Where Do the Candidates Stand on Humanitarian Policy and Southern Border Management?


We asked the 2020 presidential candidates where they stood on humanitarian policy and Southern border management:

  1. How would you ensure the fair, humane, and efficient screening of migrants coming to the southern border of the United States?
  2. How would you address the root causes of migration that are resulting in more people fleeing from violence and persecution in the Americas region?

Here's where the candidates stand:

Candidates U.S. Asylum Capacity U.S. Humanitarian Law & Policy Root Causes of Central American Migration Global Refugee Protection Unaccompanied Children Family Separation
Michael Bennet
Michael Bennet (D)
star star star star star star
Joe Biden
Joe Biden (D)
star star star
Michael BloombergMichael Bloomberg (D) star star star
Cory Booker
Cory Booker (D)
star star star star star star
Steve Bullock
Steve Bullock (D)
star star star
Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg (D)
star star star star star star
Julián Castro
Julián Castro (D)
star star star star star star
Roque De La FuenteRoque De La Fuente (R) star
John Delaney
John Delaney (D)
star star star
Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard (D)
star star star
Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris (D)
star star star star star star
Amy Klobuchar
Amy Klobuchar (D)
star star star star star star
Wayne Messam
Wayne Messam (D)
Beto O'Rourke
Beto O'Rourke (D)
star star star star star star
Deval Patrick
Deval Patrick (D)
star star
Tim Ryan
Tim Ryan (D)
star star star star star star
Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders (D)
star star star star star star
Mark Sanford
Mark Sanford (R)
star
Joe Sestak
Joe Sestak (D)
star star star star
Tom Steyer
Tom Steyer (D)
star star star
Donald Trump
Donald Trump (R)
Joe Walsh
Joe Walsh (R)
star star
Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Warren (D) star star star star star star
William Weld
William Weld (R)
star star star
Marianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson (D) star star star star
Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang (D)

Legend:

The chart evaluates candidates’ plans to address the humanitarian situation in Central America and improve the U.S. operational capacity and legal framework for responding to migrants arriving at the U.S. border. The chart assesses candidates’ positions in six areas:

  1. U.S. Asylum Capacity: candidate supports improving the operational capacity of the U.S. asylum system to process cases fairly and efficiently.
  2. U.S. Humanitarian Law & Policy: candidate supports changes to U.S. law and policy to strengthen humanitarian law and protection.
  3. Root Causes of Central American Migration: candidate supports U.S. foreign aid and other initiatives that reduce violence, crime, and instability in Central America.
  4. Global Refugee Protection: candidate supports U.S. and international refugee protection and resettlement programs.
  5. Unaccompanied Children: candidate supports improving the treatment of and protection for unaccompanied children.
  6. Family Separation: candidate pledges to end family separation and zero tolerance policies or to improve the treatment of apprehended families.

AILA's Position:

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Americas region demands an effective approach that processes asylum seekers and other migrants coming to the U.S. border in an efficient and orderly way while ensuring due process and a meaningful opportunity for those who qualify for relief to seek protection. In stark contrast, the Trump administration’s policies constitute an unprecedented attack on U.S. asylum law, due process, and the nation’s longstanding humanitarian commitment to protect vulnerable individuals. If the current policies and practices are not immediately reversed, irreparable harm will be done to thousands more families, children, and others who deserve legal protection. The U.S. government should also improve and increase the capacity of its asylum corps and the immigration courts, and it should guarantee legal representation to migrants. In the long term, the federal government should invest in a coordinated strategy with other countries in the Americas to address the root causes of migration and provide a robust humanitarian response to those fleeing poverty, violence, and persecution, including initiatives that strengthen protections for refugees worldwide.

