Where 2020 Democrats stand on
immigration

Hover for more information, Click to highlight a candidate

Tap for more information

Do you support extending the existing physical barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border?

No

No, does not support

These candidates said they would not support adding any more wall along the Southern border

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“I do not believe that building more physical security barriers is in our national best interest or makes us safer,” Booker told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“We need to assess how new technologies and practices can provide alternatives to a barrier, which can at times be costly and environmentally intrusive,” Castro told The Post. “My ‘People First’ immigration plan would pursue an evidence-based approach to determining what investments we will make at the border to combat criminal actions like human and drug trafficking.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio does not support extending the physical barriers, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“Let me be very clear. I'm not going to vote for a wall under any circumstances. And I do support border security. And if we want to talk about that, let's do that,” Harris said at a CNN town hall event. “The idea that we're going to sell this thing to the American public and require the taxpayers of our country to pay $5 billion for something that will not deliver what [President Trump] is suggesting we need is ridiculous and I will not support it.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper does not support extending the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

“As a member of Congress, I consistently voted against draconian border barriers, and against utilizing local police to enforce our immigration laws,” Inslee told The Post. “I will end Trump’s vain pursuit of a wall.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“We need secure borders but building a medieval border wall isn’t how we get there; instead, we need sensors, surveillance drones and next-generation security technology to strengthen the border where it’s needed most,” Moulton told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke told MSNBC that he would "absolutely" take down parts of the wall near El Paso, but said, “I think there are in some places a need for a physical barrier,” he said in February. “I would work with local stakeholders, the property owners, the communities, those who actually live there, to determine the best security solution.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan does not support extending the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, his campaign told The Post. “I support smarter, more efficient and effective security at the border that makes better use of our country’s available technologies, border security personnel and other resources,” he said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“I do not support adding to existing physical barriers along the border and would immediately halt any use of taxpayer dollars for President Trump’s wasteful and ineffective border wall,” Sanders told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I do not support building a wall,” Warren told The Post.

Mar. 18: “The border wall isn’t about security, or making America safer. It’s a monument to hate and division, and I won’t support it. We are a better country than that. ”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Only if experts recommend it

Only if experts recommend it

Others said they would consider the input of experts and local communities before ruling it out

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet only supports extending the physical barrier if experts recommend it, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“If experts say that placing barriers in certain areas will serve that purpose, then I’d be in favor of giving them what they needed”, Bullock told The Post. “I also believe there are many modern technologies that can be deployed effectively. However, I strongly oppose building a wall for its own sake.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“Secure borders and a well-managed immigration system are critical to national security,” Buttigieg told The Post. “We shouldn't fall into the trap of defining border security by a 'wall' or security barriers alone, but by a more complete set of tools and evolving technology to meet the threats not only of today, but what we may face tomorrow.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I support investing in smart border security as part of comprehensive immigration reform, which can include technology, personnel and physical barriers where experts deem necessary,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard only supports extending the physical barrier if experts recommend it, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

“No, I do not support the arbitrary extension of security barriers in the form of just building a wall,” Messam told The Post. “I do support the combined use of technology, including drones, surveillance systems and some physical barriers, to protecting our borders.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak only supports extending the physical barrier if experts recommend it, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “Unless evidence and experts suggest we need new fencing, I will not support additional fencing. We should always be assessing this, but Trump’s promise to build a wall all the way along the border is too costly, ineffective and absurd,” Swalwell told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Marianne Williamson

Author

“We need border security. The best way to provide security is not more or fewer walls, but efficient, effective border security driven by technology, particularly at points of entry,” Williamson told The Post. “I do not support open borders; I do support open hearts so people are treated humanely. Most unauthorized immigrants enter the United States legally, then simply overstay their visas. No increase in border security, including walls, will impact this most common route into our nation.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Walls generally aren’t an effective way of stopping illegal border crossings,” Yang told The Post. “I don’t think it’s worth it to tear down existing barriers, but I wouldn’t support adding more unless their utility could be demonstrated in a particular part of the border.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Candidates who do not appear to have addressed the question, or who have not returned responses.

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden said in 2018 that he was "inclined" to support a hypothetical deal with President Trump to add to current southern border barriers, if they added to national security and it was part of a deal to give a path to citizenship to immigrants who had arrived in the country as children. "I don't care about his political victory," Biden said of Trump. He did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

“I’d have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful,” Gillibrand told Fox News Channel when asked whether she would consider removing parts of the wall. She had not clarified her position on adding physical barriers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

“I support smart security at our borders and oppose the Administration’s proposal to build a wall across our entire southern border,” Klobuchar's Senate website says. Klobuchar told ABC's George Stephanopolous that “we have tried to negotiate with [President Trump], but he won't take yes for an answer,” in response to a question about border wall funding.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Donald Trump transformed the politics of immigration on the day he announced his presidential campaign in 2015 by characterizing migrants as criminals and promising to build a new “great wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border. Fighting illegal immigration has been his signature issue ever since.

The Democratic response has been fierce opposition to most of Trump’s policies — including a ban on travelers from Muslim countries and a lapsed enforcement policy that led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents. The candidates support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now in the country and most support higher refugee quotas, but the party has been less clear in laying out a vision for handling a new wave of migrants from Central America, and it has divided over whether to be more permissive than the Obama administration was in how it handles recent border crossers and those living in the country without permission.

[Democratic divide over immigration: Support for undocumented migrants is trumping border security]

Where the candidates stand

Here’s where the candidates stand on immigration issues, based on their statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire that was sent to every campaign.

