Michael Bennet on Immigration
Democratic Presidential Challenger; CO Senator
BENNET: I disagree that we should decriminalize our border. I was part of the Gang of Eight, with John McCain, that wrote the 2013 immigration bill that passed the Senate with 68 votes, that gave a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people that are here, that would pass the most progressive DREAM Act that had ever been conceived, much less passed on the floor of the Senate, and had $46 billion of border security. Every single Democrat voted for that bill.
HARRIS: Laws on the books allow [kids of border crossers] to be incarcerated as though they've committed crimes. These children have not committed crimes and should be not treated like criminals.
BENNET: There's not a single person on this stage who would ever separate a child from their parents at the border. That is what this administration has done in the American people's name. They have turned our border into a symbol of nativist hostility.
A: I think they're driven by a profound anti-immigrant sentiment and a complete misapprehension of the contribution that immigrants and immigration has made to the United States of America. They see it as a negative force, immigration and immigrants as a negative force. I think the history is that it has been a positive force.
Bennet: As a member of the Gang of Eight, I was part of a bipartisan team that collaborated to fix our broken immigration system. Our comprehensive immigration reform bill included a path to citizenship for millions living in the shadows, as well as measures to strengthen border security and reform our outdated visa system. It passed the Senate with 68 votes, but Washington dysfunction got in the way and House obstructionists blocked a vote.
Buck countered that when he hears Bennet talk about immigration reform, he hears the word "amnesty," which got cheers from his supporters.
"You voted against more Border Patrol agents and finishing the fence on the border," Buck charged. "We don't need to send signals that if (illegal immigrants) can get here and stay in the shadows, we will excuse them in time."
Bennet replied, "You can call it amnesty if you want. I'm willing to call it (President) George Bush's policy in Texas as well as that of the Wall Street Journal for the past 10 years."
When asked for positions on the Dream Act, Sen. Bennet, who co-sponsored the bill, enthusiastically voiced his support while Buck stated he is opposed to the bill. Buck said we should not give people that have come to this country illegally the benefit of the Dream Act. Buck went on to criticize a portion of the bill that would allow an individual with two misdemeanors to still qualify for citizenship. "I consider two misdemeanor sex assaults, or two DUI's or other crimes to be serious, especially if they're committed by the time they are 18 or 19 years old." Buck said he does agree that he wants to give people the opportunity to become citizens, but that citizenship has to be earned.
Our economy and national security depend on stopping the political gamesmanship and creating a system that works. It is time for practical, comprehensive reform that fixes our immigration system as a whole--enhancing border security and creating sound policy solutions for undocumented immigration. I believe a comprehensive approach must include:
Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Continued funding of sanctuary cities '
Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants '
Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Full implementation of current border security laws'
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 is hereby terminated.
Proclamation 9844 issued by the president on Feb. 15, 2019: Declares a state of national emergency at the southern border to address the issues of illegal immigration and criminal trafficking into the US: "The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years. Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis."
Opposing the Proclamation (supporting the Resolution), ACLU press release, 2/15/2019 The ACLU issued the following statement upon filing a lawsuit: "By the president's very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall 'faster.' This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy."
Legislative outcome Passed House 245-182-5 roll #94 on Feb. 26; pass Senate 59-41 roll #49 on March 14; Vetoed by Pres. Trump; veto override failed, 248-181-3 (2/3 required), roll #127 on March 26
Legislative Summary:This bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China. The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.
Explanation from the Countable.US: Under the current immigration system, immigrants from any one country can claim no more than 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually to foreign nationals working in the U.S. This significantly disadvantages immigrants from larger countries that more immigrants come from.
For example, China (population 1.3 billion) and India have large backlogs of workers wishing to immigrate to and work in the U.S., but they have the name visa caps as countries such as Iceland or Estonia (population 1.3 million), which have both much smaller populations and far fewer citizens seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
The net effect of this is that immigrants from India and China can face decades-long waits, averaging 2-3 times the wait times for immigrants from other countries, for green cards, and many have to return home because they can't get permanent residency; meanwhile, countries such as Iceland and Estonia never come close to reaching their visa limit caps.
Legislative outcome Roll call 437 in House on 7/10/2019 passed 365-65-2; referred to Committee in Senate 7/9/2019; no action as of 1/1/2020.
The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (NO BAN Act) imposes limitations on the President's authority to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the US. It also prohibits religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions, such as issuing a visa. The President may temporarily restrict the entry of any class of aliens after determining that the restriction would address specific and credible facts that threaten U.S. interests such as security or public safety.
GovTrack.us analysis (4/21/21): President Donald Trump instituted a travel ban on eight countries: Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The Supreme Court upheld the travel ban 5-4 in the 2018 decision Trump v. Hawaii. Trump's travel ban was popularly nicknamed "the Muslim ban" by its Democratic critics since most of the countries it applied to were majority Muslim, and because Trump as a 2016 candidate had indeed proposed a Muslim ban. Regardless, President Joe Biden rescinded the policy on his first day in office. Currently, federal law bans any person from being discriminated against when entering the U.S. on the basis of five characteristics: race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence. The NO BAN Act would add another category: religion.
Rep. Tom McClintock in OPPOSITION: President Trump invoked this authority against countries that were hotbeds of international terrorism and that were not cooperating with the US in providing basic information about travelers coming from these countries. The left called it a 'Muslim ban.' What nonsense. Without this authority, the president would have been powerless to take simple, prudent precautions against terrorists and criminals from entering the US.
Legislative Outcome: Passed House 218-208-3 on April 21, 2021, rollcall #127; introduced in Senate with 42 co-sponsors but no further Senate action during 2021.
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AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
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AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.Mike Durant(R) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
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AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D)
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vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
vs.State Rep. Justin Olson(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
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vs.State Rep. Jerome Horton(D)
CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
vs.State Rep. Ron Hanks(R)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
vs.Challenger Joe Visconti(R)
vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
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IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
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