heatedly debated decisions would be given marcha atras. On ine hand, the travel ban (referred to by many as the “Muslim ban”) would end. The termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, which benefited thousands of Dreamers during the Obama years, would also be overhauled. 

She argues that the United States is enriched by immigrants, their stories and their efforts.

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A big part of Warren’s message is that immigrants are not space aliens, but actually part of the very fabric of the United States. Friends, neighbors and fellow Americans, even if the law or their migratory status might suggest otherwise.

Do you think she has a shot at “the big one”? 

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Few gave any chances to Barack Obama at this stage in 2008, or to Trump in 2016, so Elizabeth Warren is far from being out of the picture. She certainly looks presidential and has stood up to Trump when she has had to, so a Warren presidency is not un sueño guajiro.

READ: Senator Warren Speaks On The Removal Of DACA, Making Her Statement Personal With These Three Stories

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The Trump Team Is Ramming Through Last Minute Immigration Rules That Will Have Serious Impacts On Migrants

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The Trump Team Is Ramming Through Last Minute Immigration Rules That Will Have Serious Impacts On Migrants

Johan ORDONEZ / Getty Images

In addition to telling his own team to have zero contact with the President-Elect’s transition team, Trump is now attempting to rush through more dangerous immigration policies.

Although most officials agree that there are few major changes the administration can achieve in two months, they admit that Trump could still wreak havoc on an incoming administration’s plans. From solidifying ‘safe third country’ agreements to finally enacting their rule against international students, there is still a lot of damage the Trump administration can impart on the migrant community.

Trump is rushing to put into place last minute changes to immigration policy.

With President-Elect Biden’s inauguration less than two months away, there is added urgency with the Trump Administration to ram through any last-minute rules that would further limit immigration.

The last minute push comes as little surprise as it’s very much inline with a years-long effort to expand policies that further limit immigrant’s rights – and also a concession that a new administration is incoming.

Like so many other immigration reforms, it’s believed that Trump’s longtime advisor Stephen Miller is behind the push. As lead immigration adviser and the architect of his hard-line immigration agenda, Miller is looking for any opportunity to tighten immigration rules and curtail the flow of migration to the United States.

Immigrant advocates have slammed Miller and the administration for their actions, arguing that the changes have betrayed the country’s posture of welcoming immigrants. 

Despite Trump’s denial, some see the last minute rush as a tacit admission that Biden won the election.

Although these last minute pushes are the same thing that happens in the twilight of every outgoing administration, this one is peculiar because Trump himself has conceded to admit he’s leaving office come January.

However, every administration wants to finish what they started and give it as much staying power as they possibly can.

It’s common for administrations to try to get pending items across the finish line before a transfer of power, but such moves have the potential of setting up more hurdles for Biden, who’s pledged to roll back Trump immigration policies, many of which have occurred through regulations that can be more arduous to reverse.

Though even immigration hawks admit that there is little that can really be accomplished within the next two months.

Some on the right who have failed Trump’s dangerous immigration policies say that there is always going to be a higher level of intensity when you’re running on borrowed time. They also admit that they have, in fact, been working with the Trump Administration on last minute changes. Chris Chmielenski, deputy director at NumbersUSA, told CNN that, “There has been constant communication between us and administration officials on what we still want done.”

“People are looking for stuff to do. People are asking, is there anything you think we could make progress on, anything you think needs to be fixed,” he said. “It’s nothing that’s going to make a difference within two months. People want to know if there are policy changes that can be made, but I think the general view is there is not a lot that can be done.”

The one area where Trump could make changes it by creating more so-called “safe third country” agreements.

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Although it’s unlikely the administration will be able to enact any major legislation, the president is attempting to further enact existing policies. One area where Trump’s team is looking to expand policy is in so-called ‘safe third country’ agreements.

The agreements — initiated last year — marked a significant shift in US asylum policy as migrants who may have legitimate claims for asylum are sent to other countries to make their cases. The U.S. already has entered into agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, but only the agreement with Guatemala was actually up and running.

And despite the region being devastated by Hurricanes Eta and Iota, they still want to see the agreements enacted.

