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Cory Booker on Immigration

Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)

 


Decriminalize border crossings and treat people humanely

Rep. Julian Castro: Repeal Section 1325 of the Immigration Nationality Act [which is the legal basis for criminalizing border crossings instead of treating them as a civil violation].

V.P. Joe Biden: If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It's a crime.

Booker: No, we are not going to just let people cross the border. An unlawful crossing is an unlawful crossing, if you do it in the civil courts or the criminal courts. The criminal courts is what is giving Donald Trump the ability to violate the human rights of people coming to our country. Doing it through the civil courts means that you won't need these awful detention facilities that I have been to; seeing children sleeping on pavement, people being put in cages, nursing mothers, small children.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

We should not pit some immigrants against others

Joe Biden: This country can tolerate a heck of a lot more people. And the reason we're the country we are is we've been able to cherry pick from the best of every culture. Anybody that crosses the [border] with a PhD, you should get a green card for seven years. We should keep them here.

Booker: This really irks me because I heard the vice president say that if you got a PhD., you can come right into this country. That's playing into what the Republicans want, to pit some immigrants against other immigrants. Some are from sh-thole countries and some are from worthy countries. We need to reform this whole immigration system and begin to be the country that says everyone has worth and dignity and this should be a country that honors for everyone.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Make major investments in the Northern Triangle

Secretary Julian CASTRO: [On immigration, we should] get to the root cause of the issue, which is we need a Marshall Plan for Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador.

Sen. Cory BOOKER: [SPEAKING IN SPANISH]: The situation right now is unacceptable. This president has attacked, has demonized immigrants. [SWITCHING TO ENGLISH]: I will make sure that, number one, we end the ICE policies and the Customs and Border Policies that are violating the human rights. When people come to this country, they do not leave their human rights at the border. Number two, I will make sure that we reinstate DACA, that we reinstate pathways to citizenship for DACA recipients. And then, finally, we need to make major investments in the Northern Triangle, not like this president is doing, by ripping away the resources we need to actually solve this problem. We cannot surrender our values and think that we're going to get border security. We actually will lose security and our values. We must fight for both.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Get rid of section 1325 & deal with ICE abuses at home

Julian CASTRO: We see all of this horrendous family separation. They use that law, Section 1325, to justify under the law separating little children from their families. I want to challenge every single candidate on this stage to support the repeal of Section 1325.

Cory BOOKER: I agree on that issue, but folks should understand that the separation of children from families doesn't just go on at our border. It happens in our communities, as ICE are ripping away parents from their American children, spouses and the like, and are creating fear in cities all across this country. We must end those policies, as well. I have been to some of the largest private prisons and their immigration lockups. Our country has made so many mistakes by criminalizing things, whether it's immigration, whether it's mental illness, whether it's addiction. We know that this is not the way to deal with problems. There is a humane way that affirms human rights and human dignity and actually solves this problem.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Intervene in refugees' home countries; reform asylum process

We should be making sure that those countries that are going through crises that are causing all this immigration that we're doing more to intervene, to support human rights and basic dignity in those countries. That's a lower cost way to deal with it than to have the horrors of these families with small children trying to make thousands of miles journey to come through our borders. At our border, we need to make sure that we have an asylum system that actually works.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interviews of presidential hopefuls , Apr 21, 2019

Support DREAMers, reform immigration to reflect our values

DREAMers are Americans in every way except for the piece of paper. When I become president, immediately I'm going to reverse Trump's actions and gives those DACA folks a pathway to citizenship. But we need comprehensive immigration reform. The kind of thing that's going on is a direct abuse to our values. I will change that as your president, affirm our values, and create an immigration system that keeps us safe and works in accordance to our values, as well.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 27, 2019

Supports DACA and DREAMers

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 1, 2019

Welcome Syrian refugees and fight any bans

Sen. Cory Booker, rejecting arguments from Gov. Chris Christie and other Republicans, said Syrian refugees should be welcomed into the country. "It belies who we are as a nation to turn them away," Booker said. "It's an insult to our history. It's unacceptable to me."

In the wake of the Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris, Christie and other Republican governors have said they won't accept any of at least 10,000 Syrian refugees that President Obama wants to allow to emigrate to the U.S. "I will fight anyone who wants to shut down this nation's open arms," Booker said.

Booker said that any refugee wanting to settle in the U.S. undergoes a background check of 18 months to two years. "There's a thorough vetting process,'' he said.

Booker was among the U.S. senators last month who supported emergency funding to help Syrian refugees. Booker was among the lawmakers in October who urged Obama to make it easier for refugees to reunite with relatives already in the U.S.

Source: Newark Star-Ledger, "Refugee Ban Belies Who We Are" , Nov 17, 2015

Blocking the DREAM Act is crazy; it's how we built America

[Commenting on the Republicans' blocking passage of the DREAM Act], "These are people who want to serve in the military and get educated. Forget the politics. It's the pragmatism of it. We are a nation that has built our country on immigrants from Einstein to some of our greatest scientists have been people coming in. And to tell people who have been through high school and high school presidents going to college [and who have served on the front lines] this is crazy."
Source: Interview with NBC News' Andrea Mitchell , Dec 19, 2010

Against involving city police in immigration matters

To the revelation that a suspect in the Newark shootings, Jose Lachira Carranza, is an illegal immigrant from Peru who could have been detained by federal immigration authorities after he was arrested three times on criminal charges. A national chorus reacted with horror to the Aug. 4 killings at a playground here. The mayor of NewarkCory A. Booker, has tried to keep the public discussion focused on his main goal: reducing the crime rate. Mr. Booker said he was frustrated that Mr. Carranza had been fr responding to the debate surrounding the suspect's illegal status, has come out firmly against involving city police in immigration matters. He said such a role would hurt relationships with what he called "the most marginalized and vulnerable people within our community."

"My Police Department does not play an I.N.S. function," Mr. Booker said. "We are not to be running around doing interrogations about whether someone is documented or not."

Source: Kareem Fahim in New York Times, "Newark Triple Murder" , Aug 19, 2007

Provide lawyers and evidence for children being deported.

Booker co-sponsored S.2540/H.R.4646

This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall provide an alien in removal proceedings with all relevant documents in its possession, unless the alien has knowingly waived the right to such documents.
  • DOJ may appoint or provide counsel to aliens in any INA proceeding.
  • DHS shall ensure that aliens have access to counsel inside all immigration detention and border facilities.
  • DOJ shall appoint counsel, at government expense if necessary, for an unaccompanied alien child or a particularly vulnerable individual.
  • DHS shall establish a pilot program to increase the court appearance rates of unaccompanied alien children and particularly vulnerable individuals by contracting with nongovernmental, community-based organizations to provide such aliens with case management services.
    Source: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act 16-S2540 on Feb 11, 2016

    Terminate national emergency at the Southern border.

    Booker voted YEA Joint Resolution on Proclamation 9844

    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

    Source: Congressional vote 19-HJR46 on Feb 26, 2019

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    Page last updated: Oct 20, 2020