Question 2 of 11

Abolish ICE and redistribute its duties

Abolish ICE and redistribute its duties

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

“So I think Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is right,” De Blasio said on The Brian Lehrer Show in June 2018, “We should abolish ICE. We should create something better, something different.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports abolishing ICE and redistributing its duties, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Restructure ICE or redistribute some duties, but don’t abolish

Restructure ICE or redistribute some duties, but don’t abolish

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports restructuring ICE or redistributing its duties but not abolishing it, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“I’ve been raising alarms about ICE’s actions for years and I am especially concerned that the Trump administration has removed seemingly every guardrail ensuring due process in immigration enforcement,” Booker told The Post. “ICE has clearly lost its way and must be reorganized and reformed.” In 2018, Booker told the Huffington Post: “I think we should be having hearings and really dive into this agency. It costs Americans billions of dollars. It’s not necessarily, in my opinion, achieving its high-minded purpose that might be achieved better in other ways.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“I support conducting a comprehensive review of ICE and CBP to assess how these organizations could be better structured to accomplish their broad array of missions, which extend beyond immigration,” Buttigieg told The Post. “If redistributing certain or all responsibilities to other agencies is the best way to do this, then we should. Above all, more than what the agencies are called and how they are structured, we need to have a conversation about how we perceive immigration and our nation’s security.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“ICE needs to be overhauled,” Castro told The Post. “My immigration policy would transfer the enforcement responsibilities of the agency to other departments such as the DOJ to guarantee higher standards of conduct and more focused prosecutorial discretion — ensuring resources are focused on targeting criminals and national security threats.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard supports restructuring ICE or redistributing its duties but not abolishing it, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

In 2018, Gillibrand told CNN that “I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues and I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission.” She told the Post-Star newspaper in Upstate New York that she would “give it a new name and a new directive.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris called for “a complete overhaul of the agency, mission, culture, operations” in 2018.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper supports restructuring ICE or redistributing some duties, but not abolishing it, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar would redistribute responsibilities of ICE to other agencies but would not abolish ICE, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“No, we should not abolish ICE — we should reform it,” Moulton told The Post. “When a problem arises with the fire department, we don’t call for abolishing the fire department. ICE should be focused on mitigating security threats, not staffing and running child detention facilities.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“I made the case using El Paso as an example. We don't need those internal roundups in deportations and enforcement,“ O'Rourke said of ICE in April. “We need to make sure that anyone who threatens the lives of all Americans or use of violence, that there is accountability. I want to make sure we include everyone in the solution to our challenges and safety, democratic or otherwise, and having these ICE operations is not a way to do it.” He said at a rally during his 2018 Senate race: “I'm open to doing whatever it takes. If it's reorganizing the Department of Homeland Security and changing the functions of ICE, having greater accountability, abolishing that agency altogether, that's fine. But there will still have to be enforcement of our immigration laws in this country.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders issued a call to “abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today” in 2018. He told The Post: “I voted against the creation of DHS and ICE in 2002, and it was the right vote. ICE has become a deportation and detention machine, and I would fundamentally restructure the agency, as well as all the agencies that currently enforce our immigration laws, to create a humane and rational immigration system with independent oversight.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“Redistribute some of ICE's duties — such as implementional the National Mass Care Strategy to involve FEMA and the Red Cross as we would with any other humanitarian disaster — and increase oversight to protect against abuses,” Sestak told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

In her immigration plan, Warren pledges to “reshape CBP and ICE from top to bottom, focusing their efforts on homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking.” She previously The Post, “We need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom — an agency that can't tell the difference in the risk between a 7-year-old girl and a criminal or a terrorist is an agency that is not working.” She called for “replacing ICE” in 2018.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“We can have other existing agencies take on some responsibilities of ICE, such as vetting asylum seekers,” Williamson told The Post. “There is no need to abolish ICE, it is needed to perform police functions such as locating and processing criminals and security risks. ICE should perform police functions, not humanitarian functions. Families seeking asylum should be treated differently than criminals and security risks.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Keep ICE

Keep ICE

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“I would not,” Bullock told The Post. “I would, however, refocus ICE’s enforcement priorities towards people involved in criminal activities that pose legitimate threats to public safety in this country.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I do not support abolishing ICE,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“No, I would not,” Ryan told The Post. “I believe we need to work together with our law enforcement and border security agencies, including ICE, to help them do their jobs in the most humane, efficient and effective way possible.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. "I would neither redistribute ICE’s duties nor abolish it. I would abolish policies that separate children from families,” Swalwell told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“ICE has important responsibilities related to combating human rights violations (including human trafficking) and international criminal/terrorist organizations,” Yang told The Post. “I’d direct them to focus on those efforts instead of enforcement and removal of people not engaged in these criminal activities.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

“As a member of Congress, I consistently voted against draconian border barriers, and against utilizing local police to enforce our immigration laws,” Inslee told The Post, adding that he would “focus immigration enforcement on true threats to our security.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background President Trump’s aggressive domestic immigration enforcement policy has turned many Democrats against the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security tasked with domestic enforcement of immigration laws. ICE statistics show that the agency removed 256,085 people from the county in fiscal 2018, up from 240,255 people in fiscal 2016.

Question 3 of 11

Yes

Yes, supports repeal

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“I oppose criminal prosecution for individuals apprehended while crossing the border,” Booker told The Post. He would support civil penalties, his campaign told The Post. During the second Democratic debate, Booker said, “[T]he criminal courts is what is giving Donald Trump the ability to truly violate the human rights of people coming to our country, who no one surrenders their human rights. And so, doing it through the civil courts means that you won't need these awful detention facilities that I have been to ...”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“When I am president, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue about the finer points of which part should be handled by civil law and criminal law,” Buttigieg said in the second Democratic debate. “In my view, if fraud is involved, then that's suitable for the criminal statute. If not, then it should be handled under civil law.” Previously, he expressed support for that idea. “This administration's expansive use of criminal penalties for border crossers is ineffective, a waste of resources, and in many cases has been employed without respecting the due process rights of the people being prosecuted,” a Buttigieg spokesman told The Post in June. “We should focus prosecution resources on real criminal threats and real solutions to manage the border.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“My ‘People First’ immigration policy — the first unveiled by a 2020 candidate — would repeal section 1325 and return to treating unauthorized entry into the U.S. as a civil, rather than criminal, violation,” Castro told The Post. “This provision has allowed for separation of children and families at our border, the large-scale detention of tens of thousands of families, and has deterred migrants from turning themselves in to an immigration official within our borders. The widespread detention of these individuals and families at our border has overburdened our justice system, been ineffective at deterring migration, and has cost our government billions of dollars.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand raised her hand during the first Democratic debate when a moderator asked which candidates think crossing the border without documentation should be a civil offense rather than a crime.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris raised her hand during the first Democratic debate when a moderator asked which candidates think crossing the border without documentation should be a civil offense rather than a crime.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

