- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2019

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday released a plan to overhaul U.S. immigration policies that would provide a path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants, reduce the number of immigrants held in federal custody and expand on policies in his home state to provide tuition assistance to illegal immigrants and stiff-arm federal immigration authorities.

The 2020 presidential Democratic candidate would also aim to achieve “historic” levels of refugee admissions to the U.S., and increase the ceiling for annual admissions to meet and eventually exceed the target of 110,000 refugees set near the end of the Obama administration.

Mr. Inslee would also take immediate steps to halt construction on Mr. Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, protect young illegal immigrant “Dreamers” from the threat of deportation and try to reunite children separated from their parents at the border.

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The governor’s presidential campaign also said that addressing the role climate change plays in migration decisions is an “essential part” of overhauling immigration policy. Mr. Inslee has made tackling climate change a core issue of his campaign.

The campaign said climate change is a “direct driver” of migration to the U.S. from countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Mr. Inslee wants to expand federal foreign assistance funding for those “Northern Triangle” countries.

“I’m proud to offer a vision for immigration reform that lives up to America’s promise by passing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, welcoming a historic number of refugees to our country, a robust strategy with dealing with the mounting crisis of climate change-driven migration, and expanding opportunity for immigrants, who make our communities and economy stronger and more vibrant,” Mr. Inslee said.

He said he wants to “substantially reduce” the population of people held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, a key priority for congressional Democrats.

Mr. Inslee would also repeal a federal program known as 287(g) that essentially deputizes local law enforcement personnel to enforce federal immigration law.

As governor, Mr. Inslee had reaffirmed a policy that state law enforcement shouldn’t arrest immigrants based solely on a violation of federal civil immigration law.

Mr. Inslee also wants to repeal laws that authorize states to deny in-state tuition to illegal immigrants and change federal law so that Dreamers can receive federal financial aid.

He signed legislation in 2014 that extended in-state tuition benefits to certain illegal immigrants.

Mr. Inslee also wants to expand immigrants’ labor rights through cooperation with unions and by strengthening laws to stop wage theft.

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