Candidates' Positions:

Michael Bennett (D)

In 2019, Sen. Bennet cosponsored S. 2113, the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which included improvements to asylum case processing. In August 2019, Sen. Bennet joined other senators in a letter expressing opposition to the Remain in Mexico Policy, or Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Sen. Bennet also signed an April 5, 2019 letter to President Trump opposing the administration’s funding cuts to the Northern Triangle countries. The letter states that current policy “undermines years of continuous bipartisan and bicameral Congressional efforts to increase the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance to Central America in order to ensure consequential change and address root causes of irregular migration to the United States.” He further expressed his willingness to work with Latin American leaders on the humanitarian crisis at a town hall meeting in May 2019. Sen. Bennet cosponsored S. 1445, the Central America Reform and Enforcement Act of 2019, which would increase refugee resettlement, ensure compliance with the Flores settlement agreement, and improve protections for unaccompanied children. In 2018, Sen. Bennet cosponsored S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act, which would end the policy of family separation at the border.

Joe Biden (D)

On improving the capacity of the U.S. asylum system, Mr. Biden has written: “Our asylum system needs to be improved, but the answer is to streamline and strengthen it so that it benefits legitimate claims of those fleeing persecution, while reducing potential for abuse.” He has also written that he will address the root causes of migration through “repairing cooperation and addressing shared regional challenges” in Central America. On September 12, 2019, he told ABC News that he would end the administration’s policy of family separation at the border. Mr. Biden does not have stated positions on reforms to U.S. humanitarian law, refugee protection, or protections for unaccompanied children.

Michael Bloomberg (D)

In a 2017 op-ed for his media company, Mr. Bloomberg wrote: “President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on border security rightly calls for more asylum officers and immigration judges.” In the same piece, Mr. Bloomberg also spoke of the need to address root causes of Central American migration by writing, “Enhanced cooperation with Mexico would help secure its southern border with Guatemala and Belize. Long-term investment in Central America’s governance and development is no less important, and it’s something that General John Kelly, [then] Homeland Security Secretary, advocated as head of the U.S. Southern Command.” In the same 2017 op-ed, Mr. Bloomberg expressed his clear opposition to the policy of family separation by saying, “Imposing this kind of cruelty on children runs counter to everything we stand for as a moral, compassionate and freedom-loving nation. The federal government should not be in the business of breaking up families, whether they are migrants apprehended at the border, or parents living here illegally with their American-born children.” In November 2019, Mr. Bloomberg was quoted as saying that “ripping kids away from their parents is a disgrace.” Mr. Bloomberg has not taken a position on U.S. humanitarian law and policy, refugee protection, or the protection of unaccompanied children, but he did raise $20 million for refugee protection at a 2017 fundraiser.

Cory Booker (D)

In response to AILA’s Survey, Senator Booker states:

I will fight to make sure that our immigration system treats immigrants with dignity because when people cross borders, they bring their human rights with them. On Day One of my presidency, I will begin to end the abuses of the Trump administration and use my executive authority to reform our immigration system. That starts with ending this administration’s Remain in Mexico and asylum metering policies, increasing the cap on refugees to a minimum of 110,000, and strengthening staffing at the border for interviews for asylum seekers and in-country refugee processing in Central America.

My plan to use executive action to address the crisis at the border would virtually eliminate our nation’s reliance on immigration incarceration, including ending the use of for-profit detention facilities. It would also create a presumption of liberty with a fair and humane bond process that ensures a fair bond hearing and takes into account the immigrant’s ability to pay when setting bond. As president, I will invest in alternatives to detention, including community-based management programs, that are cheaper, more effective and more humane than detention.

As president, I will appoint a Special Envoy at the State Department to lead Administration efforts and focus on the root causes of migration - corruption, violence, poverty, and climate change. Instead of slow-walking and proposing to cut the disbursement of crucial foreign aid funds to address the root causes of migration like the Trump administration has done, I would increase foreign aid to address the root causes of migration by a minimum of $1.5 billion, as outlined in the Central America Reform and Enforcement Act, which I have co-sponsored in the Senate. I would appoint a Special Envoy to focus on and prioritize addressing the root causes of migration by:

- Leading a comprehensive strategy to invest in democratic institutions and reduce corruption
- Reducing violence and crime
- Fighting poverty and supporting economic development
- Recognizing the role of climate change and identifying strategies to mitigate its effects on migration.