In his immigration plan, Inslee says “There is no solution to be found in continued militarization of the border, criminalization of civil immigration violations, or indiscriminate targeting and deportation of those who have lived in this country for decades and contribute to our economy and our society.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports the repeal of criminal penalties for people apprehended crossing the border, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“Yes. Crossing the border is against the law, and it should be. Nobody should cross our border without us knowing,” Moulton told The Post. “But until we fix our asylum system to recognize all legitimate refugees, and encourage them to come here legally, not illegally, these criminal penalties are unrealistic and unjust.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view, they are not criminals,” Sanders said in the second Democratic debate. Earlier, he told The Post, “we must establish a humane review process for those who are currently arriving at the border that includes an end to Operation Streamline, the President George W. Bush practice that began to ramp up criminal charges for unauthorized border crossings. Prior to 2005, nearly all border crossings were handled by civil proceedings, and as president, I would return to that standard, reserving criminal prosecution only for security threats and extenuating circumstances.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren supports this proposal, her campaign told The Post. “Entering the country without authorization has always been a violation of civil immigration law, but thanks to a former segregationist Senator, it’s also a criminal violation. This additional criminal provision is totally unnecessary for border security, and for a century, it was rarely enforced. But since the early 2000s, it has been used to build and sustain a massive immigration detention complex,” her immigration plan said. “What you're saying is ignore the law. Laws matter,” Warren said in the second Democratic debate. “And it matters if we say our law is that we will lock people up who come here, seeking refuge, who come here, seeking asylum, that is not a crime. And as Americans, what we need to do is have a sane system that keeps us safe at the border, but does not criminalize the activity of a mother fleeing here for safety.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Criminal penalties for criminals must be kept. Everyone who crosses the border is not a criminal. It is legal to seek asylum,” Williamson told The Post. “Trump is trying to make asylum seekers into criminals in order to separate children from their parents as a deterrent to legal immigration. That is unconscionable and must be stopped.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Putting border crossers into our criminal justice system costs us billions of dollars and swamps a system that is not designed for it,” Yang told The Post. “I would be for criminalizing those who make a business of trafficking people in, or repeat offenders or those who enter after deportation proceedings or conviction of a crime. But individuals or families who cross the border should be treated as civil offenders.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

As part of a compromise

As part of a compromise

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“Yes, as part of a compromise. We cannot abide a situation in which border crossing being a criminal offense — as opposed to a civil one — is used as a pretext to break up families,” Sestak told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “Our immigration system is fundamentally broken and needs fundamental reform,” Swalwell told The Post. "Major changes we make to our immigration system, such as removing the criminal penalties for crossing the border illegally, should be done only as part of a comprehensive reform bill in which all sides compromise."

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

No

No, opposes repeal

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“We need to fix our broken immigration system in a way that honors our tradition as a nation of immigrants while upholding the rule of law,” Bennet told The Post. “We must be humane in our immigration enforcement, but we also must focus on reforms like improving the asylum process so we can encourage legal immigration and discourage illegal border crossings.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“No, I don't,” Biden told CNN when asked if he wanted to decriminalize border crossings. “I think people should have to get in line, but if people are coming because they're actually seeking asylum they should have a chance to make their case.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“I would not seek the repeal of criminal penalties for people apprehended crossing the border and who do not seek to claim asylum, but I would reverse the Trump Administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that led to inhumane family separations and the detention of small children,” Bullock told The Post. “We’ve got 100,00 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give free healthcare to everyone, we’ll have multiples of that,” Bullock said at the second Democratic debate. “A sane immigration system needs a sane leader. And we can do that without decriminalizing and providing health care for everyone.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney does not support eliminating criminal penalties for crossing the border, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

“I think we need to look at that law, but I do not support getting rid of that entire law,” Klobuchar said at an event at The Post. “I think this all comes down to enforcement and you may have cases involving security where you would want to be able to have the tool of that law.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“[I]n my administration, after we have waived citizenship fees for green card holders, more than 9 million of our fellow Americans; freed DREAMers from any fear of deportation; and stopped criminally prosecuting families and children for seeking asylum and refuge; end for-profit detention in this country; and then assist those countries in Central America so that no family ever has to make that 2,000-mile journey, than I expect that people who come here follow our laws, and we reserve the right to criminally prosecute them if they do not,” O'Rourke said in the second Democratic debate. Earlier, he said on CNN, “if somebody is attempting to smuggle human beings into the United States, if they are attempting to cross illegal drugs into this country, I want to make sure that we have the legal mechanism necessary to hold them accountable and to detain them to make sure they do not pose a threat to this country or to our communities. ... I do not think it should be repealed.” He and Castro sparred over the issue at the first Democratic debate.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“If you want to come into the country, you should at least ring the doorbell,” Ryan said at the second Democratic debate. “I believe we can both be more humane and welcoming to those seeking refuge while still remaining a nation of laws,” Ryan told The Post in May. “It’s important that we eradicate cruel and immoral practices like family separation, and I believe that it’s necessary and possible to reduce the broad scale of detentions that have overburdened our judicial system and wasted tax dollars. But we can and must do that by focusing our attention on how we can best serve those seeking asylum, rather than undoing 90 years of immigration law.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

During the second Democratic debate, de Blasio referenced the undocumented immigrants living in the United States, asking, “Why are we even discussing on one level whether it's a civil penalty or a criminal penalty, when it's an American reality?” De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

“That's something that I'm looking at. I think decriminalizing could lead to open borders. We need safe, secure borders in this country,” Gabbard said on The View. During the second Democratic debate, Gabbard said “we can and should have both secure borders as well as humane immigration policies.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “I agree that we need secure borders. There's no question about that,” Hickenlooper said in the second Democratic debate. “And the frustration with what's going on in Washington is they're kicking the ball back and forth. Secure the borders, make sure whatever law we have doesn't allow children to be snatched from their parents and put in cages. How hard can that be?” He said he would repeal criminal penalties for those illegally crossing the border, but only for those seeking asylum.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background The lapsed Trump administration policy of charging every border crosser with a crime led in 2018 to thousands of children being separated from their parents or guardians, because court orders do not allow children to be held in the same facilities. As a result, some Democrats have pushed for a repeal of the criminal statute for entering the country without permission. In most cases, border crossers would still go through a civil legal process that could lead to their deportation.

