immigration

Do you support a return to the Obama administration’s 2014 policy that focused deportation efforts on recent border crossers, convicted criminals and national security threats?

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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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 (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. “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

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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.

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.

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