Part 2: Where Do the Democratic Candidates Stand on Immigration?

With two out of twelve rounds of Democratic debates done, it’s worth taking a step back and seeing what is being said off the stage about the immigration issue. 

Last week, we looked at our first round of Democratic candidates and where they stand on the issues. This week, we’re continuing with four more. We’ll take a brief look at where all the candidates stand, regardless of whether or not they were already approved for the September 12th and 13th debates. 

Cory Booker

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Cory Booker favors the protection of DREAMers, and recently sponsored a bill that would prevent the Department of Homeland Security from giving personal information about DREAMers to law enforcement officials. He also supports assisting immigrants beyond the southern border, including Syrian refugees.

While he does not support the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he does believe that Congress should “take a serious look” at its practices and efficacy. He objects to the detention of families at the border, and is vehemently against the removal of children from their families. According to PBS, he is one of 11 senators that requests weekly updates from the administration on the status of separated children.

In an article he wrote for Vox, “People in border communities know that none of our families made it to where we are on our own — not mine, not yours, and not President Trump’s. We all had a helping hand, support from strangers and friends. All of our ancestors experienced acts of grace, mercy, and forgiveness and countless small acts of kindness.”

Booker will be moving to the next round of the debates.

Notable Immigration Voting Records

Date: February 15, 2018

Bill Title: Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act

Vote: Nay

 

Date: February 15, 2018

Bill Title: Uniting and Securing America Act

Vote: Yea

 

Date: February 15, 2018

Bill Title: Immigration Security and Opportunity Act

Vote: Yea

 

Date: July 6, 2016

Bill Title: Stop Illegal Reentry Act

Vote: Nay

 

Date: October 20, 2015

Bill Title: Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act

Vote: Nay

Elizabeth Warren

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Elizabeth Warren has expressed concern over the detention of children at the border, stating “I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat. And I don’t think mommas and babies are the place that we should be spending our resources. Separating a momma from a baby does not make this country safer.” Instead, Warren hopes to see a larger focus on comprehensive immigration reform that invites immigrants into the country legally and safely.

Warren does not support the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing it as immoral and ineffective. She also does not support the deportation of DREAMers, and instead would like to present them with opportunities to join the United States military or seek out higher education.

In a quote to Huffington Post, “We believe that immigration made this country strong and that immigration will make this country strong in the future. We believe that equal means equal. No matter the color of your skin, no matter what language your family speaks. One of the ways we can save Social Security is to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Bring more workers and bring more people out of the shadow economy and into the fully paid economy where everything is above the table.”

Warren will be moving on to the next round of debates. 

Notable Immigration Voting Records

Date: February 15, 2018

Bill Title: Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act

Vote: Nay

 

Date: February 15, 2018

Bill Title: Uniting and Securing America Act

Vote: Yea

 

Date: February 15, 2018

Bill Title: Immigration Security and Opportunity Act

Vote: Yea

 

Date: July 6, 2016

Bill Title: Stop Illegal Reentry Act

Vote: Nay

 

Date: October 20, 2015

Bill Title: Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act

Vote: Nay

Joe Biden

Joe Biden has criticized the building of a border wall, but did support the Secure Fence Act that sought the construction of a 700-mile long fence. He has also expressed support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, stating that the removal of the DREAMers affected by the program is “cruel… inhumane… and not American.”

He does not support an overarching H1-B visa program, as he believes that it undermines American workers. Instead, he supports offering jobs to Americans first, and only inviting H1-B workers into the country if a position won’t or can’t be filled by a citizen. He also opposes granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

In a 2007 NPR Democratic radio debate, he said, “I have been working with this for a long time, as former chairman of the Judiciary Committee. That’s where it comes out of. We have it about right now, except that the employers aren’t doing their part. They’ve got to offer the job. If there’s an American there who will take the job, they can’t undercut it by hiring an Indian engineer who will work for less; that’s illegal. We’re not enforcing it.”

Biden will be moving on to the next round of debates. 

Notable Immigration Voting Record

Date: March 13, 2008

Bill Title: Immigration Enforcement and Border Fence Amendment

Vote: Nay

 

Date: October 24, 2007

Bill Title: DREAM Act

Vote: Yea

 

Date: June 7, 2007

Bill Title: Immigration Act of 2007

Vote: Yea

 

Date: June 6, 2007

Bill Title: Denying Legal Status for Immigrants Convicted of Certain Crimes

Vote: Nay

 

Date: August 2, 2006

Bill Title: Triple-Layered Fencing Amendment 

Vote: Yea

John Hickenlooper

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John Hickenlooper has called himself an “extreme moderate” regarding immigration. He has expressed opposition to family separation policies, going so far as to prohibit the use of Colorado state resources to fund the policy. He also denied to send National Guard troops to the border when Trump called for them in 2018.

Hickenlooper seeks stricter verification for Syrian refugees, but is open to providing asylum once they are proven to be safe to enter the country. In regards to DACA, he seeks to protect the DREAMers, citing the fact that they had no choice in coming to America, and that the United States is the only home they’ve ever known.

In a 2017 letter authored by 11 governors to Congressional leadership, he wrote, “We stand with these young American immigrants not only because it is good for our communities and a strong American 21st century economy, but also because it is the right thing for our nation to do. DACA recipients have subjected themselves to extensive background and security checks in order to work and attend college. They are studying at our universities. They are working to support themselves and their families, paying taxes and contributing to their communities in a myriad of ways. In the absence of congressional action providing for a permanent resolution, the termination of DACA puts these young people and their families in peril, and will destabilize our schools, workplaces and communities.

Hickenlooper has not met any of the four necessary requirements to move on to the next round of debates, but does have until August 28 to do so. 

Notable Immigration Executive Actions

Date: June 5, 2013

Bill Title: Authorizes Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Vote: Sign

Date: June 5, 2013

Bill Title: Authorizes In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants

Vote: Sign

With so many players on the field, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. Here, you can read more about the candidates and see more immigration news to keep you in the loop.

Next week, we’ll look at our last round of candidates: Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Kirstin Gillibrand, Peter Buttigieg, and Tim Ryan.