Sen. Bernard Sanders on Thursday unveiled a proposal to overhaul U.S. immigration law that would put a moratorium on deportations and “break up” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Mr. Sanders, Vermont independent, would put a moratorium on deportations until a “thorough audit” of practices and policies is complete.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate would also “break up” ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with his campaign saying that President Trump has turned the agencies into “a renegade detention and deportation force.”
Under the plan, the Justice Department would assume responsibility for deportation and enforcement issues, the Treasury Department would take over customs authority, and the State Department would handle naturalization and citizenship proceedings.
ICE and CBP are currently housed within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Defunding or cutting money for immigration enforcement efforts has been a major priority for the left.
Mr. Sanders would also expand labor rights for immigrants and provide an opportunity for “deferred action” to illegal immigrants who report labor violations.
The senator would decriminalize illegal border crossings to put them on par with other violations of immigration law, like overstaying a visa — an issue that has divided the 2020 Democratic presidential field.
Mr. Sanders would also halt all construction of Mr. Trump’s desired U.S.-Mexico border wall, direct the Justice Department to drop any litigation or funding restrictions tied to “sanctuary cities,” and roll back new restrictions on asylum from the Trump administration.
He would also ensure children separated from their families by the government are “reunited swiftly.”
He would extend legal status to 1.8 million people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and provide “administrative relief” to their parents as well.
Mr. Sanders would also push Congress to pass legislation to provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and use “executive authority” to allow illegal immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years to remain in the U.S. “free from threat of deportation.”