Sen. Elizabeth Warren is unveiling an extensive plan for immigration reform on Thursday, Refinery29 has learned.
The proposal tackles everything from decriminalizing unauthorized migration and banning for-profit detention centers to offering undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship and reversing the Trump administration's hardline immigration policies, such as the so-called "Muslim travel ban."
"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 in a Medium post announcing the plan. "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."
The Massachusetts senator is running a policy-heavy campaign, which includes proposals on issues ranging from access to affordable child care and the epidemic of Black maternal mortality to reparations for slavery, fixing the student debt crisis, and boosting the economy for women of color. But her immigration reform plan might be her most ambitious one yet.
According to Warren's campaign, the proposal has six main parts: eliminating the weaponization of immigration enforcement, significantly reducing the number of immigrants in detention, reforming the process in immigration courts, extending protections to refugees and asylum seekers, expanding legal immigration and a pathway to citizenship, and addressing the crises that lead migrants to leave their home countries.
"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."
Some of the major reforms in the proposal include decriminalizing unauthorized immigration, allowing for it to be only a civil violation; reshaping the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies; creating a task force focused on the violations of immigrants' rights under the Trump administration; detaining only immigrants who pose a security or flight risk; creating health and safety standards for detention centers; guaranteeing immigration hearings and ending the practice of expedited removal proceedings; raising the refugee cap; and expanding protections for asylum seekers.
Warren would also take extensive steps to reform the legal immigration system. Her solutions include eliminating barriers such as cost and administrative issues that make it difficult for immigrants who are eligible for citizenship to naturalize; reducing the family reunification backlog; repealing the ban requiring unauthorized immigrants to leave the U.S. for three or 10 years before they can apply for legal status; and reinstating the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, including extending protection for 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."
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