Question 4 of 11

Only on criminals and national security threats

Only on criminals and national security threats

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“I support prioritizing deportation efforts on convicted criminals and national security threats,” Booker told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“Our immigration system has gone from a bureaucratic nightmare to a moral crisis,” Bullock told The Post. “I support a return to a policy that refocuses deportation efforts towards national security threats and convicted criminals, not families and children.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“My ‘People First’ immigration plan would overhaul the Trump administration’s immigration agenda and would reconstitute our immigration enforcement system — splitting ICE in two and ensuring that the department focus its resources on prioritizing criminals and national security threats, rather than members of our communities.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I believe the most efficient use of our resources is to focus our efforts on individuals who are identified national security threats and convicted criminals,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “We should focus deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats and not on those who are crossing the border, seeking asylum or legal economic opportunities,” Hickenlooper told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

“My administration will reform the artificially low caps placed on refugees, restore programs that ensure asylum seekers are efficiently screened and heard, and focus immigration enforcement on true threats to our security,” Inslee told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar would support focusing deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke would support focusing deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats, his campaign told The Post. He criticized the Obama administration's deportation efforts at an event in April. “Some people who had been here for decades, who posed no threat to their families, to their communities, in fact in any way that you can measure, are contributing far more than they are ever taking,” he said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“I believe these policies were an effort to move in the right direction when it comes to identifying and deporting criminals and national security threats,” Ryan told The Post. “There is no doubt that our immigration policy should be prioritizing the deportation of individuals who have committed crimes and are a safety risk to our communities – not the many families who are being ripped apart.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders would support focusing deportation efforts on dangerous individuals, his campaign told The Post. “I strongly opposed major portions of President Obama’s deportation policy, including raids on families who fled violence,” he told The Post. ”Today, we are seeing border crossings largely due to families and children seeking relief from violence and misery in their home countries, and we must stand up for our ideals and values by expanding our asylum process.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“Focus only on criminals and national security threats. We have limited resources, so we should focus them on individuals who pose a threat to society,” Sestak told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. "We should focus our deportation efforts on national security threats, violent criminals and repeat criminal offenders,” Swalwell told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren supports focusing deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats, her campaign told The Post. In her immigration plan, Warren pledges to “refocus our limited resources on actual criminals and real threats to the United States.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Support. The Dreamers who have grown up here, received an education and are good neighbors with no serious criminal offense should be allowed to stay,” Williamson told The Post. “This is their home – and we need their talent, ingenuity and purchasing power for our economy to thrive. I would work to expand protections and naturalization to all undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, regardless of their current age.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Yes

Yes, supports

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“We must be humane about immigration enforcement, but we must do it in a way that honors our tradition as a nation of immigrants and our commitment to the rule of law,” Bennet told The Post. “We need to fix our broken immigration system to encourage individuals to go through the process legally, which includes processing asylum claims more efficiently and addressing the visa backlog.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“We need to reinstate enforcement priorities,” Buttigieg told The Post. “The vast majority of immigrants in our country without [legal] status pose no public safety threat; in fact, most have been here a decade or more and have deep community ties. Without a clear priority on removal of people who pose a danger to the community or on recent arrivals, the random enforcement of immigration laws can become a tool to instill fear and to rip apart families.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports a return to the Obama administration's policy focusing deportation efforts on recent border crossers, convicted criminals and national security threats, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“I support it, and I’d go even further: We need to be careful about how we define 'convicted criminals,' ” Moulton told The Post. “When I went to Juarez last year, I met with U.S. military veterans who were deported for minor offenses. 'Deported veterans' is a term that should not exist, and valued members of our communities should not be deported for a minor lapse in judgment.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Yes, I would focus deportation efforts on these groups,” Yang told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background President Barack Obama’s approach to deportation became a major point of division within the Democratic Party after his reelection in 2012. At the end of 2014, Obama responded to the concerns by imposing new guidelines that prioritized the deportation of recent border crossers, convicted criminals and those posing national security threats. But in the 2016 election, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders argued for even more lenient guidelines that would focus on violent or dangerous criminals.

Question 5 of 11

Eliminate or limit family detention

Eliminate or limit family detention

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports eliminating or limiting family detention, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker signed a letter calling for the end of family detention in 2016. He also told The Post, “I introduced the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which would significantly restrict family detention and prevent the federal government from detaining immigrants except in instances where they pose a flight risk or a risk to public safety.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“We shouldn’t waste resources — especially military resources — on detaining asylum-seeking families that don’t pose a risk to our country, especially when the asylum process can last for months on end,” Bullock told The Post. “However, it is critically important to improve this process with additional judges and by reinstating the Obama-era policy of allowing people to apply for asylum in their home countries or in a neighboring, safer country.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“Because asylum hearings currently take far too long, keeping families in limbo for years on end, we must prioritize alternatives to detention, like the Family Case Management Program, and only use family detention as a last resort,” Buttigieg told The Post. “More fundamentally, we must fix our broken immigration system, including by adjudicating asylum claims much more quickly.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“My immigration policy would implement alternatives to detention modeled on successful programs pioneered under the Obama administration that are more compassionate, cost a fraction of detention programs and have a greater than 99 percent compliance rate,” Castro told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“The government should have the option of detaining asylum-seeking families in limited circumstances,” Delaney told The Post. “I strongly believe that our focus should be on providing legal counsel and increasing the number of immigration judges to speed up the process of determining immigration cases.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio would eliminate family detention, he told the Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard would eliminate or limit family detention, she told the Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand does not support detention for asylum-seeking families. She co-sponsored the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which would restrict the use of detention centers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper said he supports eliminating or limiting family detention, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee does not support detention for asylum-seeking families, according to his immigration plan.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam does not support detention for asylum-seeking families, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“Low-risk asylum seekers should be released to the community pending immigration hearings,” Moulton told The Post. “Holding people in detention and separating families is wrong — it permanently damages children through no fault of their own. We’re better than that.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke does not support detention for asylum-seeking families, his campaign told The Post. He co-sponsored the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2017, which would restrict the use of detention centers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan does not support detention for asylum-seeking families, his campaign told The Post. “I believe it’s important to keep families together, and the Trump administration’s current trajectory on border security and its treatment of those seeking entry to or asylum within the United States is cruel and unusual,” he said. “We can and must move toward practices that treat every human with dignity and respect, and we can do that in part by working to quickly and efficiently process those seeking entry into the United States and asylum within our borders.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“We should not lock up children and families in the United States. Community-based alternatives to detention are far less expensive and have nearly 100 percent compliance rates with check-ins and court hearings,” Sanders told The Post. “We must promote and implement these cheaper, more effective and more humane alternatives to keeping children and families detained in overcrowded, understaffed and ad-hoc facilities.” Sanders co-sponsored the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which would restrict the use of detention centers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak does not support detention for asylum-seeking families, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “There is no reason non-dangerous persons should be detained while their asylum claims are pending when we have good alternatives to detention,” Swalwell told The Post. “We should put our efforts and resources into our immigration court system so people's asylum claims can be processed more quickly.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“As President, I’ll issue guidance ensuring that detention is only used where it is actually necessary because an individual poses a flight or safety risk,” Warren's immigration plan said. She told The Post: “I’ve called on the Trump administration to reinstate an Obama-era policy prohibiting holding pregnant migrants in detention centers. And private detention facilities and government-run detention centers need to be held accountable for their appalling and seriously poor conditions.” She also co-sponsored the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which would restrict the use of detention centers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“We need alternatives to detention. Families should be kept together,” Williamson told The Post. “We should ban cages. We need to increase funding to immigration courts so they have the resources needed to do their job.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Family detention in improved facilities

