Kamala Harris on Immigration
Democratic candidate for President; California Senator
BENNET: I disagree that we should decriminalize our border.
HARRIS: I went to a place in Florida called Homestead, and there is a private detention facility that currently houses 2,700 children. There were members of Congress there, [including Julian Castro, but] they would not let us enter the place. So I walked down the road, I climbed a ladder, and I looked over the fence. And I'm going to tell you what I saw. I saw children lined up single file based on gender being walked into barracks. The policies of this administration have been facilitated by laws on the books that allow them to be incarcerated as though they've committed crimes. These children have not committed crimes and should be not treated like criminals.
BENNET: There's not a single person on this stage who would ever separate a child from their parents at the border.
Rep. Eric SWALWELL: No. That person can contribute.
V.P. Joe BIDEN: If they committed a major crime, they should be deported. But we should not be locking people up. We should be making sure we change the circumstance, why they would leave in the first place. Those who come seeking asylum, we should immediately have the capacity to absorb them, keep them safe until they can be heard.
Sen. Kamala HARRIS: No, they should not be deported. This was one of the very few issues with which I disagreed with the [Obama] administration. On the secure communities issue, I disagreed with my president, because the policy was to allow deportation of people who by ICE's own definition were non-criminals. I issued a directive to the sheriffs of my state that they did not have to comply with detainers, and instead should make decisions based on the best interests of public safety of their community.
A Harris spokesman did not address the senator's mischaracterizations when contacted by CNN's KFile. "As Governor Newsom has said, the initial policy was intended to protect the sanctuary status of San Francisco, which Senator Harris has always supported and defended," Harris spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement. "We have said this policy should have been done differently."
We need our leaders to speak the biggest truth of all: In the face of powerful forces that have been trying to sow hate and division among us, the truth is that as Americans we have much more in common than what separates us.
Let's fight for an America where we welcome refugees and immigrants, and where we fight for the dignity of all people-- no matter who they are, no matter what they look like or how they identify.
I want you all to listen closely [to Trump's State of the Union]. When you hear claims that our problems would all be solved if we just built a wall on our southern border, don't forget the babies ripped from their mothers' arms and the refugees fleeing violence who are being turned away.
The strength of our union has never been found in the walls we build. It's in our diversity and our unity--and that is our power.
In Murrieta, California, several buses carrying roughly 140 undocumented children and parents were on their way to a processing center. A crowd had gathered, blocking the street, waving flags & signs & yelling "Nobody wants you!" "You're not welcome!" "Turn around and go back home!" There were children inside the buses. Their only wrong was that they had fled horrific violence.
I had to do something about this. I sponsored legislation to provide $3 million to other nonprofits that were providing these children with legal representation.
There are a few things more cruel, more inhumane, more fundamentally evil than ripping a child from her parent's arms. The administration claimed that it wouldn't separate families seeking asylum if they arrived at an official port of entry, as opposed to other parts of the border. But that didn't hold true. Many documented cases of family separation at ports of entry.
But there was a bigger reason to oppose the border wall. A useless wall on the southern border would be nothing more than a symbol, a monument standing in opposition to not just everything I value, but to the fundamental values upon which this country was built. The Statue of Liberty is the monument that defines to the world who we are. Emma Lazarus's words--"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"--speak true to our true character: a generous country that respects and embraces those who have made the difficult journey to our shores, often fleeing harm. How could I vote to build what would be little more than a monument, designed to send the cold, hard message "KEEP OUT"?
"While this bill would put Dreamers on a pathway toward citizenship, the appropriation of $25 billion for a border wall is a waste of taxpayer money," she said. "A wall will not secure our border and I remain concerned those billions of dollars may also be used to implement this Administration's anti-immigrant agenda--one that targets California and its residents."
Those close to Harris maintain that Harris has felt passionately for years about [immigration issues]. In particular, they say protecting dreamers has been her top priority since she was elected to the Senate.
Harris is implying in her words that these foreign nationals are not persistent criminals: "I'm a career prosecutor. I've personally prosecuted everything from low-level offenses to homicides. Unfortunately, I know what crime looks like. I know what a criminal looks like who's committing a crime. An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal."
This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.
|Other candidates on Immigration:||Kamala Harris on other issues:|
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Larry Hogan (D-MD)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)
2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Gov.Bill Weld (R-MA&L-NY)
2020 Withdrawn Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)