Two members of U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) team stake out a bend in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, on June 20, 2019. (CBP photo by Glenn Fawcett)

Your Homeland Security Guide to the Presidential Debates: Platforms and Priorities

Waiting to hear a question during the debates about homeland security? With so many hopefuls vying for the White House, it can be hard for these issues to get air time. So we’ve scoured the candidates’ platforms to see what they’re promising in the realm of homeland security, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity, border security and immigration, maritime security, emergency preparedness (including climate-related security), public safety, and federal contracting. The policy positions are in the candidates’ own words and do not represent endorsements by Homeland Security Today. This will be updated regularly to reflect the most recent candidate roster and position platforms.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

“Approach Climate Change as a Threat Multiplier and Source of Global Instability: The energy and climate security risks of the future are diverse and expansive. Around the world, climate change and extreme weather will create more poverty, food and water insecurity, and political and social instability. The Bennet Administration will restore American leadership in the world and:

  • Work with global allies and partners, not only to develop the most innovative technologies to address the cause and effects of climate change, but also to prepare for the political, economic, and security repercussions resulting from food insecurity, environmental degradation, and the transnational movement of infectious disease.
  • Address the needs of climate refugees around the world. The United States must take a leadership role and work with allies and partners to develop a plan to meet the needs of the millions of individuals already displaced by the effects of climate change.
  • Develop a forward looking and inclusive plan to address the humanitarian, security, and geopolitical ramifications resulting from increased mass migration resulting from climate change.

Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change on Our National Security and Infrastructure: We must understand and address the national security threats posed by climate change and work to reduce those threats while increasing our ability to respond. Between 40 and 50 percent of the casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq resulted from attacks on fuel convoys. The Bennet Administration will:

  • Invest in clean energy to reduce the use of fossil fuels by the U.S. military and decrease reliance on dangerous logistics chains.
  • Devote military, intelligence, and diplomatic resources to analyzing climate change threats.
  • Invest in the resiliency of our military infrastructure. Extreme weather in the last year resulted in costly damage to the Air Force’s advanced fighter fleet and the base that is home to U.S. Strategic Command. U.S. bases must develop weather and climate resiliency plans, and new military construction plans must consider the effects of climate change.
  • Invest in critical infrastructure, such as electric grids and communication technology, to protect against the effects of extreme weather, climate change, cyber-attacks, and physical sabotage at home.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden

“It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken, and for years, we have lacked the political will to fix it. We can secure our border and enforce our laws without tossing aside our values, our principles, and our humanity. Putting people in cages and tearing children away from their parents isn’t the answer. We have got to address the root causes of migration that push people to leave behind their homes and everything they know to undertake a dangerous journey for the chance at a better life, work that Vice President Biden led in the Obama-Biden Administration. At the same time, we must never forget that immigration is the reason the United States has been able to constantly renew and reinvent itself–legal immigration is an incredible source of strength for our country.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

“Our immigration system is broken, and the Trump Administration’s inhumane policies stand in stark contrast to everything we say we stand for as a country.

As president, Cory will work to fix our broken immigration system and ensure that America once again becomes a beacon of freedom, hope, and opportunity to the world for generations to come:

  • End family separation and ensure that our immigration system is humane, fair, and respects immigrants’ rights by ending private detention facilities and not treating immigrants who cross our border seeking safety as criminals.
  • Create an asylum process that recognizes the dignity of those who have taken extraordinary risks to seek safe haven in our country.
  • Expand protections for DREAMers and people with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure.
  • Fight for a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States.”

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

(Has no plans posted related to homeland security)

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg

“We must reclaim our nation’s standing as a human rights leader by implementing common sense immigration reform that will secure our values. The greatest nation in the world should have nothing to fear from children fleeing violence. More importantly, children fleeing violence should have nothing to fear from the greatest nation in the world. We must remember that immigrants are an essential part of our American story. Immigration creates strong families and communities who contribute to our economic growth and participate in our vibrant democracy.

Comprehensive immigration reform must include a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living, working, paying taxes, and contributing to our American story, including DREAMers; resources to end the backlogs in our lawful immigration and asylum processes; and reasonable security measures at the border. Most Americans support such a package, and it is long past time for Washington to deliver.

  • Modernize our immigration laws to reflect today’s humanitarian and economic needs
  • Restore our global leadership in humanitarian relief for refugees
  • End the family separation crisis and evaluate ICE and CBP practices to ensure similar humanitarian crises never happen again
  • Reinstate enforcement priorities and prevent arbitrary targeting of immigrant communities by enforcement officials
Strengthen election security

Our democracy is sacred. But in the 21st century, it is facing unprecedented threats. We need to defend our elections with better cybersecurity and more secure voting infrastructure. We need a paper trail for every vote so Americans can have confidence that their votes are counted in election results. We need a nonpartisan and fully resourced election administration to prevent unfair partisan skewing of our elections. And we need to make clear to foreign governments that if they attempt to interfere in our elections, there will be serious consequences.

Extremism

ISIS is not the only group that advances political stances through mass violence: so do white supremacist terrorists, anti-government militias, and other groups that use forms of domestic extremism.

All Americans should be able to live without fear of intimidation and violence. Today, white supremacist extremism and domestic terrorist attacks are on the rise, threatening both our citizens and the very soul of the nation. We need to heal the divides between our communities and work with religious leaders, tech companies, and other influencers to reduce hate and extremism in our homeland.

Pete will focus more resources on countering domestic terrorism while continuing the fight against international and Islamist-inspired violent extremism. He is committed to protecting all Americans from violent extremists and will never allow the office of the President to be used to amplify their hate or traffic in their conspiracy theories.”

