The 2018 midterms were awash in anti-immigrant ads because Donald Trump and Stephen Miller’s divide and distract strategy was widely adopted by the GOP. But — contrary to some commentators who say that Democrats didn’t run on the issues — a number of Democrats flipped House seats with immigration reform platforms that were based on inclusive values. They called for support for Dreamers and DACA, temporary protected status (TPS), and extending a pathway to citizenship for the hardworking law-abiding immigrants who remain in shadows.
Here are some of those new members of the House and what their campaign websites said about immigration:
Lauren Underwood, IL-14
“Immigrants have been vital to the cultural fabric and economic success of America since our nation’s founding. Our policies must honor and recognize the value and dignity of all of our immigrant communities and I strongly condemn the hurtful and divisive rhetoric that has become commonplace under the new administration.
We must take immediate action to provide all DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship through a clean Dream Act.
We must take immediate action to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including re-evaluating which countries receive preferential immigration authority.”
Antonio Delgado, NY-19
“I believe that we are a nation of immigrants, and that our region can benefit from a sensible and compassionate immigration policy. Immigrants are part of our social fabric and come to this region to fill important roles in every industry, including physicians who come to work at our rural hospitals, seasonal workers our farmers rely upon to bring in the harvest and across the hospitality and tourism industries.
I will fight for immigration policies that reflect the character and decency of the people of upstate New York, which includes ending the separation of children from their families. We need to pass bipartisan legislation that brings about real, lasting solutions to our broken immigration system. At the same time, we are also a nation of laws, and just like American citizens, those who come to our country must respect and obey our laws.
Our elected representatives need to work across the aisle to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes an attainable path to citizenship for undocumented people who are contributing to our economy and society. For the 1.3 million DREAMers and TPS holders, we need to prioritize passing a clean Dream Act.”
Sharice Davids, KS-03
“Our current immigration system is unnecessarily complex and outdated.
The country promised to protect childhood arrivals under the DACA program and we must uphold that word.
Sharice plans to —
Do the hard work necessary to finally achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
Work across the aisle to develop common sense policy that supports our nation’s role as a beacon of hope for people around the world.
Fight to protect DACA recipients and create a pathway to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants — our friends, teachers, neighbors — who have known no other home.”
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, FL-26
“We’ve all seen the images of children separated from their parents at the border. That’s not who we are as a country. And we must fight back.
As an immigrant from Ecuador and a first-generation American, I know many of the challenges that immigrants face in this country, especially under this administration. For years, we’ve talked about fixing our broken immigration system. Now let’s finally do it by creating a path to citizenship for DREAMers, allowing TPS holders to become permanent residents, and protecting our asylum process for those who need it most, including those who have recently arrived from Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Our history as a nation of immigrants makes us a stronger country, and our diversity is what makes South Florida so special.”
Donna Shalala, FL-27
“To fix America’s immigration system and help restore the American Dream, Donna Shalala will:
- Protect and unify families – not tear them apart. If you’ve worked hard and played by the rules, there should be a pathway to citizenship. Separating children from their parents to try and scare people into not crossing the border is evil — plain and simple.
- It is plainly un-American that families living here should be fearful of government.
- Defend DACA and protect DREAMers. Donna Shalala believes that Congress must renew DACA and provide a pathway to citizenship for our young DREAMers and their families as well.
- Extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) where applicable and provide a pathway to permanent residency for those who have children or parents who are citizens or who can prove extreme hardship if deported.
- Pressure dictatorial regimes through sanctions and diplomatic strength, but not punish their citizens or those seeking freedom and opportunity in the United States.
- Ensure access to education, social services, public safety, and affordable health care to all families, regardless of immigration status – providing sanctuary wherever we can to upstanding members of our communities.”
Abigail Spanberger, VA-07
“The United States was founded as a nation of immigrants, but our current immigration system is broken. Too many politicians use immigration as a political talking point instead of actually trying to solve the problems. I am committed to finding real, bipartisan solutions to fix our immigration system, and I will work with anyone to create a proposal for immigration reform that ensures border security, takes into account the needs of our workforce, respects our values and history, gives certainty to DACA recipients, and creates an earned pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants currently living here as long as they abide by the law, work hard, and pay taxes.”
