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2020 Candidates on Immigration: Sanders

The 2020 presidential race is heating up. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll has Joe Biden leading the democrats (28%), with Elizabeth Warren (23%) and Bernie Sanders (17%) close behind. In our last profile, we reviewed Warren’s immigration record and now it’s time to take a look at where Sanders stands on important immigration issues. Sanders has a deep personal connection with the immigrant story. At the age of 17, his father left Poland for the United States to escape poverty and widespread anti-Semitism. Bernie has said that the US is a “nation of immigrants. That is, in fact, the strength of America.”

Immigration Reform

Sanders has been vocal about what he believes to be the flaws in the immigration system and has attempted to address these issues. He has sponsored or cosponsored 81 bills relating to immigration. Most recently, Bernie cosponsored the Immigration Court Improvement Act of 2019, which aims to ensure that effective, fair, and impartial immigration judges have decisional independence and are free from political influence.


Bernie supports DACA and wants to expand the program. He was very critical of the Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA. On August 7, 2019, Sanders tweeted “On the first day of my presidency, I will issue an executive order providing legal status for all DACA recipients and their parents.”

H-1B Program

Sanders acknowledges the need for foreign labor but is skeptical of the H-1B program and worries that it is subject to abuse by large corporations who want to hire cheap labor from abroad. Nevertheless, Sanders voted for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Act of 2013, which would have, among other things, increased the H-1B visa cap.

Sanctuary Cities

According to an AILA survey, if elected, “ Bernie will instruct DOJ to drop any litigation or funding restrictions relating to sanctuary cities. He will end programs that turn local police forces into immigration officers and end the workplace raids used to terrorize vulnerable communities and workers trying to put food on the table for their families.”

As the 2020 race continues, Silver Immigration will keep its readers informed regarding candidates’ immigration policies and proposals.