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro

“In establishing national standards for the conduct of police officers and local departments that receive federal funding, we ensure that every police department in the United States establishes minimum standards for how their officers interact with community members. Those standards include combatting racially discriminatory policing that leads to the disproportionately high number of black men who are killed by police.
  • Restrict the use of deadly force unless there is an imminent threat to the life of another person, and all other reasonable alternatives have been exhausted. Require the use of de-escalation procedures and alternatives to deadly force whenever possible.
  • Adopt technological and organizational approaches, such as the use of body cameras, to support responsible policing practices and ensure accountability of officer conduct. Employ best practices for the use of technological advances to guarantee the privacy of civilians.
  • End the school-to-prison pipeline and reform student discipline practices. Combat unfair, harsh, and unequal disciplinary methods by ensuring that schools receiving federal funding commit to reforms including eliminating the use of police officers as disciplinary agents, implementing positive, evidenced-based disciplinary practices, and requiring unconscious bias training for school personnel. Provide federal grants to promote positive and supporting school climates and reforming disciplinary practices. Provide expanded support and counseling for students and training for teachers and staff.
  • Establish responsibility and accountability of officers to intervene if they witness a colleague utilizing excessive force or inappropriate conduct.
  • Require police officers to identify themselves, issue a verbal warning, and give the suspect a reasonable amount of time to comply before the use of force.
  • Restrict policing actions that cause collateral damage such as shooting at moving vehicles.
  • Require training of and acknowledgment by all police personnel on the public’s right to record interactions between the public and law enforcement.
  • Require law enforcement agencies to obtain written consent for consensual vehicle searches.
  • End racial profiling and stop-and-frisk policies. Work with Congress to enact legislation that would prohibit any law enforcement agent or agency to engage in racial profiling or to conduct stops and searches of people with only vague explanations of suspicion.
  • Require police departments to demonstrate accountability for all instances of biased policing, including requiring internal reviews and appropriate disciplinary actions, during the time period when federal funds are used.
  • Require pre-employment screenings to identify prejudices. Ensure local departments are eliminating candidates who display bias, intolerance, or other behaviors or prejudices that may threaten public safety.
  • Build a more representative police force by using federal grants to incentivize police departments to enact residency requirements and other efforts to ensure not only that law enforcement officers live in the communities they protect, but also that police departments look like the communities they serve.
  • Require accredited implicit bias and other racial equity training for all police personnel.
The federal government, including the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, will hold accountable law enforcement agencies for use of excessive force. That process starts with transparency and data.
  • Establish a public national database that tracks all police officers decertified in any state or locality, to ensure full transparency of officers when seeking employment in other states. This effort would build on the success of the National Decertification Index established by the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training. Incentivize state and local governments to use this national database when hiring officers.
  • Collect disaggregated data on all detentions, stops, frisks, searches, summons, and arrests, ensuring local, state, and federal lawmakers are equipped with the data needed to inform sustained policing reform. Require that this information be made publicly available in a way that is useful both to governmental and nongovernmental entities. This would build on the successes of the Use of Force Data Collection program.
  • Make it easier to hold offending officers accountable under criminal and civil law. Work with Congress to put forward legislation to lower the unfairly high burden to prosecute police officers for misconduct – ensuring those who violate constitutional or legal protections of civilians under Section 242 are held accountable. Reform and restrict the “qualified immunity” defense under section 1983 for law enforcement officers.
  • Support and invest in the establishment of civilian oversight boards to improve community oversight of police departments.
  • Eliminate “consequence-free” weapon discharges and arrests by requiring strict reporting requirements. This will include a requirement to report information that covers any injury sustained as a result of a weapon discharge or arrest, collateral consequences, re-entry, cost-analysis, an explanation of community impact, how any collateral consequences will be mitigated, and the cost of the arrest or weapon discharge, relative to its benefits, for the community.
  • Proactively investigate police departments that consistently fail to meet standards.
  • Investigate all fatal police shootings in the nation in a transparent manner that ensures accountability and oversee consent decrees that are a result of police misconduct.
  • Establish guidelines for next-generation surveillance technologies, like facial recognition technology, that accounts for disparate impact and bias in their application.

Reforming our Immigration System

  • Establish an inclusive roadmap to citizenship for undocumented individuals and families who do not have a current pathway to legal status, but who live, work, and raise families in communities throughout the United States.
  • Provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and those under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure, through the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, and defend and expand DACA, TPS, and DED protections, and re-institute the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program during the legislative process.
  • Revamp the visa system and strengthen family reunification through the Reuniting Families Act, reducing the number of people who are waiting to reunite with their families but are stuck in the bureaucratic backlog.
  • Eliminate the backlog of 4.4 million people waiting for visas to reunite with their families.
  • Recaptures immigrant visas lost to bureaucratic delay since 1992 and rolls over future unused visas to the following year.
  • Allow spouses and minor children of permanent residents to immediately reunite with their families in the United States.
  • Eliminate per-country limits for all visas, ending the decades-long wait time for citizens of certain countries to immigrate to the United States.
  • Provide relief to orphans and widows, allowing them to continue to wait in line after the death of a sponsoring relative.
  • Allow for equal treatment of all stepchildren under the visa system.
  • Reduce wait-times for certain children of veterans from the Philippines that fought in World War II.
  • Eliminate discrimination for LGBT families in bi-national same-sex relationships under the visa system.
  • Terminate the three and ten year bars, which require undocumented individuals—who otherwise qualify for legal status—to leave the United States and their families behind for years before becoming citizens.
  • Rescind Trump’s discriminatory Muslim and Refugee Ban, other harmful immigration-related executive orders, racial profiling of minority communities, and expanded use of denaturalization as a frequently used course of action through the USCIS Denaturalization Task Force.
  • Increase refugee admissions, reversing cuts under Trump, and restoring our nation to its historic position as a moral leader providing a safe haven for those fleeing persecution, violence, disaster, and despair. Adapt these programs to account for new global challenges like climate change.
  • End agreements under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and other such agreements between federal immigration enforcement agencies and state and local entities that erode trust between communities and local police and end ICE detainers.
  • Allow all deported veterans who honorably served in the armed forces of the United States to return to the United States and end the practice of deporting such veterans.
  • Strengthen labor protections for guest workers and end exploitative practices which hurt residents and guest workers, provide work authorization to spouses of participating individuals, and ensure guest workers have a fair opportunity to become residents and citizens through the Agricultural Worker Program Act.
  • Protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, ensuring these individuals are not subject to detention, deportation, or legal reprisal following their reporting these incidents.

Creating a Humane Border Policy

  • Repeal Section 1325 of Immigration and Nationality Act, which applies a criminal, rather than civil, violation to people apprehended when entering the United States. This provision has allowed for separation of children and families at our border, the large scale detention of tens of thousands of families, and has deterred migrants from turning themselves in to an immigration official within our borders. The widespread detention of these individuals and families at our border has overburdened our justice system, been ineffective at deterring migration, and has cost our government billions of dollars.
  • Effectively end the use of detention in conducting immigration enforcement, except in serious cases. Utilize cost-effective and more humane alternatives to detention, which draw on the successes of prior efforts like the Family Case Management Program. Ensure all individuals have access to a bond hearing and that vulnerable populations, including children, pregnant women, and members of the LGBTQ community are not placed in civil detention.
  • Eliminate the for-profit immigration detention and prison industry,which monetizes the detention of migrants and children.
  • End immigration enforcement raids at or near sensitive locationssuch as schools, hospitals, churches, and courthouses.
  • Reconstitute the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) by splitting the agency in half and re-assigning enforcement functions within the Enforcement and Removal Operations to other agencies, including the Department of Justice. There must be a thorough investigation of ICE, Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Justice’s role in family separation policies instituted by the Trump administration.
  • Reprioritize Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to focus its efforts on border-related activities including drug and human trafficking, rather than law enforcement activities in the interior of the United States. Extend Department of Justice civil rights jurisdiction to CBP, and adopt best practices employed in law enforcement, including body-worn cameras and strong accountability policies.
  • End wasteful, ineffective and invasive border wall construction and consult with border communities about repairing environmental and other damage already done. Properly equip our ports of entry, investing in infrastructure, staff, and technology to process claims and prevent human and drug trafficking.
  • End asylum “metering” and the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, ensuring all asylum seekers are able to present their claims to U.S. officials.
  • Create a well-resourced and independent immigration court system under Article 1 of the Constitution, outside the Department of Justice, to increase the hiring and retention of independent judges to adjudicate immigration claims faster.
  • Increase access to legal assistance for individuals and families presenting asylum claims, ensuring individuals understand their rights and are able to make an informed and accurate request for asylum. Guarantee counsel for all children in the immigration enforcement system.
  • Protect victims of domestic and gang violence, by reversing guidance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that prohibited asylum claims on the basis of credible fear stemming from domestic or gang violence.

