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Beto O'Rourke releases immigration reform plan

2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke on Wednesday unveiled a major immigration reform plan focused on tackling the Trump administration's most controversial decisions at the U.S.-Mexico border, reworking the immigration system and improving relations with Latin American nations.

Why it matters: By directly going after President Trump on an extremely hot-button issue, O'Rourke is attempting to position himself as somebody who can take on the president on an issue that deeply matters to many Americans.

  • This is the second major policy plan O'Rourke has released after his climate change proposal, which hinges on a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The state of play: O'Rourke blasts Trump's immigration moves — specifically family separation — as "cruel and cynical policies are sowing needless chaos and confusion at our borders and in our communities." The most immediate tenets of his plan include:

  • Ending the practice of family separation.
  • Rolling back executive orders that make the asylum process much more difficult to navigate for migrants fleeing violence.
  • Repealing Trump's travel ban and border wall funding.
  • Stopping the deportation threat for people already in the U.S. under the DACA and TPS programs.

The plan also includes a push to move toward a comprehensive legislative solution for immigration and naturalization during O'Rourke's first 100 days in office. That plan includes:

  • Creating a pathway to citizenship to those in the U.S. under DACA and TPS.
  • Reforming the U.S. immigration and naturalization system to focus on families, specifically creating a "community-based visa" that would be meant to welcome groups of refugees.
  • Eliminating financial and bureaucratic barriers to naturalization so that people waiting to become U.S. citizens can do so faster and cheaper.

The big picture: O'Rourke also proposes working with neighboring countries in Latin America to improve their internal situations, stemming the flow of refugees and tackling corruption in the region.

Go deeper: Beto O'Rourke on the issues, in under 500 words