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.”

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