Chicago Law Office of Christine Contreras

Presidential Candidate Immigration Proposal Update

Since we last discussed the 2020 presidential election, quite a few of the Democratic candidates (12 of 24) have dropped out of the race. This is probably a good thing, as it enables the electorate to focus on the candidates that actually have a chance to be elected. Here is an overview of the candidates who are most likely to be elected and their immigration policies:

Bernie Sanders

To the surprise of many, Senator Sanders has been picking up steam, even coming in first in one of the recent Iowa polls.

In November, Bernie released a detailed immigration plan under the title “A Welcoming and Safe America for All” and he stands ahead of the competition when it comes to progressive immigration reform. 

If he were to be elected, Bernie has promised to immediately:

  • “Put a moratorium on deportations until a thorough audit of current and past practices and policies is complete.
  • Stop all construction of the racist and ineffective wall on the U.S.-Mexico Border and instead rely on cost-effective and innovative methods to counter the real threats of drug importation and human trafficking, not manufactured ones targeting the most vulnerable.
  • Overturn President Trump’s racist and disgusting Muslim ban.
  • Work with Congress to codify limitations on the President’s ability to restrict or suspend the entry of people or classes of people into the United States by passing the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act.
  • Instruct DOJ to drop any litigation or funding restrictions relating to sanctuary cities.
  • End President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico,” metering, and “Safe Third Country” policies and allow asylum seekers to make their claims in the United States, to qualified asylum officials, pursuant to international law.
  • Reverse President Trump’s attempts to end Temporary Protected Status agreements and extend TPS designations until a permanent solution is reached.
  • End President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy and Operation Streamline, returning to the long-time standard of handling border crossings through civil proceedings.
  • End for-profit detention and connect detainees with sponsors and supports.
  • Reverse DOJ guidance to deny asylum claims on the basis of fleeing domestic or gang violence, including those targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Rescind any proposed rules that deny public housing to families with an undocumented member.
  • Finish what the courts started and rescind President Trump’s so-called “public charge” rule to ensure our system does not discriminate on the basis of income or disability and that immigrants do not have to fear endangering their immigration status in order to access basic supports and services.
  • Ensure all children who were separated from their families by the United States government are reunited swiftly.
  • Convene a hemispheric summit with the leaders of Latin American countries who are experiencing migration crises and develop actionable steps to stabilize the region.”

Longer term goals include:

  • “Expand on DACA and DAPA.
  • Provide a A Swift, Fair Pathway to Citizenship.
  • Decriminalize Immigration and Demilitarize Our Border.
  • Protect and Strengthen Immigrant Labor Rights.
  • Promote Fair Trade Deals and Humane Foreign Policy.
  • Support and Strengthen Immigrants in America.”

Elizabeth Warren

Senator Warren aims for many of the same policies as Senator Sanders. As stated, her main goals are to:

Eliminate Abusive Enforcement

  • Decriminalize migration and refocus enforcement on serious criminal activity.
  • Separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement to strengthen our communities.
  • Remake CBP and ICE in a way that reflects our values.
  • Create accountability for the abuse perpetrated during the Trump Era.

Significantly Reduce Immigration Detention

  • End unnecessary detention.
  • Eliminate private detention facilities.
  • Expand the executive use of parole and invest in alternatives-to-detention.

Provide Rights and Due Process in our Immigration Courts

  • Establish professional, independent Article I immigration courts.
  • Eliminate expedited removal and provide due process.

Welcome Those In Need

  • Reject exclusionary policies based on race, religion and nationality.
  • Raise the refugee cap.
  • Affirm asylum protections.

Grow Legal Immigration and Establish a Fair and Achievable Path to Status

  • Expand legal immigration.
  • Make it easier for those eligible for citizenship to naturalize.
  • Reduce the family reunification backlog.
  • Repeal the 3- and 10-year bars for unlawful immigrants.
  • Provide a fair and achievable pathway to citizenship.
  • Limit the penalties considered for status determinations.
  • Create an Office of New Americans.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been leading the Democratic polls for the majority of the race to date, has a slightly more conservative immigration policy than his counterparts. His main goals are to effectively return to the pre-Trump immigration policy, without necessarily making any of the more radical changes Senators Sanders and Warren are talking about implementing.

Biden has claimed he will

  • “Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border.
  • End Trump’s detrimental asylum policies.
  • End the mismanagement of the asylum system, which fuels violence and chaos at the border.
  • Surge humanitarian resources to the border and foster public-private initiatives.
  • End prolonged detention and reinvest in a case management program.
  • Reverse Trump’s public charge rule.
  • End the so-called National Emergency that siphons federal dollars from the Department of Defense to build a wall.
  • Protect Dreamers and their families.
  • Rescind the un-American travel and refugee bans, also referred to as “Muslim bans.”
  • Order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster. 
  • Restore sensible enforcement priorities.
  • Ensure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel abide by professional standards and are held accountable for inhumane treatment.
  • Protect and expand opportunities for people who risked their lives in military service.
  • Restore and defend the naturalization process for green card holders.
  • Revitalize the Task Force on New Americans and boost our economy by prioritizing integration, promoting immigrant entrepreneurship, increasing access to language instruction, and promoting civil engagement.

Longer term goals include: 

  • Create a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million people who have been living in and strengthening our country for years.
  • Reform the visa program for temporary workers in select industries.
  • Reform the temporary visa system. 
  • Provide a path to legalization for agricultural workers who have worked for years on U.S. farms and continue to work in agriculture.
  • Reject the false choice between employment-based and family-based immigration. 
  • Preserve preferences for diversity in the current system.
  • Increase the number of visas offered for permanent, work-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions.
  • Create a new visa category to allow cities and counties to petition for higher levels of immigrants to support their growth.
  • Enforce the rules to protect American and foreign workers alike.
  • Expand protections for undocumented immigrants who report labor violations.
  • Increase visas for domestic violence survivors.

Have a question about the difference between these candidates’ proposed policies and how they may affect you? Reach out to us and we will try to help!