O'Rourke immigration plan would create pathway to citizenship for 11 million people

O'Rourke immigration plan would create pathway to citizenship for 11 million people
© Greg Nash

Presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) on Wednesday unveiled an immigration plan that would create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people within his first 100 days in office. 

"This innovative plan overcomes a generation of inaction to finally rewrite our immigration laws in our own image — reflecting our values, the reality of the border, the best interests of our communities, and the longstanding traditions of a country comprised of families from the world over,” O’Rourke said in a statement.

The Texas Democrat’s plan includes congressional legislation that would create an immediate path to citizenship for Dreamers, young immigrants who unlawfully came to the U.S. as children, as well as beneficiaries of programs like the temporary protected status (TPS) and deferred enforced departure programs.

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O’Rourke’s plan would also reportedly make the naturalization process easier for 9 million already-eligible immigrants by waiving fees and providing prefilled applications, according to a statement.

O’Rourke said that on his first day in office he would use executive actions to undo the “cruel and cynical policies of the Trump Administration” before legislation could be passed.

His proposed executive actions would end family separations at the border and remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and TPS beneficiaries.

The third pillar to O’Rourke’s plan includes collaboration with Central and Latin American countries, including a $5 million investment toward ending violence and poverty in the region. 

O’Rourke, who was a congressman from a border state, released his plan just days after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE rolled out his new “pro-American” immigration plan that would move U.S. toward a “merit-based” system favoring highly skilled workers over migrants with family members living here.

“Democrats are proposing open borders, lower wages and, frankly, lawless chaos. We are proposing an immigration plan that puts the jobs, wages and safety of American workers first,” Trump said during a speech in the White House Rose Garden earlier this month. 

The president’s plan did not address the fate of the millions of Dreamers.

Trump attempted to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after he came to office and Democrats have been pushing to make protections for those affected by it a priority.

White House aides have said the issue is too divisive and was intentionally left out of Trump’s latest proposal.

“Every single time that we have put forward or anyone else has put forward any type of immigration plan and it’s included DACA, it’s failed,” press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersBill Press: Mulvaney proves need for daily briefings White House correspondent April Ryan to moderate fundraising event for Buttigieg White House press secretary defends lack of daily briefings: Trump 'is the most accessible president in history' MORE Sanders told reporters.