Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Thursday proposed a sweeping immigration plan that would stop deportations, dismantle agencies currently tasked with enforcing immigration laws and bring into the U.S. at least 50,000 so-called “climate migrants.”
“We will end the ICE raids that are terrorizing our communities,” Sanders said in a statement, according to Reuters, “and on my first day as president, I will use my executive power to protect our immigrant communities and reverse every single horrific action implemented by Trump.”
The plan comes as Sanders has drifted into third place in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, trailing former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.
The plan claims: “There is a humanitarian crisis at the border — one that Trump has manufactured.” To address it, Sanders would use executive orders to create vast changes, according to his plan.
On the first day of a Sanders presidency, the candidate says he would “Put a moratorium on deportations until a thorough audit of current and past practices and policies is complete.”
Sanders also vows to “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.”
Part of the immigration policy proposed by Sanders calls for increasing support for Central American nations on the grounds that “no parent would take their child and travel thousands of miles on foot except under dire, dangerous circumstances.”
Without providing details, the plan says Sanders would “Create a new program to welcome migrants displaced by climate change, and set a floor of accepting at least 50,000 climate migrants in his first year in office.”
The Sanders plan also would give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Sanders would “allow undocumented immigrants who have resided in the United States for five or more years to stay here free from threat of deportation” and give legal status to 1.8 million people currently eligible for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.
“Our undocumented friends and neighbors have always been part of the fabric of this nation. They are in our communities, in our schools, working in our stores, homes, and fields, and striving to make a better life for themselves and their families,” the plan says, claiming that most Americans want illegal immigrants to become citizens.
“Bernie believes that it is not a radical idea to enact the will of the people when in office. He will push Congress, immediately, to provide a legislative path to citizenship to bring 11 million people out of the shadows to make our communities safer, our economy stronger, and live up to the ideals of our nation,” the plan adds.
Sanders says he would overhaul the policies that punish illegal immigration.
“President Trump and others before him have used a racist, outdated United States law that criminalizes border crossings to separate families and incarcerate immigrants fleeing violence and poverty,” the plan reads. “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.”
Included in his proposals is $14 billion to fund legal services for immigrants.
The plan was lambasted by many commentators on social media:
I blame the RINOs who didn’t do something and build a wall in the first 2 years when we had control. Now look what will happen if/when a radical socialist Democrat wins in the future. The flood gates are opening and our country is GONE. https://t.co/wyEEiRFDrF
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) November 8, 2019
Sanders’ immigration plan: Halt deportations, abolish ICE, welcome 50K ‘climate migrants,’ give welfare to all: Why doesn’t sanders just blow up the whole world? Quick and painless way to acheive the same end. https://t.co/wqNApDfsfu pic.twitter.com/0vWHTHyqek
— Pamela Geller (@PamelaGeller) November 7, 2019
Bernie Sanders’ immigration plan:
– Free healthcare for illegal aliens
– Welfare & free college for illegals
– Citizenship for 11M illegals
– Stop deportation
– Decriminalize border crossings
– End detention for illegals
– Climate migrants welcome
It’s open borders on steroids.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) November 8, 2019
Although Sanders expressed sympathy for illegal immigrants, the plan has none for those currently enforcing immigration laws.
“President Trump has turned Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into a renegade detention and deportation force. Immigration is not a threat to national security,” the plan reads.
“It is long past time we break up the Department of Homeland Security and refocus its mission on keeping our country safe and responding effectively to emergencies.”
The plan says Sanders will “Break up ICE and CBP and redistribute their functions to their proper authorities” as well as “stop immigration enforcement officials from profiling on the basis of national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity, in addition to race and ethnicity.”
Sanders also makes a gesture to the LGBT segment of the Democratic Party in his plan.
The plan would “Eliminate discrimination facing LGBTQ+ families throughout immigration laws, including making sure that all children born to U.S. citizen parents have acquired citizenship, regardless of a biological relationship.”