Warren Immigration Plan: Decriminalize Illegal Immigration, End Detention of Border Crossers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., arrives at Chicago's Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University for a Chicago Town Hall event , Friday, June 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)
AP Photo/Amr Alfiky

Presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) released one of the most radical immigration plans of any 2020 candidate to date Thursday.

It involves decriminalizing illegal immigration, increasing legal immigration, and ending all detention of illegal aliens, minus those deemed to be “a flight or safety risk.”

Warren’s team detailed the far-left plan in a Medium post, using false narratives on the Trump administration’s immigration policies as a backdrop for what essentially amounts to an “open borders” immigration proposal.

Here’s what she plans to do:

Decriminalize illegal border crossings:

Warren took aim at Section 1325 of the immigration code, which makes it a criminal offense for people to cross the border illegally. She believes it is “totally unnecessary for border security,” essentially dismissing the criminals – including drug-traffickers and human-traffickers – who take advantage of the porous border.

As Breitbart News reported:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data provided to the House Oversight and Reform Committee this week reveal that two recent caravans of about 11,300 nationals that flooded the United States-Mexico border in October 2018 and January 2019 included about 1,520 previously deported illegal aliens who had been convicted of crimes in the U.S.

Of those 1,520 previously deported illegal aliens with U.S. criminal convictions:

Those convictions included murder, sex crimes, violence against law enforcement, assault, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Despite that, Warren pledged to “immediately issue guidance to end criminal prosecutions for simple administrative immigration violations; end Operation Streamline, which subjects migrants to mass prosecutions; and refocus our limited resources on actual criminals and real threats to the United States.”

“I will also issue prosecutorial guidance to prioritize immigration cases with security concerns, and make sure government attorneys are properly exercising their discretion for individuals who pose no public safety risk,” she added.

However, she did not release criteria on what constitutes a legitimate “public safety risk.”

Divide the relationship between law enforcement and immigration enforcement agencies:

Warren wants to divide the working relationship between law enforcement and immigration enforcement agencies, arguing that law enforcement should not handle immigration violations because it makes people “less willing to report crimes for fear of revealing their immigration status.”

“Combining these functions sows distrust and harms public safety,” she wrote.

She promised to put “strict guidelines” in place to establish additional safe spaces:

I’ll expand programs that grant protections to immigrant victims of serious crimes who come forward and assist law enforcement. And I’ll end programs like 287(g) and ‘Secure Communities’ that force local cops to enforce federal immigration laws so they can focus on effectively serving their communities.

Remake U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

Warren accused the existing agencies of  implementing “anti-immigrant policies that target communities of color” and promised to reshape them “top to bottom, focusing their efforts on homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking.”

Significantly reduce immigration detention for illegal alien border crossers:

Warren essentially wants to end immigration detention, citing the Obama-era images of “kids in cages” and family separation, which President Trump effectively ended after signing an executive order in June. She wants to eradicate ICE’s contracts with private detention centers and promised to use detention centers only when she deems it “actually necessary.” She only cited two reasons:  If the individual “poses a flight or safety risk. ”

She also floated “alternatives” to detention like check-ins and surveillance. However, alternatives – like ankle monitors – have been found to be largely ineffective.

Drastically increase the refugee cap:

The Massachusetts senator’s plan involves increasing the refugee cap eight times greater than current levels, with an ultimate goal of 175,000 refugees per year by the end of her first term.

Eliminate expedited removal: 

Warren’s plan calls for the total elimination of “expedited removal proceedings.”

“I’ll eliminate the use of expedited removal proceedings and guarantee hearings,” Warren wrote. “I’ll call for creating a national-scale immigration public defender corps, and a Warren administration will provide access to counsel in immigration court.

Provide additional protections for “special” groups:

Warren promised to provide special protections for “LGBTQ+ individuals who are, she claims, “more vulnerable in a general detention facility”:

 I will put additional layers of protection in place for certain groups, including asylum seekers, families and pregnant women, and LGBTQ+ people who are more vulnerable in a general detention facility. And I’ll enforce strict standards for remaining detention facilities, including for medical care and to end the use of solitary confinement.

Massively increase legal immigration levels: 

Not only does Warren’s plan promise to decriminalize the actions of illegal immigrants, it also promises to increase legal immigration levels – something critics say does not match her supposed devotion to blue collar workers. She issued a preemptive explanation, writing, “We should put American workers first by ensuring that workers already here get the first opportunity to fill any available positions.”

However, drastic population booms sorely affect the working class, driving up housing costs – something that hurts blue-collar families struggling to keep their heads above water.

The overarching theme of Warren’s plan is “open borders.” It essentially makes every state a “sanctuary” by greatly decriminalizing illegal immigration and stripping agencies of enforcement powers. How this benefits the American workers Warren claims to champion remains unseen.


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