- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Thursday released a proposal to overhaul U.S. immigration laws that includes major changes to the immigration court system, a de-emphasis on immigrant detention and other Democratic priorities like protections for young illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”

Ms. Warren also vowed to set up a new task force to investigate and potentially prosecute alleged abuse of illegal immigrants now and in the future, saying President Trump has advanced “a policy of cruelty and division that demonizes immigrants.”

Ms. Warren said she would reverse Trump administration policies on asylum seekers, expand legal immigration into the U.S. while also putting “American workers first,” reinstate protections for young illegal immigrant “Dreamers” and work on a path toward citizenship for the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

“We cannot continue to ignore our immigration challenges, nor can we close our borders and isolate the United States from the outside world,” she said in a Medium post.

She said she would increase the annual cap for refugees admitted into the U.S. from the 30,000 level for fiscal 2019 to 125,000 in her first year, eventually reaching at least 175,000 by the end of her first term.

Ms. Warren said she would work to pass legislation that would set up a new independent immigration court system outside of the Justice Department. She also wants to set up a nationwide immigration “public defender corps” and ensure people access to counsel in immigration court.

She said she would decriminalize illegal border crossings, as other 2020 contenders like Julián Castro have suggested.

She would also issue guidance to limit detention to people who pose a flight or safety risk and enforce “strict standards” for detention facilities that do remain, like for medical care, while reiterating her plan to eliminate privately-run detention facilities.

She would also designate a Justice Department task force to investigate accusations of mistreatment of illegal immigrants and empower it with independent authority to pursue potential crimes.

“Let there be no ambiguity on this: if you are violating the basic rights of immigrants, now or in the future, a Warren administration will hold you accountable,” she said.

Ms. Warren also said she would establish an “Office of New Americans” to try to support and help integrate immigrants into U.S. society.

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