Bernie’s immigration plan may be far left, but it is humanitarian

Restoring immigrants’ dignity

Julie Cantero-Valente, Staff Writer

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders outlines what his first day as president would look like if he were to win the election on his website, stating that his first move would be to “overturn all of President Trump’s actions to demonize and harm immigrants on the first day of his presidency.”


On Nov. 7, Sanders released his detailed immigration plan which, while among the first to be released by a Democratic candidate, has not received much media attention. 


As a topic that has been highly controversial in recent media, it is surprising that this is not an issue gaining more traction in the 2020 national elections. Especially with increased ICE raids, and the U.S. becoming the country with the highest number of child detainees, more attention should be given to the immigration plans of hopeful presidential candidates.


Sanders’ immigration plan is reflective of the American left’s push for more humanist politics, presenting plans that uplift the dignity of all people and protect individuals seeking refuge and opportunity within the United States.


The progressiveness of Sanders’ immigration plan is unsurprising in light of his other views, such as making college free and cancelling student debt. 


Listed below are the key points of Sanders’ lengthy immigration plan, taken directly from his campaign website:

  • Institute a moratorium on deportations until a thorough audit of past practices and policies is complete.
  • Reinstate and expand DACA and develop a humane policy for those seeking asylum.
  • Completely reshape and reform our immigration enforcement system, including breaking up ICE and CBP and redistributing their functions to their proper authorities.
  • Dismantle cruel and inhumane deportation programs and detention centers and reunite families who have been separated.
  • Live up to our ideals as a nation and welcome refugees and those seeking asylum, including those displaced by climate change.

If voters who claim to care about issues of immigration and protecting immigrants in the United States actually do care, they should take into consideration what kind of plans and details presidential candidates have — or don’t have. 


While Sanders is not the first to come forward with an immigration plan, he is the most articulate and thoughtful. Other candidates must join Sanders by creating substantive plans of their own. 


While Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems to agree with much of Sanders’s plan, she does not go to the same extremes that Sanders does in her proposed immigraiton solutions — namely, abolishing ICE. Sanders is the only candidate with a plan that explicitly and concretely states that ICE will be eliminated. 


As immigration is a highly contentious issue, his is a bold stance for a candidate to take. Regardless, Sanders still chooses to endorse a humanitarian philosophy. He is among those demanding justice for immigrants, both documented and undocumented, even though his radical policies might cost him the election.


Sanders’ plan is important and relevant not only to immigrants in the United States, but also to all American residents who believe that the U.S. should be a safe haven for anyone looking for improved quality of living.