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DEFENDING  IMMIGRANT  RIGHTS

It is simple to me: The United States of America must accept refugees, asylum-seekers, and families who want to work to find a better life.  We must never again separate children from their families under any conditions. We must never force asylum-seekers to endure the kind of cruel and horrible living conditions created by the last administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Deportations of hard-working men and women who make our society function, especially during the pandemic, must come to a halt. I will work to overturn all of the policies that villainize and dehumanize those seeking safety and opportunity in our great nation. I support President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. Immigration reform must happen now and include:

  • Ending the destruction of families: Immediately reunite children and families who have been senselessly ripped apart. 545 children are still waiting for their families right now. That is 545 too many. What’s worse, right now there is no formal procedure to reunite the thousands of families already separated at the border. We have broken more than 600 families and walked away from our responsibility to put them back together. This inhuman act defies the most sacred bond one human can have with another. I support the US Citizenship Act of 2021 that create a system to clear backlogs, recapture unused visas, eliminate lengthy wait times and increase per-country visa caps.

  • Closing all for-profit detention centers: In 2019, the Office of Inspector General provided a detailed report demanding the Department of Homeland Security address dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley. Innocent people have been detained in cages and even worse, many of them are held there for more than 10 days, violating the law allowing a maximum of 72 hours in detention. This is just one of many horrific symptoms of a completely broken immigration system that can no longer operate as it has done in the past.

  • Stop deporting undocumented workers: Immediately place a moratorium on all deportations until current practices and policies can be improved. Did you know that undocumented immigrants nationwide pay an average of 8% of their incomes in state and local taxes?  By comparison, the wealthy 1% in our country pay, on average, only 5.4%. The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy 2017 report highlights the truth that undocumented immigrants living in the US right now pay billions in state and local taxes. Deporting our community members, our neighbors and family members, our friends not only makes terrible social policy, but would create a substantial hit to our economy. Creating a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants would boost tax contributions in New Mexico each year by $8M and by $2B nationwide. We can fix this problem and build a stronger Nation starting immediately.

  • Protect DREAMers by reinstating and expanding DACA: Dreamers are American in every way, except on paper. Dreamers were brought to the US as children and have grown up here, work here, pay taxes here and improve our nation. In fact, DACA recipients contribute $1.7 billion a year in state and local taxes. Right now, deportation action of Dreamers has been deferred, but a pathway to citizenship is not available. I would fight to allow Dreamers a direct path to citizenship and confirmation that they too are Americans.

  • Break up ICE and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP): I will work to end the expensive and harmful organizations of ICE and Border Patrol then reallocate their functions to the proper authorities who can be monitored and held accountable for their actions. A staggering $24 billion was spent in 2019 on immigration enforcement. That billion with a “B”! How did the United States spend $24B in one year on immigration enforcement? This bought roughly 700 miles of fencing along the Southern border, record levels of staff for ICE and CBP, as well as a fleet of drones. Meanwhile, one person dies each day along our border with Mexico in their desperate attempt to find safety and a better life.

  • Stop construction of the ineffective wall on the U.S.-Mexico Border: What has the roughly 700 miles of new fencing along the border accomplished? Nothing other than spending a record $24B in ICE and CBP programs. The United States must have a safe secure border. Those who wish to harm our Nation must be preventing from entering. But this can’t happen with a fence and some drones. Ensuring we have a secure border will only happen with a complete overhaul of our immigration system.

  • Abolish the Muslim Ban: Trump banned foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from visiting the country for 90 days, suspended entry all Syrian refugees indefinitely, and prohibited any other refugees from coming into the country for 120 days. The ACLU would not stand for this and fought Trump's executive order in the federal courts. Because of their hard work, the federal government will now prioritize the processing of dozens of refugee cases affecting hundreds of people in the US and abroad. But more work is needed. I support the No Ban Act in Congress (H.R. 2214-116th Congress (2019- 2020) which limits the President's authority to suspend or resist non-US citizens from entering the United States and prohibits religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions.

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