COUNTDOWN TO CAUCUS: Democrats critical of Trump on immigration

COUNTDOWN TO CAUCUS: Democrats critical of Trump on immigration

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Churches Sanctuary

Jose Robles, center in white hat, walks with supporters before he presented himself to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on July 17 in Tukwila, Wash. The prospect of nationwide immigration raids has provided evidence that legions of pastors, rabbis and their congregations stand ready to help vulnerable immigrants with offers of sanctuary and other services.

The questions of whether immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should be afforded a pathway to citizenship, and whether families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border should be separated get plenty of discussion on the Democratic presidential primary campaign trail.

One key element largely missing to the discussion, even in Iowa, is how immigration reform would impact the state’s agricultural community, which employs many immigrants.

The Democratic presidential candidates have been critical of how Republican President Donald Trump’s administration has attempted to crack down on border crossings, including border enforcement officials separating immigrant children from their parents.

They also disparage the Trump administration’s ban on travel from several Muslim-majority nations.

There is widespread support among the Democratic presidential candidates for protecting and even codifying the program that protects from deportation immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

The program, known as DACA --- deferred action on childhood arrivals, was instituted under Democratic former president Barack Obama.

Early in the campaign there was disagreement among the Democratic candidates over whether illegally crossing the border should be treated as a civil infraction instead of a criminal offense. Beto O’Rourke, who has since dropped out of the race, during a primary debate advocated for making illegal border crossing a civil infraction. Elizabeth Warren, one of the polling leaders in the race, also supports decriminalizing illegal border crossings.

Some of the candidates also have proposed reforming or outright eliminating federal border enforcement agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

Most of the Democratic candidates also have been critical of the Trump administration’s moves to limit the number of refugees accepted by the U.S. And Trump issued an executive order that would allow states to refuse any refugees; that has been delayed by the courts.

The U.S. is on pace to resettle the lowest number of refugees in a single year since 1980, when the nation’s refugee resettlement program was created, according to the Pew Research Center.

What do the candidates say?

    Immediately end the separation of parents from their children and reunite families    End prolonged detention    Reinstate DACA and protect Dreamers    Implement effective border screening    Ease restrictions on those seeking asylum    End the "Muslim ban"    Create a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented people already in the U.S.    Reform the visa and temporary visa programs    Double the number of immigration judges, court staff and interpreters    Offer a $4 billion aid package to Central America to address the root causes of immigration

    Open a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people.    Create a new "National Office of New Americans" to support immigrants and refugees    Reform employment-based visa system "informed by labor market needs"    End family separation and reunite separated families    Welcome at least 125,000 refugees in first year of presidency and minimum of 95,000 refugees    Create an "independent immigration court system"    End “Muslim ban”

    End the separation of children from parents at the border and reunite families    Pass the DREAM Act and reinstate DACA, which includes protections for minor children brought to the U.S.    Provide a pathway to citizenship for the current 11 million undocumented immigrants    Reopen international U.S. citizenship and immigration services offices.    Pass comprehensive immigration reform

    Decriminalize immigration and demilitarize the southern border    End the separation of children from parents at the border and reunite families    Provide a path to citizenship within five years for 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.    Reinstate DACA and immediately offer citizenship to 1.8 million eligible Dreamers    Stop deportations until an audit of past practices and policies is completed    End the "Muslim ban"    End for-profit detention centers    Immediately stop construction of the wall    Break up ICE and Customs and Border Protections agencies

    Decriminalize migration    Separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement    Eliminate private detention facilities    Create independent Article I immigration courts    End “Muslim ban”    Welcome in at least 175,000 refugees annually by end of first term    Provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people    Create “Office of New Americans” for new immigrants    Restore and increase aid to Central America to at least $1.5 billion annually

Graham Ambrose is the Iowa politics reporter for the Quad-City Times. 

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