How Democratic presidential candidates would reform immigration


Protesters in Detroit hold signs to protest the separation of migrant children from their families at the border in 2018. (Shutterstock image)

Democratic candidates campaigning for president in Michigan’s March 10 primary are calling for an abrupt about-face from President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. 

Candidates envision more and faster pathways to citizenship, broad reformation of how immigrants are processed at the southern border and an end to the travel ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others also call for aid to Central America to stabilize the region and curb immigration.

Here’s how each says they will reform U.S. policies from asylum and undocumented immigrants to detention centers and worker rights.

Joe Biden

The former vice president would stop construction of Trump’s southern border wall and reforming public charge laws, which allow the federal government to deny green cards or visas to immigration applicants who are likely to utilize public benefits. Biden also wants to end family separations, reinstate the DREAMers program and form a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He also would halt the travel ban and close for-profit detention centers. Biden would reinstate asylum eligibility for victims of domestic violence and political persecution, let people apply for asylum in the United States and increase the number of refugees that can enter the country. He supports strengthening worker rights protections for immigrants on a work visa, repatriating deported veterans and re-establishing a Task Force for New Americans to aid in immigrants’ transition. Read Biden’s immigration plan.

Related stories:

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator wants to stop the wall, public charge rules, the travel ban and any and all deportations until all federal policies are re-examined. He wants to reinstate the ability of asylum seekers to request protection on U.S. soil, DACA and reunite separated families. His platform calls for a five-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, with an expedited path for minors. Sanders would break up the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, redistributing their functions to other federal departments and end funding limits for Sanctuary Cities and for-profit detention centers. Read Sanders’ immigration plan.


Tulsi Gabbard

The Hawaii representative supports reinstating DACA, ending family separations at U.S.-Mexico border, and using high-tech surveillance at the border rather than physical wall. She favors an increase in refugees and said she’d work to establish peace in the Middle East.  She also supports removing country caps on visas, evaluating each application based on the individual without considering nationality. Read Gabbard’s immigration plan.

Note: Cory Booker, Michael Bennet, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang also will appear on Michigan’s Democratic primary ballot but have dropped out of the presidential race.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.