Kamala Harris' New Immigration Plan Would Provide Citizenship to Dreamers

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) released a new immigration plan on June 12 as part of her campaign for the presidency. Her strategy would rely on using executive action to stop the threat of deportation for undocumented immigrants and provide Dreamers a path to citizenship.

The proposal would protect up to six million undocumented immigrants from being deported and would give 2.1 million Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.

“Dreamers grew up in our communities and pledge allegiance to our flag. They serve in our military and thrive in our universities. Their families are an integral part of our country and economy,” the plan reads. “They represent the best of who we are and know no other place but the United States as their home.”

The plan would reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. President Donald Trump attempted to end the program in 2017, and the policy is now in the middle of a court battle, Reuters previously reported.

Under the proposed plan, Harris would expand the DACA program by eliminating a requirement that Dreamers need to apply for eligibility before they turn 31-years-old. The plan would raise the time of entry from 15-years-old and under to 17-years-old and under, which would allow Dreamers who are under the age of 15 to apply for protection from deportation with parental or guardian consent. This initiative would increase the amount of time the DACA program protects Dreamers to three years.

Harris’s plan would also give the parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents protection from being deported. The deferred action program will also protect undocumented immigrants who are law-abiding citizens “with ties to their communities.” This expanded approach would “consider factors such as service in the military, extended residence in the United States, and whether an individual has deferred action-beneficiary children, spouses, or parents.”

The Democratic presidential candidate said she would also use executive orders to create a “Dreamers Parole-in Place Program.” The program would help Dreamers who have a spouse and is a US citizen obtain a green card more easily and allow DACA recipients to retroactively apply for work authorization.

“We should not be tearing apart immigrant families. Unlike in the past, [a Harris] administration will focus our enforcement resources on those who actually pose a public safety threat, not families, veterans, and individuals contributing to our communities,” the plan reads.

Harris has released other plans and reforms that she plans to execute if she is elected into office. In April, the California Senator released a gun control proposal that she promised to pass during her first 100 days in office if Congress failed to pass gun control legislation.

“Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws. And if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action,” Harris previously said during a CNN town hall at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.

Other Democratic candidates have released their own immigration plan. In April, Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro released his immigration plan called the People First Immigration Policy on April 2.

Similar to Harris’s plan, Castro’s plan would also provide a path to US citizenship for undocumented immigrants. His plan would also fix the visa system as well as get rid of Trump’s Muslim and Refugee Ban.

Castro said if he is elected president, he would repeal Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which criminalizes entering the US illegally. The former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary said that the provision allows the government to separate families from their children at the border. He also proposed investigating the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

During an interview with The New Yorker, Castro said that he comes from a family of immigrants and talked about his grandmother who came to the US when she was 7-years-old in 1922. While living in the US, Castro said his grandmother worked as a babysitter, a cook, and a maid. She was also a single mother to Castro’s mother.

“She worked very hard,” Castro previously told the publication about his grandmother. “It was this classic American Dream story.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.