What would the plan do?
(D-Calif.) released a plan Wednesday that would use executive authority to offer deportation relief to an estimated 6 million undocumented immigrants and a path to citizenship to some Dreamers brought to the U.S. as children.
How would it work?
Harris would reinstate and expand the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants deportation relief and work permits to Dreamers. Trump moved to terminate the program in 2017, but federal courts have blocked his planned phaseout.
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Harris would use “parole” authority to allow Dreamers with U.S.-citizen spouses to apply for permanent residency and eventual citizenship. She also would issue a regulation that clarified that Dreamers were not at fault for their lack of legal status, which can be a roadblock to permanent residency.
In addition, Harris would offer deportation relief to undocumented immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as well as other “law-abiding immigrants with ties to their communities.”
What are the weaknesses in the proposal?
Harris would rely on executive powers to implement the plan, which could make it vulnerable to legal challenges. Federal judges thus far have preserved the DACA program, but ongoing litigation may soon wind its way to the Supreme Court. The justices in 2016 deadlocked on a more expansive Obama deportation relief program, effectively killing it.
How much would it cost?
Harris doesn’t outline the costs associated with the plan. The Congressional Budget Office found a Democrat-back House bill that offered a conditional legal status to 2.3 million people would increase the deficit by $26 billion over a 10-year period. The CBO said the deficits would increase because the newly legalized immigrants would be eligible for certain federal benefits.
How would she pay for it?
Harris estimates that the plan will generate $445 billion in gross domestic product over a decade, a windfall of economic gains that likely would outstrip the cost to the federal government.
What have other Democrats proposed?
The Democratic field generally supports a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Julián Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development, has released a broad immigration plan that would remove some obstacles that prevent undocumented immigration from legalizing. Harris, however, is the first to explain how she would use executive powers to allow more Dreamers to obtain citizenship.
Who would it help?
The proposal would help an estimated 6 million undocumented immigrants.
Who opposes it?
While he hasn’t commented about it yet, President Trump likely would oppose a plan that uses executive powers to grant more protections to undocumented immigrants.
Christopher Cadelago contributed to this report.