The Border Crisis-Part Two: Beto O’Rourke has a plan

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Yesterday, I highlighted some of the main points in Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro’s comprehensive immigration plan. Today, the focus is on a recently released plan from candidate Beto O’Rourke. You can find the full plan here.

O’Rourke’s plan centers on three main pillars:

1 Using executive authority to stop inhumane treatment of children, reunite families that have been separated, reform our asylum system, rescind the travel bans, and remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like TPS.

2 Immediately engaging Congress to enact legislation—focused on the vital role families and communities play—that will allow America to fully harness the power of economic growth and opportunity that both immigration and naturalization will bring to our country’s future.

3 Strengthen our partnerships with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere—refocusing and supporting democracy and human rights and invest in reducing violence because the only path to regional security runs through a more democratic and prosperous Latin America.

Here are some of the main highlights of each of those components. And we must keep in mind that there are many similarities to Castro’s plan, but a few differences as well. I’ll touch on those shortly.

Pillar One

*Reform asylum system and reunite families.

*Ensure lawful and humane conditions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection(CBP).

*Rescind current administration’s executive orders that seek to maximize detention and deportation, including former Attorney General Jeff Session’s asylum re-interpretation relating to domestic violence and escaping from gangs.

*Ending family separations at the border and illegal practices like “metering.”

*Issue executive order to require detention only for people with criminal backgrounds representing a danger to the community.

*Eliminate funding for private for-profit prison operators.

*Scaling up community-based programs and family case management to help asylum seekers navigate the immigration system.

*Reinstate the Central American Minors program.

*Upgrade and increase staffing in the asylum system and streamlining how cases move through the process by increasing court staff, clerks, interpreters, and judges…making courts independent of U.S. Department of Justice(DOJ)…expanding Legal Orientation Program(LOP) to ensure proper immigration system navigation….and deploying 2,000 lawyers to the border, as well as adequate funding.

*Refocus on smart security by among other things, halting work on the border wall.

Prioritize cracking down on smugglers and traffickers.

Pillar Two

*Create an earned pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people, as well as an immediate path for Dreamers, TPS beneficiaries, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs.

*Prioritizing family unity by family reunification, revising preference categories and caps, and removing bars to re-entry and status adjustment to support families.

*Establishing a new, first-of-its-kind community-based visa category.

*Increasing visa caps so we can match our economic opportunities and needs to the number of people we allow into the country.

*Ensure immigrant reliant industries have access to a program that will enable workers to legally come here and legally return to their home country with appropriate labor and mobility protections.

*Address the green-card backlog and provide opportunities for those awaiting resolution to work and contribute.

*Promote STEM education by granting foreign-born students more flexibility to stay in the U.S. and gain employment after graduating.

*Make naturalization easier for the nearly 9 million immigrants who are currently eligible for citizenship.

*Bolster security and functionality of the border where trade and travel occur by increasing personnel, strengthening infrastructure, and addressing failures.

*Ensuring transparency and accountability in law enforcement, including ICE and CBP.

Pillar Three

*Partnering with the Northern Triangle people to fight violence and poverty and bolster our shared security and prosperity by such things as investing $5 billion in the region primarily through non-governmental organizations, community groups, congregations, and public-private partnerships and utilizing financial support from other international partners.

*Specifically targeting the $5 billion towards things such as: supporting the growth of small-scale farming; elevating job, training, and educational opportunities for youth; improving access to health care, clean air, and clean water; promoting democratic infrastructure, labor rights, and human rights.

*Address systematic impunity, corruption, and weak institutions.

*Strengthen Mexico and Latin America’s capacity to contribute to regional security, by supporting the United Nations’ Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) work.

*Working with UNHCR to expand the size of Mexico’s refugee system and to collaborate with Mexico on asylum seekers who are both traveling to and through Mexico.

Final Thoughts

So here’s the deal. What both Castro and O’Rourke’s plans reveal, is a complex system of how we deal with those coming in and out of our country. For far too long, Democratic and Republican administrations have pushed this issue aside for both political expedience, as well as a lack of will to do anything about it. It’s just too hot of an issue for most of them.

At the very least, both of these proposals have a substantial amount of ‘meat on the bones.’ In other words, there’s enough specificity and detail, whereby it should foster debate and discussion. I realize we’re closing in on an election next year, and the possibility of any of these solutions ever coming to fruition before that is extremely remote.

As stated above, there are many similarities between the two plans. If you actually put them side by side, it would be tough to distinguish any significant differences. I will say, however, that O’Rourke’s proposal as it relates to Central America is a bit more specific. He actually puts a monetary figure to the plan–$5 billion—and lists an agency such as the UNHCR, that he would work with to help with regional security.

There’s no getting around the fact that if we don’t fix the problem in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, we will not fix this problem. The idea that both of these candidates understand that fact is refreshing. The idea that the President of the United States doesn’t seem to understand it is pathetic.