In 2019, Sen. Booker cosponsored S. 2113, the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which included improvements to asylum case processing. His platform states that he will end the asylum ban, and he signed an August letter opposing the Remain in Mexico Policy. Sen. Booker signed on to an April 5, 2019 letter to President Trump opposing the administration’s funding cuts to the Northern Triangle countries. In 2019, he cosponsored S. 1088, the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement Act, and his campaign website states he supports reinstating the Central American Minors program and increasing the annual U.S. refugee resettlement “cap” to a minimum of 110,000. He also cosponsored S. 1445, the Central America Reform and Enforcement Act of 2019, which would increase refugee resettlement, ensure compliance with the Flores settlement agreement, and improve protections for unaccompanied children.

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Steve Bullock (D)

Gov. Bullock would address the root causes of Central American migration by restoring aid to Northern Triangle countries and providing aid to organizations providing shelter to those at risk. Gov. Bullock supports improving refugee protection through the reinstatement of the “Obama-era pilot program ended by Trump that allows refugee applicants to apply for asylum in their home countries and, for those in immediate danger, for initial asylum in Costa Rica.” He has pledged to end family separation. He has not stated a position on reforms to U.S. asylum processing, U.S. humanitarian law, or protections for unaccompanied children.

Pete Buttigieg (D)

In his response to the AILA Survey, Mayor Buttigieg states:

We need to ensure that people who come to our border and are placed in government care are safe, first and foremost. The current system is not working, and it was never set up for the numbers of families and small children who are now crossing our border. We need to do something new. That’s why I’m proposing that, upon first arrival at the border, asylum seekers and other migrants will be sent to Health and Human Services (HHS)-run facilities rather than CBP processing centers. This would apply both to individuals who present themselves at ports of entry and to those who are apprehended by Border Patrol. These facilities will be maintained by personnel trained in health, trauma-informed care, and emergency aid, will be equipped for overnight accommodations, and will prioritize safety of the migrants. Those without a lawful basis for staying in the United States will be processed and then removed, but people who establish that they possess a credible fear of persecution will have full opportunity to seek asylum. This will allow CBP to return their focus to border management and enforcement tasks, unencumbered by the kind of care-taking they are not trained to do.

Further, we must reinstate our commitment to human rights globally by tearing down the barriers this administration has created to prevent people from seeking asylum in the United States. Metering, MPP, and the so-called Safe Third Country agreements are all meant to discourage asylum seekers. We should be protecting people who come here seeking refuge, not turning them away.

The United States must work towards reducing the push factors leading to the mass migration of people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. We should assist regional governments as they implement reforms and work to strengthen overall governance, including by supporting and emboldening civil society organizations dedicated to human rights, good governance, and democratic accountability. Through targeted investments, training, and allocation of resources, the U.S. should bolster and expand programs that build safety and opportunity in these countries. U.S. aid can be used to reduce violence and combat corruption, while strengthening human rights and the rule of law. This means increasing the capacity of community-based initiatives and other private-public partnerships that protect people, reduce violence and displacement, and provide economic opportunities. The aid should also support effective reintegration for people returning to their home countries—particularly children and families—to reduce the risk that they will be targeted for violence, forced to flee, or otherwise be displaced again.

Additionally, Mayor Buttigieg’s campaign website calls for the United States to “restore our global leadership in humanitarian relief for refugees.”

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Julián Castro (D)

In his response to the AILA Survey, Mr. Castro stated:

The way we hear the claims of asylum seekers and other migrants must be done in an efficient and orderly way, while ensuring due process and a meaningful opportunity for those who qualify for relief who seek protection. We must uphold our asylum laws, due process, and our nation’s humanitarian commitment to protect vulnerable individuals. We will immediately remove asylum “metering”, and the Remain in Mexico policy.