Family detention in improved facilities

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“I think we should increase funding to our courts so that these claims can be processed in a timely manner, so that neither long-term detention nor release into the country is necessary,” Yang told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background The Trump administration has sought to detain a greater share of border crossers who are captured by law enforcement officials until they can be processed through the court system. Congressional Democrats have sought to limit the number of new detention beds in an effort to force the release of more migrants who are awaiting court dates. The most recent budget deal, in February 2019, set funding for an average of about 45,000 beds. The percentage of Democrats who say that illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border is at a “crisis” increased 17 percent since January, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll in April.

Question 6 of 11

Yes

Yes, supports

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports increased border security funding, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“Yes,” Bullock told The Post. “Right now, there are only about 400 judges hearing nearly 800,000 immigration cases — they need more help to streamline the process and reduce the backlog. We should also give our Customs inspectors and Border Patrol agents the resources they need to respond to the challenges they’re facing, while making sure that those apprehended at the border are treated with decency and afforded the basic human dignity that this administration has denied them.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“I support investments that actually improve our border security,” Buttigieg told The Post. “At the same time, we need to ensure that funding for our immigration system addresses more than just security and enforcement efforts. A more balanced and well-functioning system would not only grant protection where warranted and provide certainty on immigration decisions, but also pay security dividends by further reducing the incentive to file frivolous asylum claims.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“My immigration plan would modernize our ports of entry to facilitate more streamlined trade with our Canadian and Mexican partners, and screen for illicit drug trafficking, human trafficking and other criminal actions,” Castro told The Post. “I also support an adequately resourced independent immigration judicial system to help process claims faster.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I would support increased funding for border security and immigration enforcement that is negotiated on a bipartisan basis,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard supports increased border funding, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“Let's look at the fact that the folks who are working on border security on the ground know that they need upgraded infrastructure around things like drones, and they need cameras,” Harris said at a CNN town hall event.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper supports increased border funding, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee immigration plan calls on the U.S. “invest in border infrastructure that supports trade and human transit.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports increased funding for border security and enforcement, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

“Concurrent to passing comprehensive immigration reform, the legislation should also include the necessary funding to provide border security, including technology, CBP agents and facilities to humanely detain individuals who have entered the country illegally and/or seeking asylum,” Messam told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“I support it,” Moulton told The Post. “There are more than 800,000 cases pending for asylum seekers, so we need more judges to expedite the process. And Trump keeps claiming that a wall is going to stop drugs from coming into our country, but that’s not true: Drugs come through ports of entry, and that’s where we need to invest.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“Let’s ensure our security not through walls and militarization, but by investing in our ports of entry where the vast majority of everything and everyone that ever comes into this country first enters, supporting the women and men of the CBP and treating one another — regardless of our status or how many generations, or days, we’ve been in this country — with dignity and respect,” his campaign website says.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan supports increased funding for border security and enforcement, his campaign told The Post. “I support better utilizing existing resources when it comes to immigration reform and improved screening equipment that can better assist our border security agents, law enforcement and personnel at the border,” he said. “I support resources that can better equip those serving and processing immigrants at the border with the tools necessary to not only prioritize national security but also treat migrants and asylum seekers with the care and respect they deserve. And I strongly believe we must prioritize keeping families together.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“I have always said that I support funding for border security, and I support fully funding our overburdened immigration court system to swiftly, fairly and humanely process asylum claims,” Sanders told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak supports increased funding for border security and enforcement, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “I support more funding to train, hire and retain border personnel, deploy the best technology at ports of entry, and provide additional immigration court resources to give asylum seekers the fair justice they deserve,” Swalwell told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren supports increased funding for border security, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“The best way to provide security is not more or fewer walls, but efficient, effective border security driven by technology, particularly at points of entry,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“We need to increase funding to efforts to secure the southern border. While their current focus is not one I agree with, it is important that we have men and women securing the border,” Yang told The Post. “We also need to use modern technology to monitor the border (while being aware of Fourth Amendment issues for those who live nearby). The asylum courts desperately need an increase in resources so they can process the ridiculous backlog that has developed and handle the surge in applicants.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

No

No, opposes

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“I believe we should better utilize and prioritize existing funds,” Booker told The Post. “We can enforce our international borders and keep our country safe without sacrificing our values, our moral leadership and billions of dollars in taxpayer money.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background Democrats in Congress have generally been more receptive to requests for increased funding for border security efforts that do not include new barriers. A bipartisan deal reached in February allowed the Trump administration to hire as many as 1,200 more Border Patrol officers, while allocating $112 million for aircraft and sensor systems and $100 million for other technology between border crossings. An additional $564 million was approved for increasing scanning capabilities at ports of entry, where law enforcement officials say the majority of drug smuggling occurs.