This President ought to be demanding the leaders of all three countries meet with him at Camp David, for an emergency session to deal with the crisis. If he really wanted to fix it, that’s what he would do.

But it almost appears as if the President doesn’t really want to fix the problem anyway. Is it out of the realm of possibilities that he would like nothing more than to have this issue still out of control and unsolved, leading up to the 2020 election? Of course not. His base of support, already rabid and ready to back their man no matter what will be chomping at the bit come November 2020. He knows this and will do whatever he can to keep them riled up.

Perhaps the only way we will ever deal with immigration reform, and actually get some real concrete solutions in place, is if the Democrats win the White House, keep the House in their control, and win back the Senate. It’s a monumental task … but not impossible.

We should all be grateful that both Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke have presented us with some workable solutions to a complex problem. I’m sure other candidates will weigh in going forward. The Democrats at least, are separating themselves from their counterparts on the other side of the aisle. The Republican Party seems hellbent on following this President’s lead … no matter how ineffective or cruel he becomes.


  1. Thanks for these two posts, my friend! As you note, there is little to differentiate between Castro’s and O’Rourke’s plan, but both have merit. I think the key is to address the source of the problem, which is, of course, how to make the countries these immigrants are fleeing safer. But meanwhile, abusing poor people who are fleeing for their lives is not the answer, taking kids from their parents and locking them in cages is not the answer, and taking their human rights from them is not the answer. Do you have any plans to do posts about the immigration plans for any of the other democratic candidates? Might be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison … not, of course, for all 23, for many will soon be culled from the herd, but for say the most viable 5 or 6. I will be re-blogging these this afternoon, a few hours apart so they don’t get overlooked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, as usual for the re-blogs Jill. No plans at this time to do anything on the other viable candidates. I looked at the top ten on their campaign websites and these were the two with the most comprehensive plans, although most, if not all have released more or less general statements. I’ll keep monitoring though. Have you heard any of the others come out with comprehensive plans?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Scottie (ScottiesToyBox) seems to feel E. Warren has presented some good policy statements. Not sure if they’re posted or not … ?


      2. Nothing on her website as of yet. Funny though, she’s got just about everything else covered! I’m sure she will address this in more depth at some point. She certainly weighs in on the disastrous child separation policy and other horrific Trump administration actions on the border. Nothing comprehensive yet though

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Always my pleasure … you do good work! We need to get you more followers, though … your work is too good to go unnoticed. No, I have been so wrapped up in trying to stay on top of the current day’s detritus that I haven’t even looked at any of the candidate’s platforms. Plus, I figure that rather than spend a lot of time I really don’t have, I would wait until the field narrowed a bit 😉 Perhaps at some point we can collaborate on a project.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks Jill, I’d be interested in the collaboration for sure. And I appreciate the comment on followers. I knew going into this that it would be a long-term thing. When we started a year ago, it’s like we were a tiny grain of sand on a massive beach. Little by little it gets better. I’m doing some other freelance stuff as well, so I’m kind of trying to balance our blog with that. Oh…and life itself! LOL….I’m in this for the long haul. It’s worth it! You’re help has been invaluable. Much appreciated. Also too, Greg at some point will be back. It’s a tough time right now for him. We have plans to move this thing forward, but can’t really do it until he’s back in the game. Baby steps Jill…baby steps….In the meantime, exposing this administration and trying to make this world a better place can’t be a bad thing can it?

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Heh heh … You just mentioned the thing that I have let fall by the wayside, as I spend 12-14 hours a day on my blog … “life itself”. Some days I raise my head from the computer, look around, and wonder where I am. Not a healthy thing. You’ll get there … and I’ll share your work as I can, to help with exposure. Give Greg my best when you talk to him. You’re right … what we’re doing is our own way of trying to make the world just a little bit better. We may never know if we helped or not, but we are trying. I like to think we make a bit of a difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I sure will give Greg your best. And thank you again for helping us out. Can’t tell you how much that means to us.
        12-14 hours…wow….I’m thinking your eyes are killing you at the end of the day!!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. My pleasure! Heh heh … eyes and everything else are pretty much shot by the time I finish, usually around 3:00 a.m., but … it’s much better now than it was before my eye surgeries in early 2018. Before then, I had to work holding a magnifying glass in front of my screen to be able to read what was on it, and everything took me twice as long.


      8. Yes, all the time spent staring at a screen takes a toll. And all the time writing about the topics we write about takes a toll on our blood pressure, temper, fingertips, and who knows what other parts!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    This is the second part of On The Fence Voters two-part series on the immigration platforms of democratic presidential candidates for 2020. This one introduces Beto O’Rourke’s immigration platform and while similar to Castro’s earlier this afternoon, there are some differences, as Jeff will explain. Thanks again, Jeff, for your excellent work!


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