Establishing a 21st Century ‘Marshall Plan’ for Central America

  • Prioritize high-level diplomacy with our neighbors in Latin America, a region where challenges in governance and economic development have consequences to migration to the United States, U.S. economic growth, and regional instability.
  • Ensure higher standards of governance, transparency, rule-of-law, and anti-corruption practice as the heart of U.S. engagement with Central America, rejecting the idea that regional stability requires overlooking authoritarian actions.
  • Enlist all actors in Central America to be part of the solution by restoring U.S. credibility on corruption and transparency and encouraging private sector, civil society, and local governments to work together – rather than at cross purposes – to build sustainable, equitable societies.
  • Bolster economic development, superior labor rights, and environmentally sustainable jobs, allowing individuals to build a life in their communities rather than make a dangerous journey leaving their homes.
  • Ensure regional partners are part of the solution by working with countries in the Western Hemisphere to channel resources to address development challenges in Central America, including through a newly constituted multilateral development fund focused on sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Central America.
  • Target illicit networks and transnational criminal organizationsthrough law enforcement actions and sanctions mechanisms to eliminate their ability to raise revenue from illegal activities like human and drug trafficking and public corruption.
  • Re-establish the Central American Minors program, which allows individuals in the United States to petition for their minor children residing in Central America to apply for resettlement in the U.S. while their applications are pending.
  • Increase funding for bottom-up development and violence prevention programs, including the Inter-American Foundation, to spur initiatives that prevent violence at the local level, support public health and nutrition, and partner with the private sector to create jobs.”

(Has no plans posted related to homeland security)

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.)

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform our economy, but without an effective national strategy to prepare our workforce 54 million workers could be displaced by 2030.

We need a National AI Strategy focused on employment, security, and ethics. If we lose our global leadership in developing these technologies, the economic risks are potentially devastating.

The U.S. must create a whole of government strategy that will provide the tools and skills necessary for the country to win the international AI race. For that to occur, the U.S. must:

  1. Prioritize resources to eliminate gaps in national abilities compared to other high-tech countries
  2. Invest in areas of research that deserve additional funding
  3. Develop incentives for high-tech professionals to work for the government
  4. Support an immigration system that values high-tech professionals
  5. Crack down on international intellectual property (IP) theft

Delaney’s AI proposal would set up an interagency coordinated process to better prepare the U.S. for the AI revolution focusing on four main points:

1. The Future of Work

  • Upgrade educational curriculums to ensure the U.S. has the technical talent needed for jobs of the future
  • Close the skills gap in the U.S. by enacting universal Prek-14 (two-year community college or technical school) to ensure the U.S. population is educated and prepared for jobs of the future
  • Transition to portable benefits, including decoupling health care from employment, to allow for Americans to seek new jobs and new opportunities without the burden of feeling tied to a single employer
  • Develop a social contract with the communities that are negatively impacted by AI, including expanding worker retraining programs
  • Support public/private AI partnerships to promote coordination between government and private sector
  • Incentivize the private sector to offer employer-sponsored training and education

2. National Security

  • Advance AI defense capabilities to ensure the U.S. can defend against future technological threats
  • Lead the international community in establishing rules of engagement to ensure the technology does not lead to a lower threshold for violence

3. Privacy

  • Develop federal privacy standards to ensure transparency of how advanced technology is impacting individuals’ rights
    • For example: Companies should not be able to use your smartphone or other device to monitor your facial expressions as you look at content and ads without your consent

4. Programming Bias

  • While it is tempting to think AI can make unbiased decisions, we actually risk bias being baked-in to the programming that perpetuates human bias with no clear ways to rectify it once the bias is incorporated into the algorithms
    • Partner with the private sector and non-profits to develop best practices against AI technology inheriting human biases

In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, we created the Department of Homeland Security. In response to continued cyber attacks, we should create the Department of Cybersecurity.

As technology advances and threats evolve, the government must be able to adapt to new challenges it faces. That means ensuring the country has the strategy and infrastructure in place to best meet the challenges. In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, experts identified weaknesses and recommended the creation of a new cabinet level agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), whose sole focus would be to develop and coordinate efforts to protect the homeland. We need to approach the continued threat of cyber attacks in a similar way.

In recent years, there have been many high profile cybersecurity data breaches including in 2015 when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced a data breach that compromised almost 22 million people’s personal information and during the 2016 election cycle when Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and attacked states’ election infrastructure. The United States is the most frequent target of targeted cyber attacks, and many systems that are critical to national security and daily life are vulnerable. Our electric grid is at risk of a cyber attack that could leave large parts of the country blacked out for days or weeks and cause hundreds of billions of dollars in economic costs. These threats undermine our security, hurt the economy, and can threaten democracy itself. Currently, the responsibility of cybersecurity is strewn across multiple agencies including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within DHS, the FBI within the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Cyber Command within the Department of Defense.

We need a central agency that’s sole focus is to coordinate and implement U.S. cybersecurity strategy which is why Delaney is proposing to elevate the cybersecurity mission by creating a Department of Cybersecurity, led by a cabinet level secretary.

Immigration

The United States is a nation of immigrants and almost all of us have a story of our families coming to the U.S. for a better life. We need to remember our history and be a welcoming country for those who want a better life for their families and who are seeking to be productive members of society.

The country is in need of immigration reform to update the system to account for changing times. We should seek to have an immigration system that is moral and fair.

Delaney believes accepting immigrants into the country greatly benefits Americans: helps reduce the deficit, boosts GDP, improves the solvency of social security, and enriches society; independent analysts have shown that immigration serves as a stimulus to the U.S. economy; immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as someone born here and immigrant-run businesses employ about one in ten American workers; and the more immigrants who are documented and pay taxes, the more money comes into our treasury to support programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Delaney would negotiate a comprehensive immigration reform deal. Immigration reform needs to be accomplished with bipartisan support, such as the bipartisan deal that passed the Senate in 2013.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)

(Has no plans posted related to homeland security)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

“We need to protect ourselves from attacks online and off.

Cyber security, election security and data privacy are crucial to our national security, and right now, America is behind the times. We should lead the way among our global partners to defend against cyberattacks, secure our elections against tampering, prioritize privacy and limit outside access to Americans’ data. Kirsten has pushed to step up our national cybersecurity efforts since 2014, including directing our armed forces’ integration of technology and cyberdefense into their operations and training. More recently, she fought for a national commission that would examine the cybersecurity of our elections systems—including during the 2016 election—and identify and protect against likely future threats.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

“As president, Kamala will fight to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people living in our communities and contributing to our economy. While she wages that fight, she will immediately reinstate DACA and implement DAPA to protect DREAMers and their parents from deportation. She will also restore and expand Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who would face war or catastrophe if forced to return home.

Kamala also believes we must fundamentally overhaul our immigration enforcement policies and practices—they are cruel and out of control. As president, she’ll close private immigrant detention centers, increase oversight of agencies like Customs and Border Protection, and focus enforcement on increasing public safety, not on tearing apart immigrant families.

For Kamala, this is about making America a place that welcomes immigrants searching for a better life. It’s why she’ll reverse President Trump’s Muslim Ban on Day One and fix the family visa backlog.

Kamala also will immediately change course on President Trump’s disastrous and cruel border strategy. She understands that for many immigrant families, leaving home and arriving at our Southern border is not a choice. That’s why she will ensure those fleeing persecution have a full and fair opportunity to make their claim, aggressively pursue a foreign policy focused on stabilizing Central America where conditions have forced families to flee, and increase funding for processing centers and child welfare workers. Kamala will focus our border enforcement resources on true public safety threats through investments in technology and ports of entry to address the flow of illegal drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking.”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

“Guaranteeing the security of this country should be a primary function of our government. There is a new war being waged by our adversaries and we must be prepared to meet these new and evolving threats.

As president, Hickenlooper will invest in efforts to protect against cyber-attacks. Trump obsesses about border walls; our cyber firewalls are far more important. Our country needs to wake up to the fact that a low-grade, cyber-war is already raging today, often against the US, including commercial attacks as well as direct assaults on our government, military, and the critical infrastructure systems that protect our daily lives.