We will also protect victims of domestic and gang violence by reversing guidance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that prohibited asylum claims on the basis of credible fear stemming from domestic or gang violence.

In my People First Immigration Plan, I propose establishing a 21st century “Marshall Plan”. I will prioritize high-level diplomacy with our neighbors in Latin America to fight for higher standards of governance, transparency, rule of law, and anti-corruption enforcement. A Castro Administration will enlist all actors in Central America to be part of the solution to bolster economic development, protect labor rights, create environmentally sustainable jobs, target illicit networks and transnational criminal organizations, re-establish the Central American Minors programs. This entire effort will be focused on increasing support for bottom-up development and violence prevention programs.

Rep. Castro’s “People First” immigration platform calls for ending Remain in Mexico and the practice of “metering” for asylum seekers at the border and in so doing that he will ensure “all asylum seekers are able to present their claims at the border.” It further states that he will reinstate the Central American Minors program and end family separation and zero tolerance. His platform also calls for addressing the root causes of Central American migration through his 21st Century Marshall Plan for Central American, encompassing diplomacy, regional partnerships, and funding to spur economic development and prevent violence. Mr. Castro’s platform also includes support for increasing refugee admissions. He states that he opposes the administration’s effort to terminate the Flores settlement agreement. He also expressed his belief that the asylum ban is unconstitutional during a July 16, 2019, interview with Democracy Now.

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Roque De La Fuente (R)

In 2018, he tweeted to share his opposition to family separation, saying, “More than 500 migrant children are still separated from their parents. It’s been more than a month since court-ordered Trump administration to reunite children separate from their families.” Mr. De La Fuente has not stated a position on U.S. asylum capacity, humanitarian law and policy, the root causes of Central American migration, refugee protection, or unaccompanied children.

John Delaney (D)

In August 2019, Rep. Delaney presented his “Plan Central America” to address the root causes of Central American migration. He states that his plan is based on the U.S. government’s Plan Colombia and includes a regional cooperative governmental strategy, increased law enforcement training, and multilateral assistance for economic development. He supports protecting unaccompanied children under the 2008 TVPRA guidelines. Rep. Delaney tweeted his support for ending family separation on July 9, 2019.¬ He has not stated a position on reforms to U.S. asylum processing, U.S. humanitarian law, or refugee protection.

Tulsi Gabbard (D)

Rep. Gabbard supports improving asylum case processing through funding and equipping agencies in charge of processing asylum claims. In a March 6, 2017 statement, Rep. Gabbard supported increasing refugee protection through her opposition to the refugee ban. She demonstrated her opposition to zero tolerance and family separation by cosponsoring H.R. 6135, the 2018 Keep Families Together Act. She does not have a stated position on U.S. humanitarian law and policy, addressing the root causes of Central American migration, or protecting unaccompanied children.

Kamala Harris (D)

In 2019, Sen. Harris cosponsored S. 2113, the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which included improvements to asylum case processing. Her campaign website states that she will ensure people “fleeing persecution have a full and fair opportunity to make their claim.” She signed an August 27, 2019 letter opposing the Remain in Mexico policy and an April 5, 2019 letter to President Trump opposing the administration’s funding cuts to the Northern Triangle countries. She cosponsored the 2019 Central America Reform and Enforcement Act, which would improve refugee protection, require compliance with the Flores settlement agreement, and protect unaccompanied children. In 2019, she also cosponsored S. 1088, the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement Act. On June 18, 2018, she tweeted opposition to the family separation and zero tolerance policies.

Amy Klobuchar (D)

In 2019, Sen. Klobuchar cosponsored S. 2113, the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which included improvements to asylum case processing. She joined an August 27, 2019 letter opposing the Remain in Mexico policy. Sen. Klobuchar also signed on to an April 5, 2019 letter to President Trump opposing the administration’s funding cuts to the Northern Triangle countries. She cosponsored the 2019 Central America Reform and Enforcement Act, which would improve refugee protection, require compliance with the Flores settlement agreement, and protect unaccompanied children. In 2019, Sen. Klobuchar also cosponsored S. 1088, the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement Act. On May 27, 2019, she tweeted opposition to the family separation policy.

