By Michael Oleaga – – – –
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ extensive immigration proposals have been met with positive reaction from Latino and immigrant-rights groups.
As Latin Post reported, Sanders reiterated his support for congressional comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, the end to private family detention centers, offer humane treatment and asylum to domestic violence victims and minors and ease militaristic border enforcement with technology.
Taking on a similar stance as fellow Democratic presidential challengers Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley, Sanders finally confirmed he will issue additional immigration execution office — if elected president. Sanders, however, was specific about the possible executive action, which would grant deferred action to nine million eligible undocumented immigrants. Sanders said his executive action will take place only if the congressional gridlock on immigration continues.
“We welcome Sen. Sanders commitment to solving the immigration crisis in our country that continues to tear families apart and keeps millions of hard working immigrants in the shadows,” saidBen Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota (MFV), a nonprofit civic engagement organization. “His immigration plan is detailed and substantive and, most importantly, it focuses in protecting family unity and on giving a path to citizenship to millions of immigrants.”
Monterroso highlighted Sanders’ plan to have the federal government handle immigration enforcement instead of local law enforcement agencies. But MFV’s praise of Sanders’ plan is not necessarily an endorsement of the presidential candidate. The executive director also praised fellow Democrats Clinton and O’Malley, saying they “understand the value and importance of the Latino vote and are willing to engage in substantive conversations with out community.” MFV will continue reviewing all candidates’ policy proposals that affects Latinos.
Monterroso also criticized Republicans, stating, “The Republican candidates, meanwhile, want to deport us and slam the door to new immigrants and those seeking asylum in our nation. Judging by words alone, we know who is on our side and deserves our consideration and who does not at election time.”
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) welcomed Sanders’ plan from both an administrative and legislative perspective. NDLON Executive Director Pablo Alvarado applauded that Sanders prefers to tackle immigration through congressional legislation.
“His promise to maximize use of executive branch authority immediately will help advance political equality for immigrants,” Alvarado said in a statement. “Administrative reform should not be conditioned on Congressional inaction or a wait-and-see approach with the courts. Legislative reform has been held hostage for over a decade by xenophobes in Congress. Providing status for all who would have qualified for the 2013 [Senate comprehensive reform] bill is the least that we expect from the next president.”
Alvarado also commended the reform plan from an economic view, taking on the interest of immigrant and U.S.-born workers. The NDLON executive director also recognized Sanders’ plan to grant visas to immigrant whistleblowers who report labor violations.
Alvarado, however, criticized both Democrats and Republicans for allowing the exploitation of immigrants.
“Part of the reason why we aren’t making progress on immigration reform as a country is because demagogue politicians profit politically by scapegoating immigrants during elections… And Democrats have historically profited too,” Alvarado said. “It is unacceptable for Democrats to simply sit back and profit politically from the Trump Effect on the Republican primary by claiming that they are in favor of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Senator Sanders has put forth a serious plan that deserves attention, scrutiny, and debate.”