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Bloomberg Campaign Press Release - Mike Bloomberg Announces Plan to Reform America's Outdated Immigration System

February 10, 2020

Mike's Plan Will Protect Dreamers, End Family Separation at the Border, Rescind the Travel Ban and Make Immigration Work for America's Economy and Communities

Today Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is releasing his plan to modernize the United States' broken immigration system and make immigration work for America's economy and communities. Mike's plan will restore American values and end inhumane practices — championed by President Trump — that are ineffective, wasteful and cruel, like separating families, caging children and rescinding protections for Dreamers. His plan will modernize ports of entry and implement sensible enforcement priorities to protect national security while also welcoming immigrants. Mike's plan opens America's doors to the immigrants that our communities and economy need and gives new Americans and their neighbors the tools they need to thrive.

"President Trump's demonization of immigrants and his fueling of fear and hatred are an ugly chapter in American history that we must close," said Mike Bloomberg. "The fact is that immigration doesn't threaten America, it strengthens America. I led our nation's immigrant capital for 12 years and I know how much immigrants strengthen our economy and communities. America doesn't need more of Trump's fear mongering – what we need is a modern immigration system that honors our history and readies us for the future and, as president, I'll get it done."

America's Immigration System is Outdated, Inhumane and Does Not Position the U.S. for Growth

The U.S. immigration system is outdated, costly and inhumane. Federal spending on immigration enforcement — including detention and deportation — now outpaces spending on all other federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a 2019 report from the Migration Policy Institute.

Further, Trump has diverted billions in military funding to pay for an ineffective border wall, while wait times caused by inefficiencies at U.S.-Mexico ports of entry could cost the U.S. $69 billion in GDP. A USA TODAY Network investigation found that, since President Trump took office, there have been more than 400 allegations of sexual assault or abuse and at least 29 fatalities in detention facilities overseen by ICE. Trump's cruel and incompetent policies have ripped families apart, created chaos at the border and paralyzed an already inefficient system.

Mike's Plan to Welcome Immigrants, Restore Order and Accountability, and Modernize America's Immigration System

Mike will end policies that run counter to American values. His plan:

  • Rescinds the travel ban that Trump recently expanded.
  • Ends family separation, establishes rigorous safeguards for children and promotes alternatives to detention for individuals who pose no threat to public safety.
  • Protects Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.
  • Orders the Department of Justice to investigate abuse at ICE and CBP and reforms the agencies to ensure oversight and accountability.
  • Sets the annual refugee resettlement target at 125,000. Trump has lowered the refugee cap to 18,000, the lowest since the program was created in 1980.
  • Restores fairness and timeliness to the asylum process.

Mike will eliminate wasteful and ineffective policies. His plan:

  • Ends Trump's wasteful effort that has sapped military funding to pay for an ineffective border wall.
  • Protects the border through smart, effective security measures and upgrades U.S. ports of entry.
  • Implements sensible immigration enforcement priorities that promote public safety and national security.
  • Reduces the inefficient immigration court backlog.
  • Clears the naturalization backlog and helps more qualified immigrants become U.S. citizens.

Mike will create an immigration system that works for our communities and economy. His plan:

  • Protects workers from displacement, exploitation and labor violations.
  • Creates an earned pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people to come forward, register, pay fees and taxes owed, and pass background checks.
  • Makes employment-based immigration more responsive to economic needs, preserves family and diversity immigration, and reduces backlogs that keep families apart.
  • Creates place-based visas that will allow localities to address unmet economic and social needs.
  • Creates a start-up visa for job-creating entrepreneurs and allows international students who graduate with advanced degrees in essential fields like STEM, healthcare or business to apply for green cards.
  • Expands opportunities for foreign-born physicians and nurses to help address the shortage of healthcare workers in rural and under-served communities across the country. There will be a shortage of more than 120,000 physicians by 2032 and the need for nurses is expected to grow faster than all other occupations from 2018-2028.

As mayor of one of the most diverse cities in the country, Mike helped ensure that immigrants were able to integrate into the economic, civic and cultural fabric of their communities–to the benefit of all residents. He issued landmark executive orders to protect immigrant New Yorkers, including guaranteeing immigrants access to city services and critical medical care, as well as protecting victims of crime regardless of immigration status. He also launched initiatives to support immigrant-owned businesses. In addition, he established NYCitizenship to help city government employees who were permanent residents apply for citizenship, and later expanded the initiative to families of NYC public school students.

Mike Bloomberg also expanded legal services to immigrants by adding a full-time attorney to the City's Family Justice Centers to counsel domestic violence victims and secured a full-time immigration attorney from each of the City's ten indigent criminal defense providers. Further, according to the New York Times, under Mike's leadership, the New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs became a national and global model for local government engagement with immigrant communities. He also launched NYC One Nation, providing immigrant communities access to programs on immigrant rights, learning English, neighborhood leadership, college readiness and financial literacy.

In contrast, Trump has caged children and families seeking asylum from unsafe circumstances in their home countries. Children have died while being in U.S. custody. And he has repeatedly demonized immigrants in racist ads. Trump has prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have not committed crimes while in the U.S., leading to migrant deaths post-deportation. Most recently, Trump enacted an original ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Reactions on Mike's Immigration Plan From Elected Officials and Leaders

Former Mayor Manny Diaz of Miami, Florida, Mike Bloomberg 2020 National Co-Chair: "Immigration is an issue that affects us all. Mike Bloomberg will work to ensure that the millions of undocumented immigrants living in this country have a chance to pursue citizenship. He'll also restore DACA, protect TPS holders and end policies like the family separation policy that runs counter to our deepest values as Americans. Mike believes immigrants are key to America's success. Our diversity is what makes America great. Mike Bloomberg will get it done."

