Sen. Bernie Sanders, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, on Thursday released an immigration reform plan that would expand a controversial Obama-era program and reverse many of President Trump’s immigration enforcement actions.
The Vermont independent has blamed Trump’s policies for contributing to a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, adding that he would end the practice of separating families who come into the U.S. illegally.
In addition, Sanders vowed to expand DACA — Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals — that was implemented by President Obama and which President Trump has attempted, unsuccessfully, to undo via legislation and federal courts.
The plan is titled “A Welcoming and Safe America For All.”
“Bernie will overturn all of President Trump’s actions to demonize and harm immigrants on the first day of his presidency,” it states.
“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.”
It adds that “decades of disastrous foreign policy decisions” in Latin America have driven the border crisis, and says Sanders will meet with Latin American leaders to find new solutions.
The plan would halt deportations pending a thorough audit of immigration practices, stop efforts to build Trump’s border wall, eliminate the president’s policy that orders migrants held in a “safe third country,” and end the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented migrants.
As for DACA, “He will expand and fully implement these programs to provide security and stability to these families, using his full executive authority to provide relief for parents and caregivers of citizens and lawful permanent residents,” the plan states.
“He will go further, ensuring that the 85 percent of those undocumented immigrants who have lived, worked, and contributed in America for five or more years can live their life without fear of deportation,” the plan notes further.
The family separation policy was used often by the Obama and Bush administrations as well, though under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, separations went up.
That said, Trump ended the policy with an executive order in June 2018. Shortly afterward, a federal court “barred the separation of migrant children and ordered that those currently detained under the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy be reunited with families within 30 days,” NPR reported.