Sanders Vows to Reverse Trump’s Immigration Policies If Elected President

January 29, 2020 Updated: January 29, 2020
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) this week vowed to undo President Donald Trump’s immigration policies if he were to be elected president this year.

The Vermont senator and leading Democratic presidential candidate announced that his first executive orders as president would reverse all of Trump’s immigration initiatives, which he described as “racist” and “disgusting.”

“My first executive orders will be to reverse every single thing President Trump has done to demonize and harm immigrants, including his racist and disgusting Muslim ban,” Sanders wrote on Twitter on Monday.

His statement came after the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead on Monday for one of Trump’s policies, which would allow his administration to implement a rule denying legal permanent residency to certain immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance in the future.

The justices, on a 5-4 vote, granted the administration’s request to lift a lower court’s injunction that had blocked the so-called public charge policy while litigation over its legality continues.

Under Trump’s policy, immigration officers would consider factors such as age, educational level, and English proficiency to decide whether an immigrant would likely become a “public charge” who would receive government benefits such as the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.

The administration has said the new rule is necessary to better ensure that immigrants will be self-sufficient. Critics have said the rule would disproportionately bar low-income people from developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia from permanent residency.

The new rule expands the “public charge” bar to anyone deemed likely to receive a much wider range of public benefits for more than an aggregate of 12 months over any 36-month period including healthcare, housing, and food assistance.

The court in 2018 upheld Trump’s “travel ban” targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries.

Trump, in contrast with Sanders, has made his tough immigration stance a hallmark of his presidency and 2020 reelection campaign.

Sanders, a self-described socialist, said at a debate in July that his Medicare for All plan would cover illegal immigrants. He also released an immigration plan in November that included a deportation moratorium, calling for a complete restructuring of the system through legislative action and a series of executive orders.

The presidential candidate said he would place a moratorium on deportations, and end raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

His plan also includes bringing construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall to a halt, ending family separations, and shutting down for-profit detention centers.

“Bernie will end the barbaric practice of ripping children from their parents and locking children in cages, thoroughly audit and close detention centers, and work to undo the damage President Trump has done to our immigrant community and our national character,” the plan reads.

Under his “A Welcoming and Safe America for All” plan, Sanders indicated that he will reverse guidance from the Trump administration’s Department of Justice and permit asylum claims from those fleeing domestic or gang violence.

In his proposal, Sanders expands on his support for extending legal status to the 1.8 million young people who are currently eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while pledging to provide relief to their parents.

The plan also looks to make overarching changes to the current immigration system by restructuring the Department of Homeland Security. Sanders would absorb ICE into the Justice Department and Customs and Border Protection into the Treasury Department.

He has, however, said that he opposes open borders.

Sanders, who raised more than $34 million in the final quarter, on Jan. 22 canceled a rally in Iowa due to his obligations to the Senate impeachment trial, which began on Jan. 21.

Justin Morgan and Reuters contributed to this report.