ON THURSDAY MORNING, Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped his long-anticipated immigration platform. Arguably the most ambitious of any Democratic presidential candidate’s so far, the plan goes beyond a general call for a path to legal status for immigrants and takes full aim at President Donald Trump’s racist policies at the southern border. Unlike any other candidate, Sanders calls for the break up of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and to improve working conditions and labor protections for industries that rely on an immigrant workforce.
One piece of this is the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which would “provide domestic workers with at least a $15 minimum wage, strong protections for collective bargaining, workers’ rights, workplace safety, and fair scheduling,” regardless of immigration status.
“For too long, employers have exploited undocumented immigrants and guest workers to violate labor laws, skirt the minimum wage, and maximize their own profits,” the plan reads. “Large corporations target vulnerable communities as a source of labor and use their immigration status to retaliate when workers stand up for their rights.”
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The release of Sanders’s plan comes after months of scrutiny from leftists and liberals over his immigration policy — long considered to be one of his primary weaknesses. His plan follows the common left positions on immigration, including reinstating and expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program; ending for-profit detention; and overturning the Muslim ban.
Notably, he also goes further than even his fellow progressive hopeful, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in calling for full demilitarization of the border. To break up ICE and CBP, under Sanders’s platform, their functions would be redistributed to other federal agencies. Under a Sanders administration, “deportation, enforcement, border and investigatory authority would return to the Department of Justice,” naturalization and citizenship authority would go to the State Department, and customs authority would return to the Treasury.
Notably, Sanders also goes further than even his fellow progressive hopeful, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in calling for full demilitarization of the border.
Warren, on the other hand, pledged in her immigration plan to “remake CBP and ICE in a way that reflects our values.” Her plan, titled “A Fair and Welcoming Immigration System,” which came out in July, calls for the decriminalization of border crossings, expanding DACA, and raising the cap on the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. She also put forth some signature ideas such as establishing an “Office of New Americans” to “draft a national strategy for integration” for new immigrants, which would include providing English, civics, and employment-focused classes.