It is a new and difficult kind of war. It is hard, and sometimes impossible, to determine who is behind a specific attack. Even when we can, we have no procedures or protocols for an appropriate response. Any use of offensive cyber capabilities runs the risk of retaliation and escalation.

The 2016 election showed how Russia attacked our electoral system. We remain shockingly underprepared to confront these new dangers.

This problem has concerned Hickenlooper for years. As Governor, he allocated state funds to help open the National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs. As president, he will shift cybersecurity efforts into higher gear. Hickenlooper will create a new position, Director of National Cybersecurity, to coordinate all our national cybersecurity priorities. The new Cybersecurity Director will bring our security and intelligence agencies together to lay out a 20-year plan, to coordinate how we will harness new and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence.

We will also sharpen our offensive cyber capabilities and develop policies on levels of response and when we should use them. Through constant engagement, we will lead an international effort to create a legal framework and diplomatic protocols that can prevent cyber threats from escalating into war.

Disaster aid and resilience

It has become all too difficult to access the necessary funds to deal with an increasing number of annual natural disasters. Americans deserve a President who will act in the face of natural disasters.

The politicization of the disaster relief process has made it more difficult for impacted communities to obtain timely federal relief. Congress has been regularly using disaster relief packages as political cudgels and it needs to end now. Hickenlooper knows first-hand how difficult it can be to get the necessary funding. As Colorado’s Governor, he had to go to DC to repeatedly fight for disaster aid.

The number of billion-dollar natural disasters affecting this country is growing—between 2014 and 2018 it averaged 13 a year. From 2010–2014, in his first term as Governor, Colorado had the two worst wildfires in the history of the state and the worst flood in the history of the state – it spanned 24 counties and left entire small towns under water. Hickenlooper helped to create a roadmap for resiliency in Colorado. It is not enough to say you are going to rebuild. You have to rebuild it better than it was before, meaning more resilient to future natural disasters.

As climate change intensifies the number and impact of storms and other disasters, we need to invest in disaster relief as well as preparedness. This includes reforming how disaster relief is funded so that communities are less reliant on Congress for extra funding in the case of a major disaster. We also need to review how we can cut red tape and streamline disaster recovery coordination efforts among local, state and federal agencies so that our communities get back on their feet faster.

We must ensure that our communities are prepared for future disasters. Hickenlooper’s infrastructure plan will include targeted spending on climate change-related projects, including adaptation and mitigation measures for our communities. Preparedness also means that businesses and homeowners have insurance to cover their losses in the event of a natural disaster. This means reforming the National Flood Insurance Program and making sure that homeowners have access to affordable home insurance that covers wildfires.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

“As Americans, this is our moment to act on climate change and to invest in a clean energy economy that will grow millions of jobs in communities across the country.

Governor Jay Inslee knows that defeating climate change is the defining challenge of our time and that it must be the foremost priority for the next president. Devastating disasters and rising pollution have claimed lives, cost the economy billions and threatened the places Americans live, work and raise families.

Jay’s climate plan will meet the climate challenge head-on, while creating jobs building a clean energy future. That’s what he has done in Washington state, and it’s what he’s proposing for the nation.

It is time for an all-out national climate mobilization: America’s Climate Mission. America is a nation of optimists that has always thrived in meeting new challenges, with hope, opportunity and inclusion. This Climate Mission is Jay’s ambitious and actionable plan for our nation to defeat climate change and invest in our clean energy future, fueled anew by the growing movement for a Green New Deal, and he has the proven experience to turn this plan into action.

Through Jay’s Climate Mission, America will build upon the leadership of states and local communities, and engage the full energy of our country in a 10-year mobilization to confront climate change, end our reliance on fossil fuels, and create a clean energy future. This mission must be led by the White House — starting with bold action on day one of the next administration. There is no time to lose.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

As part of her first 100 days plan:

“Prioritize cybersecurity and protect our elections and other American infrastructure from cyber attack. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make cybersecurity an immediate priority. She will issue an Executive Order launching government-wide cybersecurity initiatives, fast-tracking and streamlining procurement of modern information technology across agencies. She will also launch a cabinet-level taskforce on election cybersecurity to coordinate across agencies, including the intelligence community, on how the federal government can work with state and local governments to address cyber threats to our democracy and infrastructure. She will also introduce legislation that provides election security funding, requires backup paper ballots, and requires campaigns to report contacts from foreign nationals seeking to interfere in an election to federal authorities.

Raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15. In line with her goal of increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, Senator Klobuchar will increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to that threshold.

Jump-start legislative negotiations for comprehensive immigration reform with the stated goal of passing it in the first year. Senator Klobuchar will jump-start negotiations for comprehensive immigration reform — which includes a pathway to citizenship, the DREAM Act and border security — with the stated goal of passing it in the first year of her presidency. Comprehensive immigration could reduce the deficit by $158 billion.

Protect DACA and TPS and Deferred Enforcement Departure designations. While she jump-starts negotiations for comprehensive immigration reform with the stated goal of passing it within the first year, Senator Klobuchar will undo attempts by the Trump Administration — many of which have been blocked by courts — to deport DREAMers and immigrants who are living, working and succeeding here under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforcement Departure.

Introduce sweeping legislation to address the climate crisis. Senator Klobuchar will introduce sweeping legislation to combat the climate crisis that builds on the framework of the Green New Deal, including a massive investment in green jobs and infrastructure, climate research and innovation, environmental justice programs, rural energy development and better greener transportation. In addition to a major direct federal investment, her legislation will create state, local and private incentives for the immediate adoption and deployment of clean energy technology to reduce emissions, including the promotion of green manufacturing. Her proposal will put our country on a path to achieving 100% net-zero emissions no later than 2050, fulfill our responsibility to our communities and workers who have helped power this country, and includes incentives and support for tougher building codes, appliance standards, buy clean, and climate resilience.

Restore asylum for the victims of gender-based violence. Senator Klobuchar will overturn former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s opinion in Matter of A-B and restore protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence seeking asylum in the United States.

Reinstate the National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee to immediately start addressing the climate crisis. The National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee was charged with translating the findings of the National Climate Assessment into concrete goals. Senator Klobuchar will reinstate this committee that President Trump let expire.

End the travel ban. Senator Klobuchar will put an end to the administration’s travel ban, recognizing that immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America. While security and vetting should stay in place, the Trump Administration’s ban was wrong.

Reopen international U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices. The Trump Administration is shutting down international USCIS offices — which deal primarily with international adoptions, family visa applications, petitions for citizenship for military members stationed in foreign countries, and citizenship applications, along with help on refugee processing and investigations of fraud. Senator Klobuchar will direct USCIS to reopen its international offices.

