Sanders: Illegals here for five years should win a prize

All the Democratic candidates have some sort of immigration reform plan. For example, Elizabeth Warren recently said she’s looking at using the power of the phone and the pen to just stop all deportations until a massive amnesty plan is passed. Bernie Sanders is putting a little bit of a spin on that idea, however. His plan to deal with illegal aliens is basically… Fugget About It. Well, at least if they’ve been here for five years. (NY Times)

Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday called for ending virtually all of the Trump administration’s immigration policies and creating a “swift, fair pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, including by allowing people who have been in the United States illegally for five years to stay without the risk of deportation.

Mr. Sanders’s immigration proposals are among the most progressive offered by a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to date and, should they be enacted, would substantially reshape federal policy.

The initial announcement sounded a bit vague, but Sanders went on to provide more specifics. On his first day in office, he would take a page from Warren’s playbook and use executive orders to undo virtually everything Donald Trump has ordered on immigration issues. He would also issue an immediate moratorium on all deportations until a “thorough audit” of the system was completed. (I assume this includes illegal aliens convicted of more serious crimes since he said “all.”)

Beyond that, he plans to “break up” Immigration and Customs Enforcement, handing off immigration enforcement duties to unspecified units in the Justice and State departments. Who they’re going to find at State with that sort of experience in dealing with border incursions remains a mystery.

Of course, they may not need to worry about it anyway. His next plan is to immediately “decriminalize” illegal border crossings and treat them as a matter of civil law. I suppose if that’s the case we really don’t need anyone guarding the border, do we? This is yet another page taken straight from the playbooks of Warren and Julian Castro.

Many of these ideas have long been standard fare for Democrats. While saying they don’t support open borders with their fingers crossed behind their backs, they suggest an immigration policy that’s reminiscent of the childhood game Red Rover, Red Rover. Sure, jumping the border is technically illegal, but if you make it across you’re welcome to hang out. And if you can avoid ICE (who may not exist anymore anyway) for five years, we’ll give you a green card and eventually the chance to vote for the Democrats.

While plenty of people express sympathy for migrants and asylum seekers, the fact is that polling has consistently shown that most Americans don’t approve of open borders or illegal immigration. Attempts by Democrats to conflate “immigration” with illegal immigration haven’t done much to move the needle. And if this is the sort of immigration platform that the eventual Democratic nominee is going to run on, Trump is going to eat them alive at the debates.