Immigration – I lift my lamp

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  Emma Lazzarus


The fabric of this nation is weaved by the dreams, labor and courage of immigrants and refugees. The present administration has fractured the American vision by labeling migrants as criminals, blocking refugees and embracing the mantle of nationalism through policies and actions.

The Wall

Democrats oppose President Trump’s plans for a new “big, beautiful” border wall. He is presently on track to build more than 450 miles of border wall.

Warren, Biden, Sanders, Harris  and Bloomberg will not support any more wall construction along the southern border.

Border Security

 Warren, Biden, Sanders  and Bloomberg are receptive to requests for increased funding for border security efforts that do not include new barriers. A bipartisan deal reached in February allowed the Trump administration to hire as many as 1,200 more Border Patrol officers, while allocating $112 million for aircraft and sensor systems and $100 million for other technology between border crossings. An additional $564 million was approved for increasing scanning capabilities at ports of entry, where law enforcement officials say the majority of drug smuggling occurs.

Decriminalization of Illegal Border Crossings

Several candidates support the elimination of criminal penalties, specifically Section 1325 of Title 8 of the U.S. code,  for entering the country illegally. Trump used the statute to justify separating families in the spring of 2018, and still does today.  Under the policy adults were charged and detained for prosecution. They were separated from their children, who were then labeled “unaccompanied”.

Sanders, Warren, and Harris have pushed for a repeal of the criminal statute for entering the country. Biden and Bloomberg,  oppose eliminating criminal border crossing penalties.

Deportation Policy

In 2014, President Obama imposed new guidelines that prioritized the deportation of recent border crossers, convicted criminals and those posing national security threats.

 Warren, Biden, Sanders and Bloomberg deportation policy will focus only on criminals and national security threats.  Harris did notagree with all of it.

ICE statistics show that the agency removed 267,258 people from the country in fiscal 2019, up from 240,255 people in fiscal 2016. In response, immigration activists and some candidates have said they want deportations suspended for a time.

Temporary Moratorium on Deportations

Warren and Biden support a 100 day moratorium on deportations. Sanders supports a moratorium until a thorough audit of past practices and policies is complete, with the exception of violent criminals. Bloomberg  will not freeze deportations, but will replace Trumps indiscriminate deportations with sound policy. Harris and  Jayapal introduced a  Bicameral Bill to Place Moratorium on Immigration Detention Facilities

 DACA and Path to Citizenship for Undocumented People

In 2017 President Trump moved to phase out the Obama Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  This offered deportation relief and work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Trumps decision, presently blocked by federal courts, left the status of 700,000 “Dreamers” in limbo.

A path to citizenship for those currently living in the country without documentation has been a baseline for most Democratic leaders since 2013, when a Senate bill that would have legalized millions died in the Republican-controlled House. Trump’s efforts to end protections for others now living legally in the country has more recently extended the debate.  In addition , under the Temporary Protected Status program, the United States provides residency to 417,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries that have been marked by civil unrest: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

 Warren, Biden, Harris, Sanders and Bloomberg support a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million immigrants now living in the country without permission, including Dreamers,  and others in the U.S. under protected status programs.

Mandatory E-Verify – The Other Border Wall

The federal government and federal contractors are required to use E-Verify. This program checks employee documents that show legal authorization against federal databases to prove their authenticity.  Many Democrats believe that mandatory E-Verify for private employers would constitute a psychological barrier to large-scale illegal immigration. Knowing that there is a high degree of probability that a bogus or stolen Social Security number will be flagged when an employer runs it through the E-Verify system would serve as a strong deterrent for economic migrants, whether they cross the border illegally or overstay visas.

Sanders does not believe the federal government should require the use of E-Verify, in its current state, to check the legal status of all hires by private employers. Bloomberg  does not presently support this requirement for private employers.  Both Warren and Biden have not taken a stand on E-Verify.

Health Care for Undocumented People

Some government health-care plans call for the federal government to fund the health insurance of the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.

Biden,  Harris, Sanders, and Warren believe all undocumented immigrants should be covered under a government run health plan. Bloomberg  believes only undocumented immigrants who begin the path to citizenship should be covered.


In the final years of his presidency, Obama raised the limit on the number of refugees the United States would accept each year from 70,000 in 2015 to 85,000 in 2016 and then 110,000 in 2017. Trump has reversed that pattern, reducing the number to 18,000 in 2019. Refugee status is available to people who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

 Warren, Biden, Sanders  and Bloomberg agree they would accept at least 110,000 refugees a year.