Protect funding for the Northern Triangle. Senator Klobuchar will end all Administration discussions to cut off direct assistance funding for Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, recognizing that the cuts present a serious risk to our national security and undermine efforts to address the underlying conditions driving migration to the United States.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas)

“Beto’s plan, which would represent the most sweeping rewrite of our nation’s immigration and naturalization laws in a generation, is built on three key pillars:

  1. On day one of his presidency, Beto will use executive authority to stop the inhumane treatment of children, reunite families that have been separated, reform our asylum system, rescind the travel bans, and remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like TPS.
  2. Beto will also immediately engage with Congress to enact legislation – focused on the key role families and communities play – that will allow America to fully harness the power of economic growth and opportunity that both immigration and naturalization will bring to our country’s future.
  3. Finally, Beto’s plan would strengthen our partnership with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere.  We need to refocus on supporting democracy and human rights and invest in reducing violence because the only path to regional security runs through a more democratic and prosperous Latin America.
  • An O’Rourke administration will ensure lawful and humane conditions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities, including access to medical treatment, mental health care, social workers, and translators, and restore orderly and prompt processing of people seeking refuge under our nation’s asylum laws.  As president, Beto will:
    • Rescind the current administration’s executive orders that seek to maximize detention and deportation, including former Attorney General Sessions’ radical re-interpretation of asylum law that seeks to deny protection to women and children fleeing domestic violence and escaping from deadly gangs.
    • Mandate an end to family separations at the border and illegal policies like “metering” and “Remain in Mexico.”
    • Issue an executive order to require detention only for those with criminal backgrounds representing a danger to our communities and eliminate all funding for private, for-profit prison operators whose incentive is profit, not security.
    • Ensure that people have the tools to navigate our immigration court system by scaling up community-based programs and family case management, which is nearly one-tenth the cost of detention and ensures that people attend their courts hearing and that they know what is expected of them.
    • Reinstate the Central American Minors program – allowing children with parents in the U.S. to apply for refugee status from their home countries – and other regional refugee resettlement efforts, working with the international community to process cases in the region and commit to resettling in partner countries.
    • Take immediate steps to upgrade and increase staffing in the asylum system, streamline how cases move through the process, and provide timely and fair asylum decisions, while laying the foundation for a more fundamental reform to the immigration court system that restores due process and ensures equal access to justice, including by:
      • Increasing court staff, clerks, interpreters, and judges;
      • Making the courts independent under Article I, rather than administered by the U.S. Department of Justice;
      • Ending policies that prevent judges from managing their dockets in the most effective way;
      • Expanding the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) to ensure that everyone knows how to navigate our immigration system;
      • Deploying up to 2,000 lawyers to the border and funding a robust right to counsel; and
    • Developing approaches to resolve asylum cases outside of the court system, such as by allowing USCIS Asylum Officers to fully adjudicate cases when conducting Credible Fear Interviews to prevent referring more cases into the backlogged courts.
  • Rescind the discriminatory travel bans, which defy our nation’s Constitution and values.
  • Immediately remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and their parents and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries, and begin work towards a permanent legislative solution.
  • Refocus on smart security.  The current administration is distracting CBP and other law enforcement personnel from focusing on actual threats and undermining their efficacy by pulling resources away from them – all in pursuit of a wall that we do not need, does not work, and will not make us safer.  As President, Beto will:
    • Immediately halt work on the border wall – and his first budget, and every budget, will include zero dollars for this unnecessary wall;
    • Immediately boost staffing to expand inspections, reduce wait times, and increase our capacity to detect illicit drugs – for instance by pursuing a targeted two-prong strategy that focuses on fentanyl shipments coming through our ports and our mail system – and other contraband, as well as modernizing our ports; and
    • Immediately prioritize cracking down on smugglers and traffickers who exploit children and families by working with our regional partners.

In his first hundred days, Beto will put the full weight of the presidency behind passing legislation that:

  • Creates an earned pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people that is more efficient than previous proposals and includes an immediate path for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs.
  • Strengthens our families, communities, and economy by prioritizing family unity – a hallmark of our best traditions – through provisions that:
    • Reunite immigrant families separated by lengthy visa backlogs;
    • Revise preference categories and caps to prioritize family unity; and
    • Remove bars to re-entry and status adjustment to support families.
  • Establishes a new, first-of-its-kind community-based visa category. Beto’s proposal will create a brand new category whereby communities and congregations can welcome refugees through community sponsorship of visas. This program will supplement the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which will be rebuilt and restored to align with America’s tradition of welcoming vulnerable refugees from around the world.
  • Increase the visa caps so that we match our economic opportunities and needs – for work, education, investment, and innovation – to the number of people we allow into this country.  This also means legislation that will:
    • Ensure that industries that depend on immigrant labor have access to a program that allows workers to legally come here and legally return to their home country with appropriate labor and mobility protections;
    • Address the green-card backlog and provide opportunities for those awaiting resolution to work and contribute, while immediately recapturing the over 300,000 green cards that have gone unused due to bureaucratic delays to support our high-growth industries of the future;
    • Promote STEM education by granting foreign-born students more flexibility to stay in the U.S. and gain employment after graduating; and
    • Allow foreign-born entrepreneurs and U.S. patent holders the chance to stay in the United States to grow their business, create jobs and raise families that will go on to enrich our country.
  • Make naturalization easier for the nearly 9 million immigrants who are currently eligible for citizenship. If we are to reestablish our reputation as a nation that welcomes immigrants, we must make it easier for those already here to become full-fledged citizens. This means pursuing legislation that:
    • Makes naturalization free for all who meet the legal requirements for citizenship;
    • Eliminates application backlogs;
    • Reforms the application process so that individuals are mailed a pre-filled application form as soon as they meet the legal requirements for citizenship;
    • Increases legal services funding for those who need it; and
    • Establishes equal treatment of all citizens – naturalized and native-born – rejecting the current administration’s effort to create new barriers to naturalization and stoke fears around de-naturalization.
  • Bolster security and functionality of the border where trade and travel occur.  Beto will draw on his lived experience at the border to push for legislation that actually supports our law enforcement and our border communities in advancing the nation’s security and protection from all threats.  This includes three steps:
    • Increasing Personnel: Immediately stop the smuggling of drugs and prevent human trafficking across the border by hiring, training, and assigning additional CBP personnel at land border crossings;
    • Strengthening Infrastructure: Investing in smart, long-term border security by improving existing ports of entry and constructing new ones, investing in evidence-based, cost-effective technology, and supporting federal grant programs that provide resources to both state and local law enforcement and our border communities; and
    • Addressing Failures: Ensuring that we remain a nation of laws by addressing visa overstays through better tracking of and notification to visa holders and fully harmonizing our entry-exit systems with Mexico and Canada.
  • Ensure transparency and accountability in law enforcement, including ICE and CBP.  Beto will also continue to champion and build upon his previous proposals to:
    • Create an independent Border Oversight Commission, an Ombudsman, and Border Community Liaison office;
    • Create a uniform process for tracking and preventing migrant deaths along the border; and
    • Increase accountability from ICE and CBP personnel through improved training and continued education courses.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet and the clock is ticking. We can’t just reduce climate change — we need to reverse it!

With the number of deadly “once-in-a-lifetime” storms, floods and fires, we owe it to our kids to stop the debate and start addressing this issue head-on.

As President, I will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Republicans are rejecting science as it stands. They’re rolling back protections already put into place. Every other country around the world is making real strategic investments in carbon emission reduction and clean energy technology. We’re not. The United States’ inaction is unacceptable. We must show greater leadership through strong, decisive action. That means committing to a future that is 100% carbon free and laying out a pragmatic, Earth-friendly energy policy to get us there.

A social pact to clean energy also creates opportunities for new, good-paying jobs across the country. There are 8,000 component parts that make up a new windmill. There will be almost 30 million electric cars on the road by 2030. The solar industry is growing at 50% annually. This stuff has to get built somewhere and I want everything built right here in the United States.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

“We are a nation of immigrants. Bernie is proud to be the son of an immigrant. His father came to this country from Poland without a nickel in his pocket. Their story, his story, and our story is a story of America: hard-working families coming to the United States to create a brighter future for their children. We need to:

  • Enact comprehensive immigration reform, including a path towards citizenship.
  • Expand DACA and DAPA, including providing immediate legal status for young people eligible for the DACA program and developing a humane policy for those seeking asylum.
  • Completely reshape and reform our immigration enforcement system, including fundamentally restructuring ICE, an agency Senator Sanders voted against creating.
  • End the barbaric practice of family separation and detention of children in cages.
  • Dismantle cruel and inhumane deportation programs and detention centers.
  • Establish standards for independent oversight of relevant agencies within DHS.

