Beto for America
Wednesday, May 29, 2019


O’Rourke’s proposal would create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people and make naturalization easier for 9 million eligible immigrants, establish a first-of-its-kind community-based visa, end the cruel policies of the Trump administration, only require detention for those with criminal backgrounds who represent a danger to our communities, and more than double U.S. investment in Central America

El Paso, TX — Beto O’Rourke released a plan that would implement the most sweeping rewrite of U.S. immigration law in a generation today, introducing a detailed and actionable agenda to rebuild our immigration and naturalization system while swiftly ending the Trump administration’s cruel policies and promoting security in the Northern Triangle. O’Rourke’s proposal places a renewed emphasis on the benefits immigration brings to American communities and our economy, by creating a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people, making naturalization easier for 9 million eligible immigrants, and establishing a first-of-its-kind community-based visa.

A fact sheet detailing O'Rourke's complete immigration plan can be found here

As a fourth-generation resident of the border, O’Rourke uniquely recognizes the urgency of fixing our broken immigration and naturalization system, while living up to our values and once again harnessing the power of a new generation of immigration that will benefit all of us. Drawing from his experience living in and serving the largest binational community in this hemisphere, O’Rourke’s plan is built around a three-part framework:
  1. On day one of his administration, end the cruel and cynical policies of the Trump Administration that create chaos at our border. 
    O’Rourke will implement a slate of forceful day one executive actions that remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and TPS beneficiaries, mandates an end to family separations at the border, stops the inhumane treatment of children, and reunites families. The executive actions will also change current policy to only require detention for those with criminal backgrounds who represent a danger to our communities, eliminate all funding for private, for-profit prison operators, make immigration courts independent from the Department of Justice, deploy up to 2,000 lawyers to the border, and reform our asylum laws.
  2. Pass historic legislation in Congress to rewrite our immigration laws in his first hundred days in office. 
    O’Rourke will immediately engage with Congress to enact historic legislation in his first hundred days that creates a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people, fast-tracks Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like TPS, makes naturalization easier for nearly nine million already eligible immigrants by waiving fees and providing pre-filled applications, establishes a first-of-its-kind community-based visa category that enables communities and congregations to sponsor visas, and will also raise visa caps so we can better match economic opportunities and needs with the number of people we allow into the United States.
  3. Restore the United States’ standing globally by being a partner for prosperity and security in Latin America. 
    Intelligently focus on root problems in the Northern Triangle by convening our regional partners and more than double the United States’ investment in the region by investing $5 billion in Central America to fight violence and poverty while bolstering our shared security and prosperity.
"This innovative plan overcomes a generation of inaction to finally rewrite our immigration laws in our own image -- reflecting our values, the reality of the border, the best interests of our communities, and the longstanding traditions of a country comprised of families from the world over,” said O’Rourke. “Coming from a city of immigrants, I've seen the incredible contributions of immigrants to our communities and local economies, and have been able to experience what happens when we allow everyone to contribute to their full potential. Under our administration, we will ensure that we advance a new vision of immigration that fully reflects our country’s values and empowers every individual to contribute to the shared greatness of our country.”

Alongside the comprehensive policy agenda, O’Rourke’s campaign highlighted the contributions immigrants make to American communities and our economy through first-person immigration stories from individuals of all ages and backgrounds, including students, business leaders, doctors and advocates. These individuals represent the promise of America and how we can rewrite our immigration laws ‘In our own image” to tell the true story of the positive contributions immigrants make to the United States.  The full agenda and first-person anecdotes can be found at www.betoorourke.com/immigration.

The proposal also continues O’Rourke’s previous work championing increased transparency and accountability for law enforcement including ICE and CBP. It specifically creates a uniform process for tracking and preventing migrant deaths along the border, opens a new independent Border Oversight Commission and Border Community Liaison Office, and supports CBP personnel through improved training. In 2015, O’Rourke wrote and introduced bipartisan legislation to provide independent oversight of border security activities and increase accountability for the Department of Homeland Security. He also authored legislation to protect Dreamers, modernize immigration laws, and stop the Trump administration from seizing private property for the construction of an unnecessary wall.

More than one-quarter of those O’Rourke served on the El Paso City Council and in the United States Congress were born in another country. As a leading voice on immigration and a lifelong advocate for binational relations along the U.S.-Mexico border, O’Rourke was one of the first legislators on the scene following the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy. He immediately visited Hidalgo County in June of 2018 to speak with detained families, met with parents who had their children taken away from them, heard from refugees camping out at the port of entry after being blocked from legally petitioning for asylum, toured CBP facilities, and demanded an end to the disgraceful policy. Days later, O’Rourke organized and led a 2,000 person Father’s Day march to a child tent camp that had been erected in Tornillo to raise awareness of family separation. In hopes of raising more awareness, he later brought a bipartisan congressional delegation to tour the facility. O’Rourke continued to return to the camp until all of the children were successfully released and the facility was shut down.

Additional details about this plan can be found at: www.betoorourke.com/immigration.