WASHINGTON – Under the slogan “A Welcoming and Safe America for All,” Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders presented on Thursday his immigration plan to transform the US system and reverse all of President Donald Trump’s initiatives on this front.
Sanders would create a “swift, fair pathway to citizenship,” decriminalize immigration, demilitarize the country’s southern border with Mexico and strive to protect and strengthen the labor rights of immigrants in the country.
“To Bernie, immigration is personal. Bernie’s father came to the United States at age 17 with no money and knowing almost no English,” a statement on his campaign site said.
“He didn’t have much of an education and no real skills. But he built a life for himself and his family through determination and hard work.
“Millions of immigrant families in the United States today are doing the exact same thing.”
Sanders would use the executive authority that comes with the office of president to reverse Trump’s actions on immigration that have caused “harm.”
He would ensure that asylum seekers can file their requests in the United States, put an end to family detention and separation, get rid of a ban on travelers coming from Muslim countries and stop the construction of the border wall with Mexico, according to a statement.
“Bernie will overturn all of President Trump’s actions to demonize and harm immigrants on the first day of his presidency,” the statement said.
In the White House, Sanders would restore and expand on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy of former President Barack Obama (2009-2017) in order to offer protection to thousands of undocumented youths who arrived as children, now known as “dreamers.”
Sanders pledged to: “Expand to all those who came to the United States under the age of 18 and remove arbitrary cut off dates.”
One of the first points on his immigration plan is putting a moratorium on deportations that are in progress and ending workplace raids.
He would also restructure the Department of Homeland Security and begin treating immigration outside of national security.
The ultimate goal of the senator for Virginia is to propose a legal path to US citizenship for those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
TPS designations would be extended, broad administrative relief would be granted and Sanders would push for a path to citizenship that includes TPS holders.
About 325,000 immigrants from 13 different countries are protected under the TPS in the US, with 195,000 Salvadorans, some 60,000 Hondurans and 46,000 Haitians among others.
His strategy would facilitate access to TPS protection for Venezuelans who fled their country due to the humanitarian crisis there.
Sanders and a score of Democratic senators sent a letter to Trump in June asking him to grant TPS to Venezuelans.