Question 7 of 11

No

No, opposes

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“No, it should not. As for committing to any comprehensive reform, I would first want to review all components,” Booker told The Post. “Historically, I think Democrats have been too willing to trade basic human rights and dignity for immigrants in exchange for a ‘grand compromise’ on immigration.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“As Attorney General of Montana, I opposed a measure that would have run legal status checks on every person seeking state jobs or services, and I’d oppose similar action at the federal level,” Bullock told The Post. “Policies like this don’t just increase government bureaucracy, they discourage people from seeking necessary services.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio does not support requiring the use of E-Verify to check the legal status of all hires by private employers, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand does not support requiring the use of E-Verify to check the legal status of all hires by private employers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Marianne Williamson

Author

“No. E-Verify is not always accurate,” Williamson told The Post. “It needs to be made more accurate.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“E-Verify isn’t good at achieving the goals of enforcing our border laws or protecting American jobs,” Yang told The Post. “Tens of thousands of false positives get in the way of Americans working, and putting a barrier between businesses and the people they want to hire is never good for promoting work. The system has also caused economic harm to states and driven individuals who are here without permission deeper into the shadow economy.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Only as part of a compromise

Only as part of a compromise

Said they would not support this unless it was part of a deal including a path to citizenship

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports E-Verify only as part of a compromise, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“I support mandatory E-Verify only as part of comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship and an overall modernization of our immigration system. Because there are systemic problems with E-Verify today, any expansion of its use should also be conditioned on improving the system,” Buttigieg told The Post in June.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“As part of enacting a more sensible and humane immigration system with a pathway to citizenship, we should overhaul employment verification processes to ensure they are cost effective, sensitive to privacy concerns and designed to limit false positives,” Castro told The Post. “We must also ensure our immigration visa system meets the needs of American businesses, which depend on access to labor.” His campaign emphasized the need to improve the existing system before he would consider such a compromise.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “We need to address this issue in comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Hickenlooper told The Post. “It's important we fix our immigration system through a comprehensive approach instead of playing politics with individual proposals.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar does not think the federal government should require the use of E-Verify to check the legal status of all hires by private employers, but would support the E-Verify program as part of a comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship for those currently working without documentation, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam would support requiring the E-Verify program only as part of a comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship for those currently working without documentation, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“I would support an E-Verify program as part of comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for all those currently working without documentation,” Moulton told The Post. “The database needs to be improved, and we can do that.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan would support requiring E-Verify only after improvements to the accuracy of the program and as part of a comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship for those currently working without documentation, his campaign told The Post. “No, I do not support requiring employers to use E-Verify, as mistakes and mismatches within the system disproportionately and negatively impact legal foreign workers,” he said. “The system also imposes unnecessary burdens and potentially problematic liability issues on employers, and can have an outsized negative impact on our agricultural economy. We can and must work toward better solutions that pave a path to citizenship and encourage legal labor within the United States, but E-Verify’s system should be optional and decided on a state-by-state basis, not federally mandated.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak would support requiring the E-Verify program only as part of a comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship for those currently working without documentation, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. "We should pass comprehensive immigration reform, which should include a modern electronic verification program,” Swalwell told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Yes, if improved

Yes, if improved

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I support an E-Verify system that works,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard told The Post that she supports requiring the use of E-Verify to check the legal status of all hires by private employers, if the system is improved.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“I believe we must have a smart and fair employment verification system. Any electronic verification system like E-Verify must protect the due process of workers and contain the strongest possible protection against abuse and error,” Sanders told The Post. “Workers must be protected from exploitation, such as the practice of employers turning over unauthorized workers during labor disputes.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background As of last year, 779,722 employers had enrolled in E-Verify, a federal program that checks employee documents that show legal authorization against federal databases to prove their authenticity. The federal government and federal contractors are required under current regulations to use the program. The unsuccessful 2013 immigration reform effort, supported by Democrats, would have made E-Verify mandatory for all employers over a five-year implementation period as part of a process that would have granted legal status to most people living and working in the country without documentation. But liberal activists have opposed implementing a system without a path to citizenship, since it would end employment opportunities for those now in the country.

Question 8 of 11

Yes

Yes, supports

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet was a member of the Senate "Gang of Eight" in 2013 that pitched “a tough, but fair, path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the shadows,” his congressional website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden said in 2018 that he was "inclined" to support a hypothetical deal with President Trump to add to current southern border barriers, if they added to national security and it was part of a deal to give a path to citizenship to immigrants who had arrived in the country as children. "I don't care about his political victory," Biden said of Trump. In 2014, he said undocumented immigrants “just want a decent life for their kids, a chance to contribute to a free society, a chance to put down roots and help build the next great American century"

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

Hickenlooper supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do for our economy,” Buttigieg told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“I support a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, including for Dreamers, and those under the TPS [Temporary Protected Status] and DED [Deferred Enforced Departure] programs who have been paying taxes,” Castro told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

“I think there has to be some, some way, some opportunity there for those who are here and undocumented to try to pursue and have a path toward having a legal, whether it's a legal residence or ultimately a path to citizenship,” Gabbard told New Hampshire Public Radio. In a 2017 speech on the House floor, she said, “We need a pathway to citizenship for immigrants to ensure people who deserve to be here can find a way to be a part of our great country,” Gabbard said on the House floor in 2017. She co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

“As a U.S. Senator, I will advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that treats immigrants fairly and gives them a path to earned citizenship,” Gillibrand's Senate website says. She co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris co-sponsored the DREAM Act of 2017.

: “Give people a path to citizenship. The vast majority of folks we’re talking about are living a lawful life and paying taxes.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Following controversial comments in 2014, Hickenlooper told The Denver Post, “I have always believed in a pathway to citizenship.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

“I support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for all undocumented persons, including those on deferred or temporary-protected status,” Inslee told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the country, along with a similar path for those protected by the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure programs, her campaign told The Post. She co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