Wayne Messam (D)

Mr. Messam does not have established positions on humanitarian policy or management of the southern border.

Beto O’Rourke (D)

Mr. O’Rourke’s platform calls for improving asylum case processing by upgrading and increasing the staffing in the asylum system, streamlining how cases move through processing, and providing timely and fair asylum decisions. His platform also includes his support for restoring the U.S. asylum system by ending the Remain in Mexico policy. Mr. O’Rourke would address the root causes of Central American migration by partnering with the Northern Triangle countries in a “new and improved Partnership for Prosperity and Security,” investing $5 billion in non-governmental organizations, gathering multilateral financial support for economic development from international partners, addressing basic human needs of citizens, and increasing job and educational training. His plan also would improve refugee protection by working with Mexico and UNHCR to increase the capacity of Mexico’s refugee system, launching a regional refugee resettlement initiative, and reinstating the Central American Minors program. On August 21, 2019, Mr. O’Rourke tweeted his support for the Flores settlement agreement and opposition to the “cruelty” of the Trump administration’s newly proposed regulation terminating the Flores agreement. His platform states that he would end the practice of family separation.

Deval Patrick (D)

As the governor of Massachusetts in 2014, Mr. Patrick proposed accepting 1,000 unaccompanied minors who had crossed the southern border and caring for them at two sites in the state. He opposes the policy of family separation. Mr. Patrick has not publicly stated positions on U.S. asylum capacity, U.S. humanitarian law and policy, refugee protection, or the root causes of Central American migration.

Tim Ryan (D)

In his response to the AILA Survey, Rep. Ryan states for the first time public positions on reforms to the U.S. asylum processing system, U.S. humanitarian law and policy, and refugee protection:

We need to protect vulnerable refugees in need of safe haven. First, I would end the cruel policies designed to thwart asylum protections such as the Migration Protection Protocols and metering practices. Rather than waste billions of U.S. taxpayer money on a wall, I would direct resources to the USCIS Asylum Corps and Executive Office For Immigration Review so that asylum applications can be handled in a manner that protects the integrity of the asylum process and ensures due process. What we have today at the southern border is an assault on the rule of law by an anti-immigrant administration. I would end that and restore core American values to the asylum process.

America is a country that does great things. We certainly can solve the plight of refugees fleeing Central America. I would work closely with our regional partners to build democratic governments, free of corruption, that respect the rule of law and protect their citizens. I would reinstate programs closed by the Trump administration that were aimed at the root causes including the Central American Minors (CAM) program which enabled young people with claims to refugee status to apply in their home countries rather than embark on the dangerous journey north to the U.S.-Mexico border. I would work with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to organized regional refugee processing centers, thereby reducing the need for families flee north to the U.S.

Rep. Ryan has stated: “We have a responsibility in the United States to protect the American people and that means solving problems in Central America before they get to our borders.” In a June 20, 2018 press release announcing his support of H.R. 6135, the Keep Families Together Act, he expresses opposition to family separation. In a July 5, 2018 press release, he expresses concern for children who arrive at the southern border.

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Bernie Sanders (D)

In his response to the AILA Survey, Sen. Sanders states for the first time a public position on how he would increase the capacity of the U.S. asylum processing system, as well as elaborating on his other positions:

Bernie will end Trump policies such as “metering” and the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Bernie believes that no human being is illegal, and we should not treat families who travel thousands of miles to escape violence and misery as criminals. Securing our borders does not mean turning away weary asylum seekers who have made the arduous journey to America in search of peace and safety. Instead, we must live up to our ideals as a nation by welcoming refugees and those seeking asylum.

