US Politics

Sanders Immigration Plan Aims to Stop Border Wall, End ICE Raids

On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders—calling for a complete restructuring of the system through legislative action and a series of executive orders—released his comprehensive immigration plan.

According to The Intercept, the plan comes after months of criticisms from the left saying that his immigration policy is a fundamental weakness from Sanders.

The candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination said he would place a moratorium on deportations, and end raids by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

His plan also includes bringing construction of the US-Mexico border wall to a halt and ending family separations and shutting down for-profit detention centers.

“Bernie will end the barbaric practice of ripping children from their parents and locking children in cages, thoroughly audit and close detention centers, and work to undo the damage President Trump has done to our immigrant community and our national character,” the plan reads.

Under his “A Welcoming and Safe America for All” plan, Sanders indicated that he will reverse guidance from the Trump administrations Department of Justice and permit asylum claims from those fleeing domestic or gang violence.

Sanders would also overturn Trumps so-called “public charge” rule and ensure that immigrants are not discriminated against based on income or disability.

In his proposal, Sanders expands on his support for extending legal status to the 1.8 million young people who are currently eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while pledging to provide relief to their parents.

The plan also looks to make broad, immediate and overarching changes to the current immigration system by restructuring the Department of Homeland Security. Sanders would absorb ICE into the Justice Department and Customs and Border Protection into the Treasury Department.

According to Politico, Sanders plan bespeaks of a fundamental distrust in border enforcement and seeks to reshape the methodology employed by previous presidents.

“Putting everything in one basket under DHS has just not worked out, and it is what has allowed Trump and company to weaponize immigration in a racist way,” Sanders told reporters.

“Instead of treating everything immigration-related the same, we break up the parts where it makes sense to do that, so given ICEs federal law enforcement function, moving it to the Justice Department is incredibly important,” he added.

In addition to strengthening immigrant labor rights by prioritizing the interests of immigrants and workers in trade negotiations, Sanders also suggests creating a whistleblower visa that would allow immigrants to report illegal actions without fear of retribution.

The plan also requires all domestic and farm workers be paid a minimum of $15 an hour and be paid for overtime.

Other elements of the proposal include creating a welcome program for migrants displaced by climate change and downgrading illegal border crossings to a civil offense from a federal crime.

Julián Castro
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