Donald Trump has made himself the biggest platform of hate in the country, and he’s used the demonization of immigrants as his own personal political strategy. That must end, now.”

President Donald Trump

“President Trump enforced immigration laws to protect American communities and American jobs.

President Trump called on Congress to fully fund a wall along the Southern border, to close legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration, to end chain migration, and to eliminate the visa lottery program.

President Trump pulled the United States out of negotiations for a ‘Global Compact on Migration,’ a plan for global governance of immigration and refugee policy that may have compromised U.S. sovereignty.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security took action to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in an orderly fashion, following the assessment of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that DACA lacks legal authorization.

  • This action gives Congress the opportunity to consider appropriate legislative solutions, as required by our Constitution.

The Trump Administration rescinded the unlawful Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.

The Department of Homeland Security launched the office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE).

From President Trump’s inauguration through the end of FY 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made 110,568 arrests of illegal aliens, a 40 percent increase compared to the same time period the prior year.

  • Over the same time period, removals that resulted from arrests increased by 37 percent.
  • Of the illegal aliens arrested by ICE, over 92 percent had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, were ICE fugitives, or were illegal reentrants.
  • In FY 2017, there was a 17 percent decrease in border removals, which shows the deterrent effect of strong interior enforcement.

The number of counties participating in the 287(g) program, which gives state and local law enforcement entities delegated authority by ICE to enforce immigration in their jurisdiction, has doubled.

In FY 2017, ICE conducted 226,119 removals. The proportion of removals resulting from ICE arrests increased from 65,332, or 27 percent of total removals in FY 2016 to 81,603, or 36 percent of total removals, in FY 2017.

The Trump Administration cracked down on sanctuary cities by improving the Administration of Federal grants to increase information sharing on illegal aliens.

SAFEGUARDING AMERICA’S COMMUNITIES:
President Trump protects American communities and restores law and order so Americans can feel safe in their communities.

The Department of Justice announced more than $98 million in grant funding to hire 802 additional full-time law enforcement officers.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to restore state and local law enforcement’s access to surplus Defense Department equipment through the 1033 program, including safety equipment.

The DOJ has worked with Central American partners to arrest and charge about 4,000 MS-13 members.

  • This includes the alleged leader of MS-13’s ‘East Coast Program.’

The Department of Homeland Security arrested 796 MS-13 gang members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the previous year.

President Trump signed three Executive Orders aimed at cracking down on international criminal organizations.

In June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of the new National Public Safety Partnership, a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crime.

ENHANCING BORDER SECURITY AND IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT:

  • The White House negotiated $1.6 billion in border wall funding.
  • Increase of more than 10% in ICE funding.
  • Federal agents have seized nearly 1 million lbs. (981,000) of narcotics on the border.

DEFEATING ISIS:

  • Signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to defeat ISIS.
  • In six months, nearly a third of all territory was reclaimed from ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
  • Iraqi forces have recaptured Mosul from ISIS, a decisive blow that moves us one step closer towards fulfilling President Trump’s commitment to their ultimate defeat.
  • In Iraq, ISIS lost its last town when U.S.-led coalition forces retook Raqqa.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

“I’m announcing my plan for immigration reform — to create a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values.

President Trump has weaponized deportation in ways that are costly, ineffective, and designed to maximize pain. It’s time to end this cruelty — and refocus on true threats to public safety and national security instead. As president, I will:

Decriminalize migration and refocus enforcement on serious criminal activity. Entering the country without authorization has always been a violation of civil immigration law, but thanks to a former segregationist Senator, it’s also a criminal violation. This additional criminal provision is totally unnecessary for border security, and for a century, it was rarely enforced. But since the early 2000s, it has been used to build and sustain a massive immigration detention complex. In 2016, over half of all federal criminal prosecutions were for immigration violations — more than prosecutions for terrorism, organized crime, hate crimes, or financial fraud. This obsessive focus ties up federal prosecutors and overwhelms federal courts. It’s costly and unnecessary. And under Trump, it has become increasingly abusive. We should repeal this criminal prohibition to prevent future abuse. As president, I will immediately issue guidance to end criminal prosecutions for simple administrative immigration violations; end Operation Streamline, which subjects migrants to mass prosecutions; and refocus our limited resources on actual criminals and real threats to the United States. I will also issue prosecutorial guidance to prioritize immigration cases with security concerns, and make sure government attorneys are properly exercising their discretion for individuals who pose no public safety risk.

Separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement to strengthen our communities. There are good reasons to keep immigration enforcement and law enforcement separate. When law enforcement is forced to also handle immigration violations, people are less willing to report crimes for fear of revealing their immigration status. Combining these functions sows distrust and harms public safety. As President, I’ll put in place strict guidelines to protect sensitive locations like schools, medical facilities, and courthouses from enforcement actions. I’ll expand programs that grant protections to immigrant victims of serious crimes who come forward and assist law enforcement. And I’ll end programs like 287(g) and “Secure Communities” that force local cops to enforce federal immigration laws so they can focus on effectively serving their communities.

Remake CBP and ICE in a way that reflects our values. Our immigration agencies should protect Americans and uphold the rule of law, not pursue punitive anti-immigrant policies that target communities of color. I’ll hold immigration enforcement to the same due process standards as other law enforcement agencies — no more warrantless arrests or stops deep in the interior of our country. I’ll reshape CBP and ICE from top to bottom, focusing their efforts on homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking. And to change the culture, I’ll insist on transparency and strengthen the authorities of independent internal watchdogs to prevent future abuses.

Create accountability for the abuse perpetrated during the Trump Era.President Trump and his Administration are comfortable looking the other way while criminal abuses of immigrants pile up. When I am President, I will not. I’ll designate a Justice Department task force to investigate accusations of serious violations — including medical neglect and physical and sexual assaults of detained immigrants — and give it independent authority to pursue any substantiated criminal allegations. Let there be no ambiguity on this: if you are violating the basic rights of immigrants, now or in the future, a Warren administration will hold you accountable.

Americans are rightfully horrified by scenes of chaos and abuse at our border. Separating parents and children and detaining families and other vulnerable populations is not only staggeringly expensive and inhumane, it has no proven deterrent effect. To end unnecessary detention and rebuild a more humane system, a Warren administration will:

End unnecessary detention. We already have the tools to effectively track and monitor individuals without shoving them into cages and camps along the border. As President, I’ll issue guidance ensuring that detention is only used where it is actually necessary because an individual poses a flight or safety risk. I will put additional layers of protection in place for certain groups, including asylum seekers, families and pregnant women, and LGBTQ+ people who are more vulnerable in a general detention facility. And I’ll enforce strict standards for remaining detention facilities, including for medical care and to end the use of solitary confinement.

Eliminate private detention facilities. There is no place in this country for profiting off cruelty. I’ll end the contracts ICE has with private detention providers, and push for legislation to permanently ban for-profit detention.

