Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) has presented a plan he says will fix America’s immigration system, vowing to “virtually eliminate immigration detention” through a series of executive actions if he makes it to the White House.
What are the details?
Booker’s campaign issued a news release outlining his proposals on Tuesday, declaring, “Cory Booker won’t wait for Congress: He will immediately act through executive authority to virtually eliminate immigration detention and end the crisis at the border.”
Throughout the plan, Booker criticized the Trump administration’s policies on border security, and promised to undo the current president’s efforts starting on “day one.”
Under the broad initiative, a Booker administration would “shut down inhumane [detention] facilities and require all facilities to meet the highest standards,” phase out contracts with private prison firms over a three-year period, provide illegal immigrants with greater access to legal counsel, and prohibit ICE and CBP from “terrorizing immigrants in their homes and communities.”
Booker’s plan would also get rid of the “Remain in Mexico” policy for processing asylum-seekers, end the Trump administration’s travel ban on immigration from countries with high levels of terrorist activity, and “stop the border wall that is wasting taxpayer money and harming local environments and communities.”
Sen. Booker has long called for restoring the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowing “Dreamers” illegally brought to the United States as children to stay without fear of deportation. His campaign proposal would restore and expand DACA to provide pathways of citizenship to more protected groups.
The former mayor of Newark also said he would use foreign aid and diplomacy to “focus on the root causes of migration — corruption, violence, poverty, and climate change.”
There were no cost estimates included in the proposed course of action, but a Booker campaign spokesperson told Politico the plan “would likely be a cost-saver.”
Booker’s plan comes as a growing number of Democrats have criticized the conditions at the migrant detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border amid an ongoing surge of illegal immigration.