Do you support extending the existing physical barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border?
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These candidates said they would not support adding any more wall along the Southern border
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Only if experts recommend it
Others said they would consider the input of experts and local communities before ruling it out
U.S. senator, Colorado
Bennet only supports extending the physical barrier if experts recommend it, he told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
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
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
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
U.S. representative, California
“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
“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
“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
Candidates who do not appear to have addressed the question, or who have not returned responses.
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 by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
U.S. representative, Hawaii
“I will continue to stand with our people by ensuring they are paid and keep getting paid, and use their tax dollars responsibly — and not for an unnecessary border wall,” Gabbard said following the January government shutdown. She did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
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 by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
Former governor, Colorado
“We don't want to waste money building a wall that's not really necessary” Hickenlooper told NPR. He did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
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
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.
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.
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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.
Recent changes on this page
June 17 Added Bennet's positions based on 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.