Democrats’ top two presidential candidates declared Sunday that they will halt key aspects of immigration enforcement as soon as they take the White House, and promised to work to legalize most of those here illegally.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden affirmed his plan for a 100-day halt to all deportations.
“No one, no one will be deported at all,” he said at a debate with Sen. Bernard Sanders.
After the 100-day period he said he would only deport those with felonies on their record, effectively carving almost all illegal immigrants out of danger of deportation.
Mr. Biden also refuted the Obama administration’s policy of cracking down on sanctuary cities, saying flatly that he would not ask local authorities to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Mr. Sanders, meanwhile, said he would stop “raids” by ICE — apparently referring to the at-large arrests the agency says it has to make particularly in sanctuary communities, where local prisons and jails refuse help in arresting criminals.
Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders insisted their plans don’t mean “open borders.”
“That is a total lie,” Mr. Sanders said.
The two candidates called for surging immigration judges to the border, saying illegal immigrants should be met with a legal process and released, not detained.