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky, Mike Bloomberg 2020 National Co-Chair: "Mike Bloomberg's policies are deeply researched and compassionate – and his stance on immigration is no exception. It's evident that he's taken a clear-eyed look at the challenges immigrants face and offered a set of proposals that will invest in training and education for new Americans, so that they can get a jump on their new life from the time they arrive. Mike knows that immigrants have always made critical contributions to our nation's growth and that we should continue to embrace all those who come to our shores for a better life. I'm pleased that Mike will restore America's humanitarian leadership by rebuilding our refugee resettlement program – and restore faith in our country as a beacon of freedom and opportunity for all who aspire to join us. Mike did a great deal to help immigrant-owned businesses, and I look forward to sending him to Washington so he can continue his leadership on this important issue."

Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California, Mike Bloomberg 2020 National Co-Chair: "As mayor of a diverse city, I know firsthand that welcoming people from all different backgrounds and countries of origin makes our economy stronger and our communities more vibrant. But far too often, the Trump administration has ignored the very humanity of our immigrants. We need to start replacing a culture of fear with sensible immigration policies that both keep our borders safe and respect the individuals who cross them. Mike Bloomberg's immigration plan acknowledges the key role immigrants play in our community, provides a path to citizenship for the many who are living in the shadows, and overhauls our immigration system to identify adequate enforcement priorities that focus on safety and security. His policy is strong and comprehensive, and as president he'll help ensure that our immigrants feel safe and dignified again."

Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, California, Mike Bloomberg 2020 California State Co-Chair: "Mike Bloomberg will restore American values to our country's immigration policy — critical for a nation founded and fueled by immigrants. As mayor of Silicon Valley's largest city, I know well how immigrants have built and sustained the innovation economy, comprising more than half of the founders of venture-capital-funded startups. Mike Bloomberg understands that every American success story starts with an immigrant."

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz of Anchorage, Alaska: "America's immigration system should reflect American values, including an understanding of our country's deep immigrant heritage. Mike's proposals demonstrate a humane and effective series of ideas that will meaningfully reform the immigration system, both demonstrating compassion and dramatically improving security. As the son and grandson of immigrants, and as the mayor of one of the most diverse cities in the country too, I look forward to the day when Mike's principled and practical proposals are implemented and America once again welcomes newcomers as so many of us have been welcomed."

Arizona State Representative, Cesar Chavez: "As someone who came here as an undocumented child, I know how important it is to have compassionate immigration policies that allow families like mine to make a home in America and live our dreams. Mike Bloomberg has always appreciated the values of hard work and tolerance, and his immigration policy makes clear that there's still room in the United States for anyone who shares these values and cares about making a fresh start in a country whose greatest strength is its diversity."

Mayor Dan Horrigan of Akron, Ohio: "We need to remember that immigration, in addition to forming the philosophical foundation for our nation, is also a valuable tool for combating stagnation and job loss in post industrial cities that have lost population to bigger metropolitan areas. We've seen it in Akron, and any smart revitalization plans can and should include discussions about how cities like mine can welcome more immigrants to do what immigrants have always done best — work hard, dream big, and bring their diversity of ideas and talent to all of our endeavors. Mike Bloomberg knows how much immigrants contribute to the vitality of their communities, and I appreciate that as President he'll do his utmost to ensure that immigrants can continue to come to our shores and fan out to communities like mine that would benefit from the ideas they would bring, the business they might start, and the enthusiasm for our country that makes any community stronger."

Mayor Mary Salas of Chula Vista, CA: "The state of immigration is at crisis levels and we need to protect our families and our children. The existing border policy isn't working. People are suffering and it doesn't have to be that way. We need to modernize our borders, use better technology. The wall isn't the answer. It will be expensive to build and even more expensive to maintain. Our dollars should be invested elsewhere. The border has been a grey area for way too long. Mike Bloomberg will modernize America's ports of entry and implement a complete and functionally sound entry and exit system. He will get the job done."

Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, CA: "Immigrants are the lifeblood of our economy and a driving force. They are our mothers, our neighbors, our teachers, our caretakers. More than ever we must unite against the message of hate and divisiveness coming out of the White House. Mike understands that we are strongest when we work together, when we are inclusive and when we have a plan. Mike has a plan. He will open America's doors to the immigrants our communities and businesses need and build a fairer immigration system."

Manny Perez, Supervisor of Riverside, CA: "I owe everything that I have today to my parents and grandparents who immigrated here from Mexico for a better life, to achieve the American dream. As a land of immigrants, we must do everything we can to provide assistance and to help immigrants participate in the community and be empowered and involved economically, socially, educationally and civically and treat immigrants with dignity. Michael Bloomberg has a great platform that is comprehensive and will create a path to citizenship for immigrants who work and live here and support our Dreamers so they can go onto higher education."

Brian Shirken, President of Columbus Pacific: "An immigration system that was designed more than a half-century ago doesn't meet the needs of our current global economy. We need to expand legal immigration and create a pathway to citizenship. Job creation is vital for economic growth and it's good for business. Mike Bloomberg understands this and his plan will streamline the process. I came here from South Africa at 22 and within a couple of years, I was able to apply for a green card — permanent legal status that gave me confidence to put down roots and launch a commercial real estate business that has created thousands of jobs. Mike recognizes how vital immigrant talent is. He will expand visas for skilled workers and so we can all get the job done."

Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg Campaign Press Release - Mike Bloomberg Announces Plan to Reform America's Outdated Immigration System Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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