Expand the executive use of parole and invest in alternatives-to-detention. DHS has broad authority to parole individuals who are detained prior to their cases being heard in immigration court. Community-based alternatives to detention are safer, save money, and can be more effective at ensuring compliance. I’ll significantly expand successful programs, which include case management, referrals to legal and social services, and periodic check-ins and surveillance. These programs provide a measure of dignity for those in the system, and their expanded use would save over a billion dollars each year in unnecessary detention costs.

It’s not enough to merely correct the excesses of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. To prevent future abuses, we need to treat migrants moving through the system in a manner that reflects our Constitution and our values. A Warren administration will:

Establish professional, independent Article I immigration courts. DOJ both oversees the immigration court system and enjoys massive authority to manipulate those courts to implement the president’s immigration policy agenda. Immigration court rulings can even be overturned by the Attorney General — a fundamental conflict of interest exploited by Jeff Sessions. I’ll work to create a credible, independent system by passing legislation establishing Article I judicial review for immigration cases modeled on our federal courts. I’ll deploy smart efficiency measures, beginning by restoring judges’ ability to prioritize and manage their own dockets. And my administration will recruit highly qualified immigration judges with a diverse set of legal experiences so that everyone receives appropriate justice.

Eliminate expedited removal and provide due process. Due process ensures basic fairness for individuals attempting to navigate complex laws and prevents law enforcement and presidents from abusing authority. But most immigrants facing deportation do not have attorneys — and in the Trump administration, that even includes toddlers. In fact, one-third of deported immigrants never even see a judge: instead, the immigration officer serves as both prosecutor and jury. I’ll eliminate the use of expedited removal proceedings and guarantee hearings. I’ll call for creating a national-scale immigration public defender corps, and a Warren administration will provide access to counsel in immigration court.

Our laws and our values compel us to help those fleeing violence and oppression, but Trump’s racism has contributed to a climate of fear for those seeking refuge in our country. As president, I will:

Reject exclusionary policies based on race, religion and nationality. I’ll reverse Trump’s bigoted Muslim Ban on my first day in office. I’ll withdraw the Trump policy that forces immigrant families to choose between staying together and ensuring their children — many of whom are American citizens — have access to critical services. And I’ll reinstate Temporary Protected Status designations and Deferred Enforced Departure to protect individuals at risk in their home countries, including migrants from the Caribbean and Africa who have built lives and businesses in our country.

Raise the refugee cap. At a time when 70 million are displaced around the world, President Trump has abused his authority to lower the refugee cap for the United States, admitting just over 22,000 refugees in total last year. I’ll welcome 125,000 refugees in my first year, and ramping up to at least 175,000 refugees per year by the end of my first term.

Affirm asylum protections. We should welcome those fleeing violence, not imprison them in cages. As president, I will reverse Trump’s efforts to stack the deck against asylum applicants. I’ll ensure that asylum seekers can safely present themselves at ports of entry for humane, efficient processing, including by ending the metering and “Remain in Mexico” policies. I’ll restore President Obama’s promise to extend asylum for those fleeing domestic or gang violence and affirm asylum protections for gender identity and sexual orientation-based asylum claims. I’ll streamline processes to eliminate the backlog of individuals waiting for an asylum adjudication. And I’ll pardon those convicted of providing food and water to migrants — because no one should go to jail simply for providing humanitarian aid to another person in need.

As president, I’ll work to expand legal immigration. I’ll also take executive action to provide a measure of protection for those who are undocumented, while pursuing a legislative solution that provides a path to citizenship.

Expand legal immigration. America should welcome more legal immigration — done in the right way and consistent with our principles. We should use targeted immigration as a tool to create jobs and businesses and grow our economy. We should reflect our values, which means expanding family reunification and making it easier for relatives of citizens and green card holders to come to the United States. We should put American workers first by ensuring that workers already here get the first opportunity to fill any available positions. We should empower workers, not employers, by coupling any expansion of legal immigration with real accountability on employers who break the rules, exploit workers, or don’t adhere to basic labor standards. And we should be transparent and data-driven in our immigration policies, using the best available information to identify true needs in the labor force and to address those needs in a way that incorporates the input of both workers and companies.

Make it easier for those eligible for citizenship to naturalize. Today over 9 million green card holders are eligible to apply for citizenship but many have not chosen to naturalize due to unnecessary barriers, including the cost of applications, the complexity of the process, and administrative issues and backlogs. I’ll work to make it possible for everyone who is eligible to naturalize to do so.

Reduce the family reunification backlog. As many as 4 million immigrants who are otherwise eligible to come to the United States legally are prohibited because of by-country visa caps. My administration will redistribute unused visas to reduce this backlog and reunite more families with their loved ones. I’ll also urge Congress to repeal laws that make family reunification more difficult to achieve.

Repeal the 3- and 10-year bars. The law currently requires a person unlawfully in the United States to depart the country for three or ten years before they can apply for legal status. I’ll petition Congress to repeal that requirement. In the meantime, I’ll reinterpret “extreme hardship” to include family separation, making it easier to obtain a waiver allowing people to apply for legal status without having to leave the country for an extended period of time.

Provide a fair and achievable pathway to citizenship. For the good of our economy and our communities, it’s long past time to provide a path forward for the approximately 11 million undocumented individuals currently living and working in the Unites States. We should immediately reinstate the DACA program and protections for our Dreamers and their families. I’ll expand the program to cover more young people by extending the cut-off date, eliminating the arbitrary application age requirement, and extending the “minor” designation to anyone who was brought to the U.S. under the age of 18. But Dreamers have families and communities that are productive, longtime members of our American family and need protection too. The same is true of the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure holders. I’ll extend the individual exercise of discretion to offer deferred action protections to hardworking immigrants who have contributed to our country for years and have built careers and families here. And I’ll push for a far-reaching legislative fix that provides a fair but achievable path to citizenship for them.

Limit the penalties considered for status determinations. Part of focusing on real threats means distinguishing between actual criminals and law-abiding immigrants. We shouldn’t penalize people for prior convictions under statutes that criminalize border crossing for the purpose of status determinations. And we should establish a statute of limitations for how long a misdemeanor will be considered as part of an individual’s immigration adjudication. Citizens with minor, non-violent criminal records should not be permanently excluded from being a part of American society — and immigrants shouldn’t be, either.

Create an Office of New Americans. I’ll establish an Office of New Americans dedicated to supporting new immigrants as they transition into our society and economy, and task that office to draft a national strategy for integration. We should provide English, civics, and employment-focused classes and training for immigrants who want to enroll, and work with faith groups and other community organizations to provide support services for refugees and asylees, providing the tools to make it easier for newcomers to integrate into their communities.

Migration has spiked around the world, the result of poverty, climate change, violence and injustice. Migrants have come to our country fleeing natural disasters or conflicts that forced them from their homes.

In recent years, many have fled north from the Northern Triangle. But the solution to Central American migration isn’t placing children in cages, it’s stabilizing the countries that families are risking their lives to escape. Rather than addressing rampant corruption, criminal gangs, and some of the world’s highest rates of gender-based violence, President Trump has cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for programs that provide vital support.

We cannot fully address migration until we address its root causes. Now more than ever, the United States must reclaim its role as the world’s beacon of hope — and that means proposing bold and nuanced solutions to these complex challenges. As president, I will:

Restore and increase aid. I’ll commit at least $1.5 billion annually in aid to fully fund programs that target crime, disrupt trafficking, address poverty, reduce sexual violence, and enhance programs for at-risk youth in Central America and throughout our hemisphere — and I’ll rally the international community to match those funds.

