Warren Blasts Trump’s ‘Racist Policies,’ Pushes Plan to Open Immigration Floodgates
Elizabeth Warren, one of more than 20 hopefuls for the 2020 Democratic nomination, released an extensive plan late Thursday to rework the country’s immigration system, taking shots at President Donald Trump’s handling of migrants at the southern border and calling his policies “racist.”
President Trump has taken our immigration system to its most punitive extreme, but his racist policies build on a broken system and an enforcement infrastructure already primed for abuse. Today, I'm announcing my plan to reform our immigration system. https://t.co/LPDEESENgY
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 11, 2019
The proposal calls for decriminalizing illegal immigration and banning for-profit detention centers, offering undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship and reversing the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban and family separation policy.
“We cannot continue to ignore our immigration challenges, nor can we close our borders and isolate the United States from the outside world,” Warren wrote. “Instead we need big, structural change: a fair immigration system that preserves our security, grows our economy, and reflects our values. That’s good for immigrants, good for workers, and ultimately good for the United States.”
Whether they are good ideas or not, Warren is way ahead of the pack when it comes to policy plans. The Massachusetts Senator has released proposals for everything from universal childcare to a plan to fix the student debt crisis, reparations for slavery, addressing maternal mortality rates for black women (which is reportedly four times that of white women) and boosting the economy for women of color.
But her latest plan is her most ambitious one to date, completely reworking the U.S. immigration system.
The proposal has six main components:
- Eliminate the weaponization of immigration enforcement
- Significantly reduce the number of migrants held in detention
- Reform and streamline the process in immigration courts
- Extend protections for refugees and asylum seekers
- Expand legal immigration and allow a pathway to citizenship
- Address the crises in the migrants’ home countries causing people to leave in the first place
“We need real reform that provides cost-effective security at our borders, addresses the root causes of migration, and provides a path to status and citizenship so that our neighbors don’t have to live in fear,” Warren wrote. “That’s why today I’m announcing my plan for immigration reform — to create a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values.”
Decriminalizing unauthorized immigration would allow for it to be a civil violation instead of a misdemeanor, erasing the current penalties of six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years for subsequent offenses. Warren’s proposal also would reshape the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies while creating a task force that focuses on the alleged violations of immigrants’ rights under the Trump administration.
It also would only detain immigrants who pose a security or flight risk, create health and safety standards for detention centers, guarantee immigration hearings and end the practice of expedited removal proceedings, raise the refugee cap and expand protections for asylum seekers.
Warren also would work to reform the legal immigration system by eliminating barriers like cost and administrative issues that make it more difficult for immigrants who are eligible for citizenship to naturalize, reduce the family reunification backlog, repeal a ban requiring unauthorized immigrants to leave the U.S. for three to 10 years before they can apply for legal status and reinstate the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) known as Dreamers and their families.
“Immigrants have always been a vital source of American strength. They grow our economy and make our communities richer and more diverse,” Warren wrote. “They are our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends — and every bit as much a part of America as those who were born in the United States.”