There has also been a major push to finalize a rule that takes aim at international students, potentially limiting the length of time students and others can remain in the United States. In September, DHS proposed changes to visas for students, exchange visitors and foreign media. Since then, a “substantial amount of resources” have been put into finalizing the regulation, a DHS official told CNN, pointing out that there has been “tremendous opposition” to the rule.

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Trump Finally Gave The Green Light To Start The Transition But Many Immigration Policies Are Already Affected

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Trump Finally Gave The Green Light To Start The Transition But Many Immigration Policies Are Already Affected

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

Ever since election night, President Trump has been sowing discord and disinformation while showing himself to be the big sore loser he always has been. Basically, he’s been showing his true colors.

But his actions have real consequences. As he instructs many in his administration to avoid any contact with President-Elect Biden’s transition team, he is doing damage to the peaceful transfer of power. He’s also risking the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans as the country continues to struggle to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, his actions are impacting the future of immigration reform.

Trump has instructed his immigration department to avoid working with the Biden transition team.

As Trump’s General Services Administrator refuses to provide the Biden transition team with much-needed funds to begin preparing for office come January 20th, his immigration department is also keeping the transition team in the dark.

According to Buzzfeed News, an official that oversees US immigration and naturalization services told employees not to communicate with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team until a Trump appointee “deems the results ‘clear’” and recognizes the winner.

”It’s disturbing and disheartening that the agency is not permitting staff to aid the Biden transition team to ensure a smooth transfer,” said one USCIS employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. “These delays could hamper the new administration’s ability to hit the ground running on important issues facing the agency and our country.”

But the transition delay has also caused concern among officials in other agencies, especially those responsible for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

As president, Biden plans to undo many of Trump’s immigration reforms.

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President-Elect Biden has made it very clear that we will govern very differently that his predecessor. One of the areas where he’s looking to truly separate himself from Trump is on immigration.

Already, the transition team has promised to unroll Donald Trump’s legacy on immigration, but it faces an uphill battle to make good on that promise.

When it comes to DACA, the administration plans to reinstate protections DREAMers, but also to expand protections for their health care and education. A threat to the DACA program is making its way through the courts, so the Biden camp is under pressure to act quickly to make good on its promise.

For Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, Biden plans to bring that to an end as well. It is estimated that 20,000 migrants are waiting in northern Mexico in cities like Matamoros while seeking asylum in the U.S. But the exact number is not known for certain, in large part because the Department of Homeland Security has not yet shared such data with the Biden transition team.

Another big change would come in the form of revamping the country’s seasonal worker program. Biden wants to make it easier for both employers and workers to hire and find jobs while providing much-needed legal protections and fair pay to workers.

Biden has also committed to increase the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. annually to 125,000, a historic high and a dramatic increase from the historic low of 15,000 set by the Trump administration.

Biden can use executive action on many fronts but others will require congressional action.

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Although Biden can accomplish many of these immigration reforms through executive action, he’ll need to work with Congress to achieve many others.

His platform outlines larger goals to work on with Congress, such as increasing the number of employment-based visas, providing a path to legalization for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country and creating a new, decentralized immigration stream for foreign workers that is based on local employers’ needs as well as a new visa option for entrepreneurs. 

These plans will be contingent on which party controls the Senate—to be decided in January by two runoff elections in Georgia—and the course of the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to spike across the country, leaving millions of workers unemployed.

Dreamers are celebrating President-Elect Biden’s plans but remain cautious.

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While they aren’t eligible to vote, DACA recipients found ways to harness their political power ahead of the election. And it very much worked.

Over the course of the campaign, many politicans – including President-Elect Joe Biden – made serious promises to the nation’s immigrant population. And Dreamers show up, so if promises were made but progress isn’t, then DREAMers aren’t afraid to go show up in someone’s office and say, ‘Hey, I thought you were on our side.’

“Those are promises that would literally change my life,” said Mariana Castro, 26, a DACA recipient from Peru living in a mixed-status family in Florida.

So although much of the stress and weight has been lifted off immigrant communities shoulders with the results of this election, so much work remains to be done.

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