Step up efforts to address transnational crime. A Warren administration will expand efforts to reduce corruption and improve the rule of law, investigate and prosecute human trafficking, employ targeted financial sanctions against drug kingpins and money launderers, and provide robust funding for efforts to counter gangs.

Inform and protect those seeking refuge. My administration will provide information about the right to seek asylum, reinstate the Central American Minors program, and coordinate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help resettle children and families who need protection. We’ll also do more to spread awareness about the dangers of attempting migration across borders to help prevent vulnerable people from being exploited along the way.

My Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act aims to harden the U.S. military against the threat posed by climate change, and to leverage its huge energy footprint as part of our climate solution. It starts with an ambitious goal: consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal, the Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030.

And there’s a lot more.

To improve readiness and resilience to climate-related events, we should also create a dedicated source of funding to adapt our bases in the United States and around the world. Let’s save money by budgeting for climate change on the front end, so that the Pentagon doesn’t have to ask for more only after a base is flooded or equipment damaged when natural disasters strike.

The DOD awards hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of contracts every year, so if we’re serious about climate change then industry also needs to have skin in the game. I’ll ask contractors that have not achieved net zero carbon emissions to pay a small fee — one percent of the total value of the contract — and I’ll use that money to invest directly in making our military infrastructure more resilient.

I’ll direct the Secretary of Defense to appoint a senior official within the Defense Department and each of the military services to ensure that, top to bottom, our military is prioritizing the climate threat.

And I’ll invest billions of dollars into a new, ten-year research and development program at the Defense Department focused on microgrids and advanced energy storage. The Pentagon has been responsible for countless technological breakthroughs, working together with colleges and universities, our national labs, local governments, and private companies. Let’s put that effort toward new clean energy solutions that will improve our security by allowing military bases to remain operational when traditional power sources fail, and save taxpayers money through lower overall energy consumption.

Finally, I want the Pentagon to produce an annual report evaluating the climate vulnerability of every U.S. military base at home and abroad, using real scientific methodology, so that we can make more informed plans moving forward.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld

(Has no plans posted related to homeland security)

Marianne Williamson

“I support legislative reforms that includes a full path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who do not have serious criminal background issues. I would also work to reduce the cost of naturalization and increase resources to help people navigate that process more easily.

  • I will work to overturn the three- and ten-year re-entry bars. Many people who would otherwise qualify for green card status due to a relationship with a citizen or permanent resident are in a heart-wrenching scenario if they leave to apply for a green card in their native country (as is currently required). They are subsequently not allowed to re-enter the United States for three or ten years, even if they are married to a U.S. citizen.  They can be separated from their families – for abiding by our laws!  This whole scenario traps people in undocumented status.  I will work to overturn this unnecessary hardship.
  • Children brought into the United States by their parents should not be punished for now being here. I fully support our DACA. Our dreamers represent the best about our future. I would also work to expand protections and naturalization to all undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, regardless of their current age. They came here through no fault of their own, and many are, in fact, unaware that they are undocumented.
  • My administration would reduce the record number of detainees currently under extended DHS and ICE control. I would work to close private detention centers and family detention centers. There are far more humane options that have been proven to work.
  • I would speed up our process of allowing asylum seekers to come here.  I believe we need to also stop forcing them to stay across the border before being processed. I would work to fund and authorize vast increases in Immigration Judges to move through our backlog of asylum seekers and other related cases.
  • I would expand protections for LGBTQ immigrants and asylum seekers, who experience discrimination here, as well as in their countries of origin.
  • I would work to assure all constitutional protections and due process are available to undocumented immigrants when it comes to deportation issues.
  • I will work to make affordable health care available to all of our families, whether they are documented or not..
  • I will increase border security intelligently through electronic surveillance and more patrol agents, rather than an ineffective and expensive wall.
  • I will seek a path to citizenship for all law-abiding, productive immigrants living in the United States.

I will push for legislative reforms that include a full path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who do not have serious criminal background issues. The cost of naturalization must also be reduced and resources increased to help people navigate that process more easily and humanely.

  • Civilized Path to Citizenship. Provide a timely, ethical, transparent and straightforward path to citizenship for all law-abiding, productive immigrants living in the United States.
  • Overturn the “three- and ten-year re-entry bar.” Many people who would otherwise qualify for green card status, due to a relationship with a citizen or permanent resident, are in a heart-wrenching scenario because they first have to leave to apply and wait for a green card in their native country (as is currently required). They are subsequently not allowed to re-enter the United States for three or ten years, even if they are married to a U.S. citizen. They can be separated from their families despite abiding by our laws. This scenario traps people in undocumented limbo and this unnecessary hardship must be overturned.
  • Support for DREAMERS. Children brought into the United States by their parents should not be punished. Working to expand protections and naturalization to all undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, regardless of their current age, will also be a priority. They came here through no fault of their own, and many are, in fact, unaware that they are undocumented. DREAMERS, who are covered under DACA, have lived in America most of their lives and deserve our support.
  • Reduce Number of Detainees. Reduce the record number of detainees currently under extended Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) control.  Private detention centers and family detention centers should be closed as there are far more humane options that have been proven to work.
  • End Family Separation.The Federal government has a moral responsibility to keep families together. For those that have been torn apart by the current administration, we must take immediate action to reunite children with their families.
  • Speed-Up Processing. For the benefit of the U.S. and asylum seekers alike, we must speed-up the process so our government can determine the validity of an asylum claim. It is necessary to fund and authorize a vast increase in immigration judges to adjudicate the backlog of asylum seekers and other related cases. As an example, asylum seekers at the southern border should not be forced to stay across the border before being processed.
  • LGBTQ Expansion Protection. LGBTQ immigrants and asylum seekers who experience discrimination here, as well as in their countries of origin, should receive expanded protection.
  • Guarantee Constitutional Protections.  Ensure that due process and constitutional protections are available to undocumented immigrants when it comes to deportation issues.
  • Access to Health Care. Make affordable health care available to all families, whether they are documented or not.
  • Real Border Security. Increase border security intelligently through electronic surveillance and more patrol agents, rather than an ineffective and expensive wall.”

Andrew Yang

“Advances in automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) hold the potential to bring about new levels of prosperity humans have never seen. They also hold the potential to disrupt our economies, ruin lives throughout several generations, and, if experts such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are to be believed, destroy humanity.

Technology is advancing at a pace never before seen in human history, and even those developing it don’t fully understand how it works or what direction it’s taking. Recent advances in machine learning have shown that a computer, given certain directives, can learn tasks much faster than humans thought possible even a year ago. We’re heading into this new world with no idea on how to regulate it, and a regulatory system that’s designed for technology that’s much less sophisticated than what we’re facing in the near future.

Technological innovation shouldn’t be stopped, but it should be monitored and analyzed to make sure we don’t move past a point of no return. This will require cooperation between the government and private industry to ensure that developing technologies can continue to improve our lives without destroying them.

Border security along our southern border has many issues that need to be fixed to provide security for Americans and equity in our immigration system. You need look no further than the stats on how many undocumented individuals are living in the US, or the amount of drugs that have been apprehended along the border (suggesting a much larger amount that’s made it through).

Many proposals would be expensive and ineffective, while also being ecologically disastrous. The issue has become politicized to the point where there doesn’t seem to be any possible compromise, but our leaders are focusing on single solutions instead of the solutions proposed by groups across the political spectrum.

When searching for solutions, we need to work with border security experts, immigrant advocates, and the Mexican government to provide effective, secure, humane border security.

See Andrew’s policies on a PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP, and on THE DREAM ACT, to get a more complete view of how Andrew would tackle the immigration and border security issue.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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