It is very clear that we are asking Border Patrol agents to serve a mission they are not equipped or trained for. The influx of families and children at the border calls for a humanitarian mission, including more health care workers, mental health specialists, legal counsel, and social workers, not more policing. As president, Bernie will instruct DHS to ensure arriving immigrants, especially children and families, are properly screened for humanitarian and immigration relief.

Bernie believes we must address the root causes of migration. Decades of disastrous U.S. foreign policy interventions and trade deals have contributed to the destabilization and poverty in Latin America. Bernie supports restoring and increasing aid to Central and South American nations, working to strengthen human rights, and funding programs to curb corruption, political repression, violence, and poverty.

As president, Bernie will bring together the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and other Central American countries in a hemispheric summit to address the root causes of the migration we are seeing. Bernie believes that trade policies should be written with the goal of lifting standards of living both in the United States and abroad, and must protect workers in all countries, not large multinational corporations. A Sanders Administration would end the destabilizing foreign policy decisions and trade deals that helped contribute to the crises we see in Central and South America today.

In 2019, Sen. Sanders cosponsored S. 2113, the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which included improvements to asylum case processing. Sen. Sanders joined a August 27, 2019 letter opposing the Remain in Mexico policy. He also signed on to an April 5, 2019 letter to President Trump opposing the administration’s funding cuts to the Northern Triangle countries. He cosponsored S. 1445, the 2019 Central America Reform and Enforcement Act, which would improve refugee protection, require compliance with the Flores settlement agreement, and protect unaccompanied children. In 2019, Sen. Sanders also cosponsored S. 1088, the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement Act. He opposes the “barbaric practice” of family separation.

In Sen. Sanders’ immigration platform, he states that he will “repeal 8 U.S. Code Section 1325, putting border crossings on par with other forms of immigration violations, such as overstaying a visa.”

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Mark Sanford (R)

A September 11, 2019 Axios article states that Rep. Sanford supports ending the policy of family separation. He does not have public positions on other aspects of humanitarian policy or southern border management.

Joe Sestak (D)

In his response to the AILA Survey, Rep. Sestak states for the first time positions on improving U.S. asylum law and asylum processing.

For one, I would look closely at the issue of evidentiary standards in asylum cases. Given what we know about the countries from which most migrants are coming, we must make it easier for asylum-seekers to establish that they have a credible fear of returning to their former country. We certainly also need more funding for immigration judges, courts, translators (including of indigenous languages), and legal assistance. The process needs to be much faster, much less opaque, and much more compassionate. I will again undertake a comprehensive review of the screening and detention and adjudication processes in order to develop a better way forward.

I would increase humanitarian and developmental aid to the countries from which most immigrants come, but primarily to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are actually doing work, not to corrupt local governments. I will also order the Department of Justice, Department of State, and our intelligence agencies to work together to determine how various actors are negatively impacting the situation on the ground in Central America, whether through illegal activities (drug trafficking, gang violence, illegal logging or mining, tax evasion, etc.) or legal ones (military and police training, legitimate business dealings, etc). We need to draw a clear picture of what is involved in the destabilization of countries like Honduras and Nicaragua if we’re going to help address the root causes of migration. We must realize that our policies can have a huge impact on life in these countries over the long-term. For instance, by failing to stand against the 2009 coup in Honduras, as our allies in the Organization of American States would have liked, and then failing to oppose the whitewashing elections that followed it, we helped permit another decade of illegitimate, corrupt governments that have been complicit in the country’s further slide into lawlessness and discord. As President, I will center human rights and respect for democracy and the rule of law in all of my foreign policy decisions.

Rep. Sestak’s platform prioritizes working with the international community to explore innovative solutions to address the “root causes of migration, including climate change, violence, corruption, and poverty.” He supports sending aid if we “do a better job of holding Central American officials accountable” for spending funds effectively, and ensure that any military and police training programs we offer to other countries center on “respect for due process and human rights.” Rep. Sestak’s platform also prioritizes ending “the shameful practice of separating children from their parents or guardians.” He does not have stated positions on protecting unaccompanied children or improving refugee protection.

