Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke revealed an extensive policy proposal on Wednesday that would overhaul the U.S immigration system.
“We just announced a plan that would implement the most sweeping rewrite of U.S. immigration law in a generation and overcome years of inaction to finally advance a new vision of immigration that fully reflects our country’s values,” O’Rourke announced.
The proposal consists of three key pillars:
On day one of his presidency, Beto will use executive authority to stop the inhumane treatment of children, reunite families that have been separated, reform our asylum system, rescind the travel bans, and remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like TPS.
Beto will also immediately engage with Congress to enact legislation — focused on the key role families and communities play — that will allow America to fully harness the power of economic growth and opportunity that both immigration and naturalization will bring to our country’s future.
Finally, Beto’s plan would strengthen our partnership with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. We need to refocus on supporting democracy and human rights and invest in reducing violence because the only path to regional security runs through a more democratic and prosperous Latin America.
“This innovative plan overcomes a generation of inaction to finally rewrite our immigration laws in our own image — reflecting our values, the reality of the border, the best interests of our communities, and the longstanding traditions of a country comprised of families from the world over,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “Coming from a city of immigrants, I’ve seen the incredible contributions of immigrants to our communities and local economies, and have been able to experience what happens when we allow everyone to contribute to their full potential.”
In addition to creating an “earned” pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S., it would create an “immediate” pathway for Dreamers and recipients of programs like Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Moreover, it would make naturalization easier for the 9 million illegals currently eligible for citizenship.
O’Rourke’s immigration plan calls for construction along the U.S.-Mexico border to be immediately suspended, as well as for any future budgets to withhold any wall funding. However, the number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents would increase and federal investments will update ports of entry.
“Under our administration, we will ensure that we advance a new vision of immigration that fully reflects our country’s values and empowers every individual to contribute to the shared greatness of our country,” he continued.
O’Rourke drew criticism in February when he revealed that he would remove the existing border barrier in his hometown of El Paso if he had the ability to do so.
“At least Beto is honest about his open border policy,” Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw responded. “Most Dems claim to support a secure border while simultaneously undermining it at every turn.”
In the past, O’Rourke contended that to improve safety and security, America must “ensure that we are maximizing the potential from everyone … [and] treating each other with respect and dignity.”
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