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Sanders and Warren Earn Highest Grades on Immigration Justice Scorecard by Texas-Based Rights Group

"Over the past four debates, the media has refused to ask questions about this important issue... We have decided to break down the policies to inform voters where candidates stand."

The immigration justice group RAICES Action graded the four remaining major Democratic presidential candidates and President Donald Trump on their immigrant rights agendas. (Photo: RAICES Action)

As Texans and voters in 13 other states headed to the polls Tuesday in the Democratic primary election, the Texas-based migrant rights group RAICES Action Fund released an immigration scorecard for the candidates that determined Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are best-suited to enact a fair immigration justice agenda.

The group's 2020 Migrant Justice Platform Candidate Score Card graded both Warren and Sanders with a B- for their commitment to imposing a moratorium on deportations, ensuring immigrants have access to legal counsel, and curbing the power of the CBP and ICE agencies.

"Over the past four debates, the media has refused to ask questions about this important issue, and when they did, they ran out of time," tweeted RAICES Action. "This is unacceptable given all the non-stop xenophobic and racists attacks towards immigrants by the Trump administration. Because of that, we have decided to break down the policies to inform voters where candidates stand."

RAICES Action assessed the immigration policy platforms of the four remaining major Democratic presidential candidates—Sanders, Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg—as well as President Donald Trump, whose anti-immigration policies have drawn condemnation from human rights groups and the United Nations.

The scorecard is divided into three sections: the candidates' plans for policies affecting immigrants in the U.S., policies affecting those who try to cross the southern U.S. border, and policies affecting people who are abroad.

Warren and Sanders both scored high marks in a number of areas where other candidates failed. Both got credit for pledging to:

  • Decouple federal immigration enforcement from local law enforcement.
  • Establish an Access to Justice order for immigrants and asylum seekers.
  • End expedited removal, under which low-level immigration officers can quickly deport undocumented immigrants.
  • End three- and ten-year bars, which bans immigrants from re-entering the U.S. if they've accrued so-called "unlawful presence" and then left temporarily.

Warren and Sanders each also earned points in some categories where the other did not; RAICES applauded Warren for her commitment to establish an inter-governmental task force that would investigate white supremacy-related activity in U.S. immigration agencies, and credited Sanders with pledging to allow people unjustly deported by the Obama and Trump administrations to return to the United States.

"We applaud those candidates who have made an effort to change course on immigration and to get away from the enforcement tactics that the last democratic administration, and the current anti-immigrant administration implemented," said RAICES.

Biden earned a C+ for his immigration agenda, while Bloomberg and Trump both received F grades. Bloomberg earned points in only seven out of 34 categories.

Immigration was listed as the top concern for Texas voters in a poll by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune last fall, and Latinx people make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the state's population. By 2022, Latinx voters are expected to make up 25% of the Texas electorate. 

RAICES Action said it plans to engage with candidates and push them to adopt all aspects of the group's Migrant Justice Platform, including expanding work authorization for undocumented immigrants through executive action, establishing a truth and reconciliation commission for migrant deaths and family separation, and restructuring CBP with a "fundamentally humanitarian mission and social services capacities."

"We encourage all candidates to support the Migrant Justice Platform as a whole to get an A+," tweeted RAICES Action. "Encourage the campaigns to do better on immigration and to not shy away from talking about the issue."

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