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Tom Steyer (D)

At an August 27, 2019 campaign event in San Diego, Mr. Steyer stated his support for offering more foreign aid to the countries from which asylum seekers are fleeing. When the Trump administration announced its rule defying the Flores settlement agreement, Mr. Steyer tweeted on August 21, 2019, that “holding families indefinitely without due process is a violation of human rights.” Mr. Steyer also participated in and tweeted his support for the 2018 Families Belong Together march, in opposition to the policy of family separation. He does not have stated positions on reforming U.S. asylum processing or U.S. humanitarian law, or improving refugee protection.

Donald Trump (R)

In response to the AILA Survey, President Trump wrote the following:

President Trump recognizes the great contributions immigrants have made to American society, which is why he supports safe and lawful immigration to the United States. At the same time, President Trump is committed to border security and protecting Americans from the drugs and criminals that have crossed our border.

138,000 illegal immigrants with criminal histories were arrested by ICE last year alone while 5,000 pounds of heroin and nearly 1,800 pounds of fentanyl were seized by Border Patrol agents -- enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman, and child in this country. President Trump has ameliorated the number of illegal border crossings through his successful efforts to get Mexico to step up their immigration enforcement and his demonstrable success in beginning to build a barrier along our southern border.

Finally, President Trump understands that the humanitarian and compassionate way forward is to discourage illegal immigration. Since September, over 1% of Honduras’ population and 1% of Guatemala’s population have crossed our southern border. One-third of women are assaulted on the dangerous journey north while 70% of illegal immigrants are victims of violence and innocent children are being used as pawns by human traffickers. The status quo is unacceptable.

Without the help of Congress, one individual has taken action on immigration: President Trump. His actions are proving successful as Democrats continue to sit on the sidelines categorically rejecting border security and advocating for a dangerous agenda that would lead to open borders and lawlessness.

The Trump administration’s policies constitute an unprecedented attack on U.S. asylum law, due process, and the nation’s longstanding humanitarian commitment to protect refugees. Among the administration’s notable policies are the asylum ban, Remain in Mexico, the refugee ban, the establishment of a ceiling of 18,000 refugees for the U.S. refugee resettlement program for fiscal year 2020, the reduction of support for UN refugee programs, family separation, zero tolerance, a regulation that would eliminate the Flores settlement agreement, and the reduction in aid to Central American countries. Under President Trump, DHS has deployed more personnel and resources to the border to process asylum seekers, but DHS is now using CBP personnel to conduct asylum screenings, which will undermine fair and effective processing.

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Joe Walsh (R)

Mr. Walsh has made conflicting statements on family separation: On June 18, 2018, he tweeted: “I prefer zero tolerance to the eight years of Obama pretty much encouraging people to come to this country illegally.” However, on August 27, 2019, he told Judy Woodruff of PBS that he supports ending family separation for families seeking asylum and that he would devote more resources to adjudicate asylum cases because they are legal border crossings, saying “it’s our responsibility to hear those claims.” He does not have public positions on other aspects of U.S. humanitarian policy, root causes of migration, global refugee protection, protection for unaccompanied minors, or southern border management.

Elizabeth Warren (D)

In her response to the AILA Survey, Sen. Warren wrote the following:

Americans are rightfully horrified by scenes of chaos and abuse at our border. I visited the children and families in McAllen, Texas who were torn apart by President Trump’s cruel family separation policy. It was devastating. Our first priority should be reuniting children who are still separated from their parents, stopping the deportation of parents who have yet to be reunited with their children, and ending this inhumane policy. I’ve co-sponsored legislation that would help reunite families separated at the border, prevent parents separated from their children from being deported, keep families who’ve crossed our borders together, and protect children who have suffered because of these policies. I also opposed President Trump’s efforts to divert disaster relief funds to build a border wall.

I’ve called to end unnecessary detention at the border, end the use of private detention facilities, expand executive use of parole, and invest in alternatives-to-detention.

