The immigration system is broken. Immigration law is as convoluted as tax law. I support policies that reconcile the legitimate interest of Americans in secure borders with a core commitment to the human dignity of migrants. Our policies must address both the crisis at our borders and the root causes of migration, some of which involve our use of military, political, and economic power abroad. I will support equitable trade agreements that will help to make immigration a choice rather than a necessity.
A Humane Immigration System
The federal government has the responsibility to implement secure and orderly borders. We must make our border areas safer for those who patrol them, live near them, or desire to cross them by aggressively targeting the trafficking of humans and narcotics.
We must strongly encourage migrants to enter the U.S. at legal points of entry for their own health and safety. Too many migrants die from heat, cold, or falling from tall walls. Keeping immigrants in Mexico in squalid conditions ripe for exploitation is a cop-out. Their goal is to come to the U.S., so let us accept that fact and create dignified facilities adequate to house people and families in distress. The Biden administration has been too slow in establishing administrative immigration courts; we need to process people quickly and require them to show up at specific places on specific dates for court appearances. Doing so greatly improves their cooperation, and it is baffling that we do not do this already.
We must close private for-profit immigration detention centers, We have already proven that for-profit jails for criminals lead to bad outcomes, and migrants are our guests while their status is being determined. I also support the expansion of monitoring programs that minimize the need for detention while asylum or immigration claims are processed.
Immigrants strengthen our county because of their hard work and talents. We do not accept enough legal immigrants, and this is one of the drivers of illegal immigration. We need bridge-building efforts between communities and new immigrants, including offering lessons in civics and English. Existing immigrant communities should be enlisted to help their former compatriots get on a solid footing.
I favor a generous policy of asylum for refugees from religious, political, racial, and other forms of persecution, including a call for the United States to fulfill its obligations under international law in regard to the treatment of refugees and those fleeing inhumane conditions. There is a right to emigrate, though we are not required to accept everyone. I support a path to citizenship for “Dreamers” brought to the United States as children and reasonable accommodations for unauthorized immigrants without a criminal record who seek permanent residency.
Undocumented immigrant workers are vulnerable, allowing employers to operate businesses with low wages and poor conditions that we should not tolerate. To improve working life and job availability for all, I support the enforcement of fair labor practices and solidarity among workers of all backgrounds. Our immigration enforcement efforts should prioritize the illegal hiring practices of employers rather than the mass deportation of working unauthorized immigrants.
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