immigration

Do you support a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million immigrants now living in the country without permission and others in the U.S. under protected status programs?

Yes

Yes, supports

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

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. 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.

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Michael Bennet
Bennet

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “The grandson of immigrants, [Bloomberg] believes in the power of the American Dream,” his campaign website said. “Throughout his career, he has been a passionate advocate for welcoming immigrants and fixing the broken immigration system.” Bloomberg's New American Economy organization backs a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.

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Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. Booker supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

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Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock (Dropped out)

Governor, Montana

Bullock is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

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Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. “It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do for our economy,” Buttigieg told The Post.

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Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. “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.

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Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. De Blasio supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

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Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. Delaney supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

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John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. “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.

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Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. “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.

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Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, California

Harris is no longer running for president. 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.”

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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.”

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John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “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.

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Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. 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.

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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. “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.

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Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke is no longer running for president. “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.

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Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick backed comprehensive immigration reform at an event in New Hampshire, according to WBUR. “A Reform Agenda is about making meaningful fixes to the big systems that consistently fail to meet modern needs,” Patrick's campaign website said. “This means an immigration system that provides for both border integrity and human dignity, that encourages the determined and creative whose values align with ours to make their home here. ” His campaign confirmed he supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

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Deval Patrick
Patrick

Tim Ryan (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan is no longer running for president. Ryan supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, his campaign told The Post. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

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Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “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.

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Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak is no longer running for president. Sestak supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

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Joe Sestak
Sestak

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. Steyer supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, he told The Post.

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Tom Steyer
Steyer

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.

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Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “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.”

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Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “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.”

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Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. “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

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

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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.

The Post is sending detailed questionnaires to every Democratic candidate asking for their stances on various issues. See all the issues we’ve asked about so far.

See our other questions on immigration:

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.

This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ 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. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.

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Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.