“I support comprehensive immigration reform that includes providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, TPS [Temporary Protected Status], DREAMERS and all of the over 11 million individuals undocumented in this nation,” Messam told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“I believe in a pathway to citizenship — not just for DACA recipients and TPS [Temporary Protected Status] holders, but also for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who work hard, pay taxes and have become valued members of our communities,” Moulton told The Post. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“Let’s bring millions more of our fellow Americans out of the shadows and on to a path to contribute even more to our country’s success,” O'Rourke's campaign website says. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, his campaign told The Post. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“I believe we must bring this population out of the shadows, remove the fear and anxiety in their everyday lives, and put them on a fast, fair and inclusive pathway to citizenship,” Sanders told The Post. “This process should minimize financial burden, repeal three- and 10-year bars, and provide immediate and expansive relief to DREAMers.” He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. "I do support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here, as well as for Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure protectees,” Swalwell told The Post. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“For the good of our economy and our communities, it’s long past time to provide a path forward for the approximately 11 million undocumented individuals currently living and working in the Unites States,” her immigration plan said. Previously, she told The Post, “I voted for the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill in 2013, and I will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform that protects our borders, creates a permanent solution that provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and for qualified recipients of Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure, and helps us retain talent trained at our world-class institutions.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“I support a path to citizenship or some legal status for people who have come here, as long as they abide by the law,” Williamson told The Post. “We need their talent and ingenuity to solve problems and create new businesses. We need their labor in construction to build roads and buildings, and in landscaping to tend our yards and gardens, and many other sectors where they contribute to our society. Immigrants often do work that others don’t want to do.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“We need to create a path to citizenship for these individuals to bring them out of the shadows and into the formal economy.” Yang told The Post. “This will make us safer as we have a better idea of who is in our country, and it will allow these individuals to escape the stress and exploitative situations that arise from their status. That said, this pathway should be much longer than the normal pathway, in order to reflect their efforts to circumvent our legal immigration system. Those who are here through the TPS [Temporary Protected Status] or DED [Deferred Enforced Departure] programs are in a different situation than those who are here without permission. I do support a pathway to citizenship for them, but not as long as the one for those who are here without permission.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background A path to citizenship for those currently living in the country without documentation has been a baseline for most Democratic leaders since 2013, when a Senate bill that would have legalized millions died in the Republican-controlled House. Trump’s efforts to end protections for others now living legally in the country has more recently extended the debate. We also asked candidates about a similar path for those protected by the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure programs: Under the Temporary Protected Status program, the United States provides residency to 417,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries that have been marked by civil unrest: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. A separate program, called Deferred Enforced Departure, provides work authorization for about 840 Liberians.

Question 9 of 11

Yes

Yes, supports

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet signed onto a letter opposing President Trump's foreign aid cuts to Central American countries in April.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“We have got to address the root causes of migration that push people to leave behind their homes and everything they know to undertake a dangerous journey for the chance at a better life, work that Vice President Biden led in the Obama-Biden Administration,” Biden's campaign website said. He wrote an op-ed for The Post in 2018, in which he said, “the cost of investing in a secure and prosperous Central America was modest compared with the cost of allowing violence and poverty to fester.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“I support increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala,” Booker told The Post. He signed onto a letter opposing President Trump's foreign aid cuts to Central American countries in April.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“I support increasing foreignaid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala,” Bullock told The Post. “We need to do more to address the root causes of immigration by helping to stabilize these countries that people are fleeing.  By retreating from the assistance that the US was providing, the Trump Administration has further destabilized the region and increased the immigration problem from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“Ultimately, the only lasting way to address the issues posed by Central American migration is to help the people of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala find safety and prosperity in their home countries,” Buttigieg told The Post. “Instead of disengaging, we should assist regional governments as they implement reforms and work to strengthen overall governance, including supporting and emboldening regional civil society organizations dedicated to human rights, good governance and democratic accountability.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“I’m the only candidate to propose a 21st-century Marshall Plan for Central America that creates a lasting and mutually beneficial partnership with the people of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala,” Castro told The Post. “This plan would help build resilience in their communities and allow individuals to find opportunity at home.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney supports increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, he told The Post. “Withdrawing foreign aid will make conditions in Central America worse, ultimately destabilizing the region and multiplying the number of people fleeing those countries – creating larger caravans in the future,” he said in 2018.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard supports increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand signed onto a letter opposing President Trump's foreign aid cuts to Central American countries in April.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris signed onto a letter opposing President Trump's foreign aid cuts to Central American countries in April.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper supports increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

“I will restore foreign assistance funding to nations that are the source of many recent immigrants and asylum seekers, especially children and whole families fleeing persecution in their home countries,” Inslee told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, her campaign told The Post. She signed onto a letter opposing President Trump's foreign aid cuts to Central American countries in April.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“I strongly support aid focused on solving the security crisis in these countries and protecting their most vulnerable populations,” Moulton told The Post. “Following lessons learned from Plan Columbia, we need to help these people find a safe, good life at home so they don’t have to flee to America in fear for their lives.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“We must focus on this hemisphere and once again make it a foreign policy priority of this country — we can either address the problems in Central America at our border or help the people of Central America address them at home,” O'Rourke's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“I strongly support increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to bolster humanitarian efforts as well as projects that can improve local economies and safety in these countries,” Ryan told The Post. “It’s critical that we are actively working to both improve conditions and reduce the desperation that leads many asylum seekers on the often-dangerous journey of seeking refuge in the United States.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“I believe our trade policies should be written with the goal of lifting standards of living both in the United States and abroad, and must protect workers in all countries, not large multinational corporations,” Sanders told The Post. “I support aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala as well as strengthened diplomatic ties.” He signed onto a letter opposing President Trump's foreign aid cuts to Central American countries in April.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak supports increasing foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “The issue of immigration needs leadership, not showmanship.,” Swalwell told The Post. “A leader would go beyond the border and convene leaders from Mexico and South American countries to support working with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as any relevant NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], to see how we can alleviate the suffering that is driving people to seek asylum in the U.S. If that requires increased foreign aid, then it’s an investment we should make."

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I’ll commit at least $1.5 billion annually in aid to fully fund programs that target crime, disrupt trafficking, address poverty, reduce sexual violence, and enhance programs for at-risk youth in Central America and throughout our hemisphere — and I’ll rally the international community to match those funds,” Warren's immigration plan said. She previously told The Post, “I believe we need to use all the tools in the toolbox — and that includes not cutting aid to countries in Central America and instead making sure we provide the support needed so mamas don’t have to flee with their babies for their lives.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“We need to address the reasons people are leaving their homes. We should help provide security and economic opportunity where they live so they don’t feel compelled to flee,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“I absolutely think we should work with our neighbors in the Northern Triangle, through aid provided through U.S. agencies, to quell immigration,” Yang told The Post. “Improving the situation on the ground there will help decrease the number of asylum seekers.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background A surge in unaccompanied minors and families from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala during Obama’s second term led to a significant increase in foreign aid to the region, peaking at $754 million in 2016. The goal was to strengthen civil society, including local and national police forces, and increasing economic opportunities to decrease migration. Since Trump took office, the funding has gradually decreased, with the White House requesting $436 million in fiscal 2019. At the end of March, Trump announced that he would be “ending” previously appropriated aid to the three countries because of another surge in migration from the region. “They haven’t done a thing for us,” he said.

