Warren’s New Immigration Plan Would Decriminalize Border Crossings

Warren would 'reshape CBP and ICE from top to bottom'

Sen. Elizabeth Warren / Getty Images

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has released a new immigration plan that would include decriminalizing crossing the border in a Medium post on Thursday.

"We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands. We need real reform that provides cost-effective security at our borders, addresses the root causes of migration, and provides a path to status and citizenship so that our neighbors don’t have to live in fear," the post reads, "That’s why today I’m announcing my plan for immigration reform — to create a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values."

Along with decriminalizing border crossings, Warren vows to "reshape CBP and ICE from top to bottom" to focus them on smuggling and trafficking, and to use methods of monitoring migrants outside of detention, such as parole, case management, and surveillance. She would also create an Office of New Americans, which would provide new citizens with "English, civics, and employment-focused classes and training."

Her plan includes raising the number of refugees by over 100,000 in her first year, expanding legal immigration, creating a pathway to citizenship for approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants, and repealing the requirement that someone in the US illegally must leave the country for three or ten years before they can apply for legal status.

Warren joins Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as frontrunners in the 2020 Democratic primary calling for decriminalizing border crossings and restructuring ICE. Former Vice President Joe Biden has not weighed in on those issues.

"I’ll work with Congress to pass broad-reaching reform, but I’m also prepared to move forward with executive action if Congress refuses to act," Warren says, adding, "we need big, structural change: a fair immigration system that preserves our security, grows our economy, and reflects our values."