Detaining Asylum Seeking Families

The U.S. government currently confines asylum-seeking women and children in large scale detention facilities.Immigrant mothers and children who are apprehended together at the U.S./Mexico border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are placed into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. ICE places some immigrant families in family detention facilities located in the United States.

 Warren, Biden, Sanders  and Bloomberg support eliminating or limiting family detention and support turning to community based alternatives. Congressional Democrats have sought to limit the number of new detention beds in an effort to force the release of more migrants who are awaiting court dates.

Foreign Aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala

A surge in unaccompanied minors and families from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala during Obama’s second term led to a significant increase in foreign aid to the region, peaking at $754 million in 2016. The goal was to strengthen civil society, including local and national police forces, and increasing economic opportunities to decrease migration. Since Trump took office, the funding has gradually decreased, with the White House requesting $436 million in fiscal 2019. At the end of March, Trump announced that he would be “ending” previously appropriated aid to the three countries because of another surge in migration from the region.

 Warren, Biden, Harris, Sanders  and Bloomberg support increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in an effort to reduce the flow of asylum seekers to the U.S..

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

President Trump’s aggressive domestic immigration enforcement policy has turned many Democrats against the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security tasked with domestic enforcement of immigration laws. Sanctuary cities, counties and states around the U.S.  don’t fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Sanders would abolish ICE and redistribute its duties.  Bloomberg, Harris, Warren and Biden would not abolish it, but would restructure and redistribute its duties


  • Get involved, volunteer, and/or donate to the following organizations that are leading the conversations on immigration, refugees, and global migration.  Take action on the issues that are important to you, do your part to help those less fortunate, give confidently to one of these outstanding organizations today:

RAICES(The Refugee & Immigration Center For Education and Legal Services
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
National Immigration Law Center 
Hispanics In Philanthropy
Catholic Legal Immigration Network
American Immigration Council

  • Volunteer, donate and/or attend rallies and public events for the Democratic Primary candidate that you support:
    Biden, Bloomberg,   Sanders,   Warren.
  • Volunteer and/or donate to your House Representative (all up for re-election)  and your local Senate re-election campaigns . Future posts will be dedicated to the Congressional races.
  • Volunteer to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) like Rock The Vote, League of Women Votersand more posted on the Nov 19 post.
  •  Join individuals, businesses, government organizations, nonprofits and community leaders who have a role to play in the 2020 Census.


Super Tuesday Eve

Democratic Delegate Count to Date (after Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina Primaries):
Bernie Sanders (60),  Joe Biden (54) Elizabeth Warren (8) and Mike Bloomberg (0).

1,357 delegates are up for grabs tomorrow:

March 3 Super Tuesday
(This day accounts for about 40 percent of total delegate allocation)
Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas
(Because it has the largest delegate trove in the country, California is key )
Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina,
Oklahoma, Tennessee
(Texas has the second-largest delegate trove of the primary)
Utah*, Vermont*, Virginia, Democrats Abroad

Peter Buttigieg, Amy Kobucher, and Tom Seyer  dropped out by March 2, 2020.  The fifth Democratic Primary candidate , Tulsi Gabbard,  has not gained any delegates or momentum.

How To Win The Democratic Nomination

As a reminder; to win the Democratic nomination for president, a candidate needs the support of a majority of delegates eligible to vote on a given ballot at the party’s national convention in Milwaukee in July: 1,991 delegates 

If no one gets 1,991 votes on the first ballot, then things could get more complicated. This is the scenario people refer to when they use the phrase “contested convention” or “brokered convention.”

In this situation, there would be a second ballot. And on the second ballot, there are votes from two sets of delegates: Votes from the 3,979 pledged delegates, who are allowed to support a different candidate on the second ballot if they so choose. There are an additional 771 votes from “automatic delegates,” commonly known as superdelegates

Next Post: Education

About Debra29

I am a retired public school teacher who believes that a strong democracy rests on the shoulders of its citizens. This blog was created as a central resource of civic engagement. Together, we can make a difference. Follow me on Twitter: Determined@2AlterTheCourse
This entry was posted in Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Immigration - I Raise My Lamp, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Michael Bloomberg, Super Tuesday Eve, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.