2020 Democratic candidates vow to undo Trump’s immigration actions

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at the Unity and Freedom Presidential Forum in Pasadena on Friday. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The sign up period for 2020 presidential candidature is over; no more signings, the field is bursting to capacity; Democratic candidates vow to undo Trump’s immigration actions//Crimson Tazvinzwa

Democratic presidential candidates have focused on healthcare, student debt and climate change, but few have given the same level of attention to immigration.

That started to change Friday, as the 2020 hopefuls poured into California, where immigration has been a front-and-center issue for decades. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee promised hundreds of immigrant rights advocates at a Pasadena forum that they would push through immediate legislative and executive action if elected.

They railed against President Trump’s actions, such as trying to build a border wall and his efforts to ban visitors from several Muslim-majority countries.“We have a president  who is a racist, who is a pathological liar, who thinks that he can win reelection by dividing the American people up based on the color of our skin, or where we were born, or our religion, or our sexual orientation,” Sanders said.

At a nearby rally earlier in the day, Sanders told hundreds of supporters that “America must never be a country where babies are snatched from the arms of their mothers.”

The moderators and questioners from the forum audience pressed the quartet to pursue comprehensive immigration reform — including a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally — within the first 100 days of taking office. Harris, Sanders and Castro agreed; Inslee said he would pursue such legislation “as soon as humanly possible.”

Harris said Trump built his candidacy on “vilifying immigrants, on this multibillion-dollar vanity project of his called the wall.” Since then, she said, fear of deportation has affected immigrant families’ lives: children terrified a parent won’t return home from work; a parent avoiding seeking medical care for a child; a rape victim not reporting the crime to law enforcement.

“There are real consequences to real human beings,” she said. “That’s why the first 100 days is important to me.”

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