Jennifer Wexton, VA-10
“America is a nation of immigrants and my family is among those who came here seeking freedom, safety, and opportunity. Rather than working together to find bipartisan policies that will improve our immigration system, the President and Congressional Republicans are promoting fear-mongering tactics, like raids and roundups, against immigrants. As State Senator, Jennifer consistently voted against and spoke out against Republican attempts to stigmatize immigrants, including their anti-Sharia legislation, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bills, and legislation that would have required Virginia to track and report on the location of refugees who resettle here.
Jennifer believes Congress needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for immigrant families, protects DREAMers and their futures, prioritizes the deportation of violent criminals over status offenders, shuts down inhumane private detention centers, and ensures money that this administration would spend on building a wall instead be spent on securing and modernizing our borders and defending national security.”
Tom Malinowski, NJ-07
“I would support bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform which provides funds to better secure the border, encourages legal immigration that will strengthen our economy, create a tough but fair process to bring unauthorized immigrants out of the shadows, and strengthens employment verification.
I fully support the extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, because by any common measure, DREAMers are Americans. They grew up in America; they pay taxes; they have started businesses; they have served in our military; and if deported they would be forced to start entirely new lives in countries they have never known.
I strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the border. There is nothing unlawful about approaching a customs officer and asking for asylum from repression or violence; to punish people for doing so by taking away their children is heartless and lawless. I would oppose using a single cent of taxpayer money to fund the practice of family separation by ICE.
I believe a border wall would be a harmful symbol of America shutting itself off from the world and a waste of money — anyone with a ladder can get over a wall and most illegal immigration these days results from people overstaying visas, not from crossing the border.
Unlike Congressman Lance, I have consistently opposed the Trump administration’s ban on travel from Muslim majority countries and closing the door to refugees coming to America. These policies hurt our national security by alienating allies who are fighting with us against terrorism and are inconsistent with our values as Americans.
And finally, I support granting additional protections for domestic and farm workers. Many of these jobs are taken by immigrants on work visas. This leaves these workers vulnerable to exploitation from their employers, who can threaten deportation if these law abiding immigrants speak out against low wages or abhorrent work conditions. Abuse of migrant workers also keeps wages artificially low for all workers.”
Haley Stevens, MI-11
“The metro Detroit region shows the way forward on immigration. We have a community of people with roots from all over the world working together.
The Trump administration’s divisive response to immigration issues is appalling and harmful. We must never forget that America is a country of immigrants. Recent actions by the Trump administration and Congress violate not only individual liberties, but also undermine our system of federalism and principles of local control. We need to curb the overreaching power of ICE.
Congress needs to pass legislation on comprehensive immigration that treats people with dignity. We need to pass legislation that supports deferred action for childhood arrivals known as DACA and grants citizenship. Now is the time for Congress to come together and fix a broken immigration system that has resulted in painful separations, impacted families and communities, and hurt our economy. It is no doubt that America, a nation of proud immigrants, needs to embrace safe, legal, and fair immigration policies and enforce the laws humanely.”
Sean Casten, IL-06
“We must pass legislation to formally approve DACA and protect immigrants who entered the country as children from removal by future presidents (e.g., through the DREAM Act).
We must secure our borders — but we also must recognize that the bulk of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. are visa overstays, not illegal border crossings. Border walls are an expensive waste of resources paid by U.S. taxpayers, not Mexico as Donald Trump promised.
“We must close private immigration detention centers. We detain too many immigrants in facilities that dehumanize them and harken back to dark days of Japanese internment camps. We are better than that as a country and should not allow these facilities to remain open.
We must limit the ability of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to interject themselves into local law enforcement. Local police forces almost unanimously oppose the federal overreach that ICE has applied to compel disclosure of immigration status. Those programs frustrate community policing, put victims of domestic violence at risk and increase our risk for communicable diseases — all because they create a culture wherein otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants are reluctant to engage with public officials. Some cities and states have responded by adopting public policy guidelines that limit their cooperation with ICE in the enforcement of federal immigration law when federal immigration law may infringe upon an individual’s right to due process, but we need to provide them with responsible federal policy — not to ask them to correct our mistakes.”