- Jun 2014
- Cleveland, Ohio
He’s making the argument that his ideas on labor and immigration are compatible.
"The most sweeping part of the plan: a proposal to use executive action to protect unauthorized immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years from deportation, which, according to the Pew Research Center’s estimate, would cover almost 9 million people — more than any other legalization plan in the field.
Sanders’s plan, like those of the rest of the Democratic field, relies on sweeping executive actions to scale back Trump’s immigration enforcement regime.
If Democrats win the White House and Republicans keep the Senate in 2020, the long congressional impasse on comprehensive immigration reform will probably continue. Congress has had some recent movement on bipartisan bills tackling smaller slices of the legal immigration system; one measure would amend per-country caps on green cards, but it has yet to pass the Senate.
That means any change to immigration policy will likely come from the president.
Sanders’s plan calls for reversing several unpopular Trump administration policies, including the travel ban that continues to block individuals from seven countries from entering the US. It would also reverse policies targeting asylum seekers, such as the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which migrants have been sent back to Mexico to await decisions on their immigration cases.
Like other candidates, Sanders proposes raising the number of refugees the US admits annually. Unlike other candidates, he does not specify a number.
And Sanders calls for ending immigration detention for all but a few immigrants with records of violent crimes or in other specific circumstances. (Under the Obama administration, however, it proved difficult to determine uniformly what constituted a serious crime that would merit detention.)
He would also restore programs that have historically offered legal protection to hundreds of thousands of immigrants that Trump has tried to terminate, including Temporary Protected Status, which the US has conferred on citizens of countries that have suffered from catastrophic events such as natural disasters or armed conflict, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has allowed almost 800,000 unauthorized immigrants who arrived as children to live and work in the US legally.
Candidates have mostly focused on immigrants’ civil rights and Trump’s agenda, rather than the economic role immigration can play.
But Sanders, whose campaign has centered on curbing income inequality and empowering workers, gives particular attention to immigrants’ labor rights.
Sanders claims that unauthorized immigrants are particularly vulnerable to abuses at the hands of employers because they might fear retaliation that could put them at risk for deportation. He consequently suggests redirecting funding from enforcing immigration laws against workers to holding their employers accountable for labor law violations. (The plan does not mention whether that will include preventing employers from hiring unauthorized workers in the first place.)
That message has taken on new urgency in light of Trump administration immigration raids targeting unauthorized workers over the past year. In one raid in August, 680 workers were arrested at two Mississippi poultry plants.
The US also needs a functioning legal immigration system, Sanders says.
Though application backlogs have piled up under Trump, driving up wait times for visas and green cards, some of the issues with the current system predate his administration. Sanders proposes to provide more funding to US Citizenship and Immigration Services and naturalization programs, as well as overhauling the visa system for workers and their families.
In some ways, Trump has made it easy for Democrats to display a unified front on immigration: They all think some kind of “comprehensive immigration reform” is necessary. Candidates’ first priority is to stop Trump’s immigration agenda, which has left roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants, living under the fear of deportation, 3.6 million of whom were brought to the United States as children.
Legalizing all unauthorized immigrants, not just those who entered the US at a young age, was once considered a “third rail” in Democratic politics; Republicans decried it as amnesty, and even moderate Democrats worried it would send the wrong message to people living unlawfully in the United States.
Now it’s uncontroversial: Public opinion shows that conservatives are losing the argument about a path to citizenship. Every candidate supports a path to citizenship for the people currently living in the United States without papers — not just those who came in as children.
In Congress, House Democrats have rallied around the Dream and Promise Act, a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as children and those with temporary humanitarian protections.
On the campaign trail, Sanders’s plan is joining a debate that has moved even further left. Castro, the only Latino candidate in the Democratic primary, was first to propose a radical reshaping of immigration enforcement by calling to repeal the provision that makes “illegal entry” into the US a federal crime. (Others, including Sanders, Warren, and Sen. Kamala Harris, followed suit.) The law has been on the books for decades but was rarely enforced until the George W. Bush administration, when criminal prosecution of unauthorized immigrants for illegal entry became increasingly common.
New dividing lines are emerging in the party, particularly on border security and deportation. No Democrat actually supports an “open borders” policy, no matter what Trump claims; Sanders himself has made that clear. But so far, the candidates mostly haven’t gotten into details about who should be deported and who should be allowed into the US.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have yet to release formal, comprehensive immigration plans, suggesting that some candidates are more willing to speak in generalities on the subject rather than specifics."
Please read this article. The proposal is complex, but it seems sound to me at first look.