I’ve also opposed the Trump Administration’s move to start having Border Patrol agents conduct “credible fear” interviews. Border Patrol agents are not asylum officers and they shouldn’t get to determine who meets the “credible fear” standard for asylum.

We also must hold CBP responsible when agents violate immigrants rights. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation that would create a mandatory record-keeping process for all CBP stops and searches—for which there is currently no required record-keeping process, except in the case of an arrest or when an officer uses force. Tracking stops and searches will help us monitor CBP and hold agents accountable when they cross the line.

Migration has spiked around the world, the result of poverty, climate change, violence and injustice. Migrants have come to our country fleeing natural disasters or conflicts that forced them from their homes. In recent years, many have fled north from the Northern Triangle. But the solution to Central American migration isn’t placing children in cages, it’s stabilizing the countries that families are risking their lives to escape.

We cannot fully address migration until we address its root causes. As President, I’ll commit at least $1.5 billion annually in aid to fully fund programs that target crime, disrupt trafficking, address poverty, reduce sexual violence, and enhance programs for at-risk youth in Central America and throughout our hemisphere — and I’ll rally the international community to match those funds.

My administration will expand efforts to reduce corruption and improve the rule of law, investigate and prosecute human trafficking, employ targeted financial sanctions against drug kingpins and money launderers, and provide robust funding for efforts to counter gangs. My administration will also provide information about the right to seek asylum, reinstate the Central American Minors program, and coordinate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help resettle children and families who need protection. And we’ll do more to spread awareness about the dangers of attempting migration across borders to help prevent vulnerable people from being exploited along the way.

As president, I would also return the United States to the Paris Climate Accords in recognition of the role that climate change plays in exacerbating the migration crisis. We must go further than Paris to reduce global emissions, but we can only do that when we're leading from the front. That’s why I am an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal; and why I proposed a $3 trillion investment to combat climate change, including a new $100 billion federal program dedicated to working with foreign governments and companies to purchase and deploy American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology.

In 2019, Sen. Warren cosponsored S. 2113, the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which included improvements to asylum case processing. In her platform, Sen. Warren indicates that she will streamline processing of asylum cases and make it a “humane, efficient” process, in addition to calling for an end to Remain in Mexico and family separation. She also signed an August 27, 2019 letter opposing the Remain in Mexico policy. Sen. Warren has pledged to restore and increase foreign aid to the region to $1.5 billion with an additional $1.5 billion in matching international funds. She cosponsored S. 1445, the 2019 Central America Reform and Enforcement Act, which would improve refugee protection, require compliance with the Flores settlement agreement, and protect unaccompanied children.

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William Weld (R)

On July 15, 2019, Gov. Weld expressed his opposition to the administration’s proposed asylum ban: “Today’s rule is blatantly intended to slam the door on the vast majority of those seeking asylum from Central America, and I suspect the courts will have something to say about that […] The legal and moral obligation to welcome those legitimately seeking asylum in the U.S. is part of our basic fabric. How many of us are here today because our ancestors at some point made a difficult journey here to find better lives or to escape very real dangers?” On April 26, 2019, in an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio, he opposed President Trump’s withdrawal of aid to the Northern Triangle countries, and supports “a little bit of aid” for the region. During that interview, he clarified that he does not support the policy of family separation. He has not stated a position on reforming U.S. asylum processing, refugee protection, or protections for unaccompanied children.

Marianne Williamson (D)

Ms. Williamson’s platform includes her support to “speed-up” the processing of asylum claims. She would also restore the U.S. asylum system by ending the Remain in Mexico policy, stating that “asylum seekers at the southern border should not be forced to stay across the border before being processed.” Ms. Williamson expressed support for “massive humanitarian aid to the northern triangle countries” in an August 8, 2019 tweet. She would also end the practice of family separation. She does not have positions on improving refugee protection or protecting unaccompanied children.

Andrew Yang (D)

Mr. Yang does not have established positions on humanitarian policy or management of the southern border.