U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced a sweeping proposal for immigration reform Thursday as part of her presidential bid, calling for a reversal of President Trump’s “policy of cruelty and division that demonizes immigrants” days before his administration reportedly plans to go ahead with enforcement operations.
Warren’s latest policy roll-out calls for ending criminal prosecutions of “simple administrative immigration violations” like entering the country illegally; a “top to bottom” reorganization of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol; eliminating private detention facilities like the one in Homestead, Florida, which she visited last month; and ending “unnecessary” detentions, according to her Medium post.
“President Trump has weaponized deportation in ways that are costly, ineffective, and designed to maximize pain,” Warren’s plan states. “It’s time to end this cruelty — and refocus on true threats to public safety and national security instead.”
Warren said she would “reverse Trump’s bigoted Muslim Ban,” and raise the refugee cap. While the Trump administration capped this year’s total at 30,000, Warren said she would allow 125,000 refugees her first year in office and eventually up that total to 175,000.
She would also expand targeted immigration, support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and bolster protections for those seeking asylum from violence, or due to gender identity or sexual orientation.
Decriminalizing illegal border crossings is a key proponent of one of Warren’s Democratic rivals, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro — who used it to challenge fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke on immigration policy in last month’s debates.
Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes illegal immigration, told the Herald that Warren’s $1.5 billion plan is “extreme.”
“It’s just unworkable to talk about shutting down cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and ICE, and to expand our legal immigration system so dramatically, with proposal after proposal out of the playbook of the most extreme advocacy groups,” Vaughan said. “It will be enormously costly and a public safety disaster.”
The Trump administration is said to be conducting enforcement sweeps starting this weekend — which were postponed from last month — targeting those with final deportation orders in several major cities.
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