Elizabeth Warren on Immigration

Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger


Restore aid to Central America to reduce emigration

This so-called crisis at our border is one that Donald Trump helped blow up. He did it in part by disrupting aid and assistance for the Central American countries. And that meant that both their economy struggled and the government struggled to keep control over the gangs.

When I first read about our government spending our tax dollars to take children away from their families, a year-and-a-half ago, I went down to the border, to McAllen, Texas. I saw a cage of nursing mothers [and one why said she fled] Central America: She had given a drink to a police officer, and the next day, she got the word that the gangs believed she was working with the police. She knew that meant that she and her baby would be killed. So she wrapped her baby up and she ran for our border. So what we have to do is we have to restore aid in Central America, get our allies to do that, help stabilize those governments, so people don't feel that they have to flee for their lives in order to have any future.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Path to citizenship for all here will strengthen America

Immigration makes this country stronger. It's true economically and it's true in terms of how we build ties all around the world. It's how we build a future. I want to expand legal immigration into this country. The second thing I want to do is I want to take people who are here, who are living in the shadows, who live in fear, and I want to bring them out into the open and make them able to participate in our economy openly. That means a pathway to citizenship.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

We cannot be a nation that puts children and adults in cages

I went to McAllen, Texas. I went into what looked like a giant warehouse. I walked into the main area and that's where the cages of children were. Right in the center. A cage full of little girls. Just little girls. No toys, nothing to play with, no television, children who don't even know each other. And they were all just sitting there. We cannot be a nation that takes away children from their families. We cannot be a nation that treats people with anything other than humanity.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Stop the man-made "crisis" at the southern border

Q: You've said that the border wall that President Trump has proposed is, "a monument to hate and division." Would you ask taxpayers to pay to take down any part of the wall on the nation's southern border?

WARREN: If there are parts of the wall that are not useful in our defense, of course we should do it. The real point here is that we need to stop this manmade crisis at the border. Trump is the one who has created this crisis, and he has done it in no small part by helping destabilize the governments even further in Central America. He has withdrawn aid. That means that families have to flee for their lives, have to flee for any economic opportunity. We need to treat the people who come here with dignity and with respect. A great nation does not separate children from their families. We need to live our values at the border every single day.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Expand legal immigration, including for visa overstays

Q: You want ICE, the agency, in charge of rounding up undocumented immigrants. So how would you deal with the millions of immigrants who arrive legally but overstay their visas?

WARREN: Well, I start with a statement of principles, and that is, in this country, immigration does not make us weaker, immigration makes us stronger. I want to see us expand legal immigration and create a pathway to citizenship for our DREAMers, but also for their grandparents, and for their cousins, for people who have overstayed student visas, and for people who came here to work in the fields. I want to have a system that is a path to citizenship that is fair and achievable.

Down at the border, we've got to rework this entirely. A system right now that cannot tell the difference in the threat posed by a terrorist, a criminal, and a 12-year-old girl is not a system that is keeping us safer, and it is not serving our values.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

We're not going to give up DACA, or any protections

Q [to V.P. Biden]: The Obama administration deported 3 million people. Did you do anything to prevent those?

Joe BIDEN: What Latinos should look at is comparing [Obama policy to Trump policy]. We didn't lock people up in cages. We didn't separate families. [Obama] came along with the DACA program. No one had ever done that before. [Obama] wanted to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented. This is a president who's done a great deal.

CASTRO: My problem with Vice President Biden is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, oh, I was there, and every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, well, that was the president. I was the first candidate to put forward an immigration plan. We're not going to give up DACA. We're not going to give up protections for anybody.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Fix the crisis at the border; don't just stir it up

Gov. Steve BULLOCK [to Warren]: We've got 100,000 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give health care to everyone, we'll have multiples of that. The biggest problem right now that we have with immigration, it's Donald Trump. He's using immigration to not only rip apart families, but rip apart this country. But you don't have to decriminalize everything.

WARREN: We have to be an America that is clear about what we want to do with immigration. We need to expand legal immigration. We need to create a path for citizenship, not just for DREAMers but for grandmas and for people who have been working here in the farms and for students who have overstayed their visas. We need to fix the crisis at the border. And a big part of how we do that, is we do not play into Donald Trump's hands. President Trump wants to stir up the crisis at the border because that's his overall message. It's -- if there's anything wrong in your life, blame them.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Laws matter; don't lock up people who come seeking asylum

WARREN: The problem is that the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents.

Gov. Steve BULLOCK: You are playing into Donald Trump's hands. The challenge isn't that it's a criminal offense to cross the border. The challenge is that Donald Trump is president and using this to rip families apart. A sane immigration system needs a sane leader. And we can do that without decriminalizing and providing health care for everyone. And it's not me saying that, that's Obama's Homeland Security secretary that said you'll cause further problems at the border, not making it better.