Question 10 of 11

Yes

Yes, supports

These candidates agreed they would accept at least 110,000 refugees a year

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, he told The Post. He co-sponsored the GRACE Act, which would guarantee that the United States would accept at least 95,000 refugees each fiscal year.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“We need to embrace the refugee families fleeing violence, torture, or certain death,” Bullock told The Post. “We should do our part to help with the global refugee crisis, by returning to the baselines established under the Obama administration.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“Providing refuge for the world’s vulnerable and oppressed is a part of our nation’s heritage. It’s part of what makes our nation great,” Buttigieg told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Yes, and we also can and should recognize that climate refugees will increasingly be a part of our world,” Castro told The Post. “I would expand out the refugee program to include folks displaced by natural disasters and our changing climate.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, he told The Post. “We need to remember our history and be a welcoming country for those who want a better life for their families and who are seeking to be productive members of society,” his website says.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

“When other governors across the country gave in to fear and tried to turn away Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS, I declared that Washington state would continue to welcome them into our community,” Inslee told The Post. “My administration will reform the artificially low caps placed on refugees.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar thinks the United States should return to accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, her campaign told The Post. She co-sponsored the GRACE Act, which would guarantee that the United States would accept at least 95,000 refugees each fiscal year.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

“Yes. The U.S. should return to accepting refugees at Obama administration levels at least as the number of refugees worldwide has increased,” Moulton told The Post. “The United States should always be a beacon of hope and opportunity in the world; if we turn away all but 30,000 refugees, we are not living up to American values.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“Yes. We must never allow fear to be the driving force of our nation’s immigration policy,” Ryan told The Post. “It is misguided, and it does not lead to true and lasting improvement in our country.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“The United States under President Trump has not lived up to our values and ideals. We must strengthen and expand our support for refugees fleeing war and violence and do our part in the international community to provide relief,” Sanders told The Post. “We must also pursue a foreign policy that does not destabilize large swaths of the globe, and mount an aggressive response to climate change to ensure the root causes of global migration both now and in the future are addressed.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “We have a responsibility — moral and legally — to take in, as we can, those in need,” Swalwell told The Post. “The Trump administration’s war on refugees is unconscionable. We must do our share to help, through a security-vetting process, the world’s neediest people.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Dramatically reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States is a failure of moral leadership,” Warren told The Post. In her immigration plan, Warren commits to accepting “125,000 refugees in my first year, and ramping up to at least 175,000 refugees per year by the end of my first term.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

Williamson supports accepting at least 110,000 refugees a year, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Some increase

Some increase

Others did not commit to a number of refugees

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“The America I see values basic human decency. Not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border. Americans know that's not right,” Biden said at a speech in February. His campaign had not returned answers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris co-sponsored the GRACE Act, which would guarantee that the United States would accept at least 95,000 refugees each fiscal year. “The United States I know is a place where refugees are welcomed and encouraged to contribute to society,” she said when the bill was introduced.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“I would support an increase from our current levels,” Yang told The Post. “The precise number would be determined by the specific situations and circumstances.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background In the final years of his presidency, Obama raised the limit on the number of refugees the United States would accept each year from 70,000 in 2015 to 85,000 in 2016 and then 110,000 in 2017. Trump has reversed that pattern, reducing the number to 30,000 in 2019. Refugee status is available to people who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. In some cases, it can be granted to people who still reside in their home country.

Question 11 of 11

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background Some single-payer health-care plans call for the federal government to fund the health insurance of the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.

Chelsea Janes contributed to this report.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of ICE removals in fiscal 2016.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. immigration and border security policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports. See something we missed? Let us know.

We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee. The Post will contact additional candidates as they enter the race and include them here.

Curious about where candidates stand on another policy? Fill out this suggestion form.

Recent changes on this page

Aug. 15 Hickenlooper dropped out of presidential race.

Aug. 2 Added quotes from the second night of the second Democratic debate about decriminalizing border crossings.

July 31 Added quotes from the first night of the second Democratic debate about health care for undocumented immigrants and decriminalizing border crossings.

July 30 Added Sestak.

July 20 Updated Biden stance on decriminalizing border crossings based on interview with CNN.

July 11 Added details from Warren's immigration proposal.

July 8 Swalwell dropped out of presidential race.

July 2 Added positions for Gillibrand and Harris on whether they would seek to repeal criminal penalties for people apprehended while crossing the border based on their answers during the debate.

June 21 Added several positions for Gabbard based on a response from her campaign.

June 21 Added several positions for Warren based on a response from her campaign.

June 20 Added Bullock and de Blasio’s positions based on surveys returned from their campaigns. Added several positions for Gabbard, Hickenlooper and Inslee based on response from the campaigns.

June 17 Added Bennet's positions based on a survey returned from his campaign.

June 11 Updated Moulton and Buttigieg stances on health care for undocumented immigrants, as well as Buttigieg on criminal penalties for border crossers and e-Verify.

May 29 Updated Klobuchar's answer on deportation based on updated information from her campaign.

May 16 Added some Biden stances based on public statements.

May 6 Adjusted Williamson's answers on criminal penalties for people apprehended while crossing the border and family detention after her campaign sent clarifications based on additional information.

May 6 Updated with Warren's refugee acceptance rate after more guidance from her campaign.

May 6 Adjusted categorization of Buttigieg answer on abolishing ICE (from "Unclear" to "Restructure or redistribute") after campaign clarification. Also adjusted categories on the family detention question to better group similar positions.

May 6 Added Castro’s position on covering undocumented immigrants.

May 6 Page published.

Kevin Schaul

Kevin Schaul is a senior graphics editor for The Washington Post. He covers national politics and public policy using data and visuals.

Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is a national political reporter at The Washington Post. He was previously the Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, where he also served as the White House correspondent. Before joining Time, he was the Washington correspondent for Salon.com.

Kevin Uhrmacher

Kevin Uhrmacher is a graphics editor for politics at The Washington Post. His work includes mapping trends in election results, analyzing data about President Trump’s political appointees and explaining the impact of congressional policies. He joined The Post in 2014 as a news designer.

Share