WARREN: What you're saying is ignore the law. Laws matter. It matters if we say our law is that we will lock people up who come here, seeking refuge, seeking asylum. That is not a crime. We need to have a sane system that keeps us safe at the border, but does not criminalize the activity of a mother fleeing here for safety.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

We need border security but must live by our values

The problem is that the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents. It's what gives him the ability to lock up people at our borders. We need to continue to have border security, and we can do that, but what we can't do is not live our values. I've been down to the border. I have seen the mothers. I have seen the cages of babies. We must be a country that everyday lives our values. And that means we cannot make it a crime.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

A border wall is about hate & division, not security

An immigration system that is administered so that it is not able to tell the difference between a criminal, a terrorist, & a 12-year-old little girl is an immigration system that not only is not keeping us safer; it does not reflect our values. I will not support the building of a wall that does not make us safer. People within the administration have already said this is not about security. The kind of wall that is proposed now is a monument to hate and division. We are a better country than that.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 18, 2019

Bring people out of shadow economy & help social security

We believe that immigration made this country strong and that immigration will make this country strong in the future. We believe that equal means equal. No matter the color of your skin, no matter what language your family speaks. One of the ways we can save Social Security is to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Bring more workers and bring more people out of the shadow economy and into the fully paid economy where everything is above the table.
Source: Huffington Post on 2016 Veepstakes: "Immigration Reform" , Nov 1, 2016

Supports President Obama's immigration reform

Look, I was proud to vote for comprehensive immigration reform a year and a half ago, and the Republicans haven't done anything since then. They keep blocking bringing this to a vote. So, I support the president in taking what actions he can within the law to help families, to help businesses and try to patch up this broken immigration system.
Source: Washington Post on 2016 Veepstakes: "Potential 2016ers" , Nov 21, 2014

Support the DREAM Act: let immigrants into army or college

I believe in the DREAM Act. When Scott Brown voted against it, he denied the dreams of young people who did nothing wrong and who are trying to get an education or serve in the military. I thought that was wrong. I support the president's recent actions to help these kids. [In June 2012 Pres. Obama issued an executive order on DACA, "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals", to not deport kids brought into the US by undocumented immigrants]. (citing The Boston Globe, June 2012)
Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p.153 , Nov 18, 2014

Strongly supports the DREAM Act

The two split on immigration. Brown said he supports an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, but opposes the so-called DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legal status for many young illegal immigrants. He called the proposal "back door amnesty."

Warren said she strongly supports the Dream Act.

Source: Fox News on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Oct 2, 2012

Support the DREAM Act: Let kids stay

Warren jabbed at Brown while giving her ideas for solving the nation's immigration problems. "I believe in the Dream Act," Warren said. "When Scott Brown voted against it, he denied the dreams of young people who did nothing wrong and who are trying to get an education or serve in the military. I thought that was wrong. I support the president's recent actions to help these kids."

The Brown campaign called Warren "an extreme liberal on illegal immigration who supports amnesty and even wants to reward illegal immigrants with low in-state tuition rates financed by taxpayers." A Brown spokeswoman added: "This is a key difference between Professor Warren and Senator Brown. Senator Brown believes we are a nation of immigrants and we should welcome those who seek a better life in America, but we are also a nation of laws that have to be respected and observed."

Source: Boston Globe on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Jun 22, 2012

Opposes "Secure Communities" immigration enforcement program

I think there's a real question about whether or not this "Secure Communities" bill really makes communities more secure. If people feel like they can't go to the police, that doesn't make us more secure. I think we really have to think much harder about the ways to make American communities more secure."
Source: TreeHugger.com blog, "U.S.Senate" , Dec 10, 2011

Provide lawyers and evidence for children being deported.

Warren co-sponsored S.2540/H.R.4646

This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall provide an alien in removal proceedings with all relevant documents in its possession, unless the alien has knowingly waived the right to such documents.
  • DOJ may appoint or provide counsel to aliens in any INA proceeding.
  • DHS shall ensure that aliens have access to counsel inside all immigration detention and border facilities.
  • DOJ shall appoint counsel, at government expense if necessary, for an unaccompanied alien child or a particularly vulnerable individual.
  • DHS shall establish a pilot program to increase the court appearance rates of unaccompanied alien children and particularly vulnerable individuals by contracting with nongovernmental, community-based organizations to provide such aliens with case management services.
    Source: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act 16-S2540 on Feb 11, 2016

    Terminate national emergency at the Southern border.

    Warren voted YEA Joint Resolution on Proclamation 9844

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 is hereby terminated.

    Proclamation 9844 issued by the president on Feb. 15, 2019: Declares a state of national emergency at the southern border to address the issues of illegal immigration and criminal trafficking into the US: "The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years. Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis."

    Opposing the Proclamation (supporting the Resolution), ACLU press release, 2/15/2019 The ACLU issued the following statement upon filing a lawsuit: "By the president's very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall 'faster.' This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy."

    Legislative outcome Passed House 245-182-5 roll #94 on Feb. 26; pass Senate 59-41 roll #49 on March 14; Vetoed by Pres. Trump; veto override failed, 248-181-3 (2/3 required), roll #127 on March 26

    Source: Congressional vote 19-HJR46 on Feb 26, 2019

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