Pete Buttigieg on Immigration

Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor


Biblical "welcoming the stranger" means immigrants

I find a message in scripture that is very different from what the political right seems to want to talk about all the time, a lot about poverty, a lot about compassion, a lot about humility that I seek in my imperfect way to live up to, and that does have implications for how I will approach public office. If you belong to a Christian tradition or any moral or religious tradition that emphasizes making yourself useful to the oppressed and standing with the prisoner, and welcoming the stranger, the stranger by the way is another word for immigrant. Yes that has implications in public life and I won't be afraid to talk about how my positions are informed by my faith.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 with Erin Burnett , Feb 18, 2020

Community Renewal Visas: fast-track rural immigration

This has to be a country that manages things like immigration in a way that aligns with our values and our laws. Part of it is that we need to update our laws, which haven't been changed since the 1980s and have made it impossible for us to manage immigration in a commonsense way. But part of it also is recognizing that immigration is part of the lifeblood of this country.

It's why part of what I've proposed is what we call "Community Renewal Visas", as part of my vision for how we increase the economic prospects of rural areas, is that if an area that's hurting for population wants to welcome more--and many do, even in more conservative areas--that they can apply for an allotment of community renewal visas that fast-track folks who are new to America and will commit to living in those communities.

We need to lift up the role of immigration as an engine for our economy, for the development of our communities, and not just pay lip service to legal immigration.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 6, 2020

Fast-track to citizenship for kids in cages at border

Q: You said that the U.S. owes compensation to children separated from their families at the border. Are you committing to compensation for those children?

Buttigieg: Yes, and they should have a fast track to citizenship because what the United States did was wrong, and we have an obligation to make it right. Look into the eyes of a boy whose father was deported and try to think of something to tell that boy because I couldn't tell him he was going to have his dad back.

Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Rural residents know immigrants help revitalize small towns

In some of the most conservative, rural areas of Iowa, I have seen communities that embraced immigration grow. And that's why part of my plan for revitalizing the economies of rural America includes community renewal visas that would allow cities and towns and counties that are hurting not only for jobs but for population to embrace immigration as we have in my city.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Values of faith and welcome should be cultivated

We have to engage the American majority around the opportunities for not just growth in small communities, but our values. Values of welcome, values of faith that all argue for us to manage this humanely and in a way that marries our values with our laws.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Set up program for undocumented, alert system for ICE raids

Partnering with local nonprofit organizations, Buttigieg has instituted a "Community Resident Card" program to help undocumented South Bend residents open bank accounts and fill prescriptions, led "Know Your Rights" events for residents in South Bend's Latino-heavy West Side to prepare them in the event of federal immigration operations, and even helped create a phone tree to alert local families in the event that ICE raided the homes or businesses of city residents.
Source: The Daily Beast blog on 2019 Democratic primary , Aug 14, 2019

Crossing the border illegally should still be illegal

Q: You're in favor of getting rid of the law that makes it a crime to come across the border illegally. Why won't that just encourage more illegal immigration?

BUTTIGIEG: When I am president, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue over the finer points of which parts of this ought to be handled by civil law and which parts ought to be handled by criminal law. But we've got a crisis on our hands. Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. We've been talking about the same framework for my entire adult lifetime, protections for DREAMers; making sure that we have a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented; cleaning up lawful immigration. We know what to do. The problem is we haven't had the will to get it done in Washington.

Q: But didn't you raise your hand in the last debate, to decriminalize crossing the border illegally?

BUTTIGIEG: If fraud is involved, then that's suitable for the criminal statute. If not, then it should be handled under civil law.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Decriminalizing border-crossing ends child separation

Q: Raise your hand if you think it should be a civil offense rather than a crime to cross the border without documentation?

[8 out of 10 debate participants would decriminalize unauthorized border crossings. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, and Eric Swalwell raised their hands, indicating their first public support of the proposal. Julian Castro called out Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), who has argued the law should remain on the books. The only candidate to flatly reject the idea was Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). Joe Biden took a mixed position.

Buttigieg: That criminalization is the basis for family separation. You do away with that, it's no longer possible. The Republican Party likes to cloak itself in the language of religion. For a party that associates itself with Christianity, to say that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Policies make things worse instead of solving problems

We have got a president who got elected on a promise to fix immigration. And issues at the border, including a humanitarian crisis, created by this president through cruel policies, like family separation, are only getting worse. Meanwhile, the one thing that would really help the issue of increased migration flows. under this president, seeing a threat to take funds away from stabilizing those Central American countries. We have got this completely upside down.
Source: CNN State of the Union 2019 interview , Jun 16, 2019

Should help stabilize Central America nations, not cut aid

The one thing that would really help the issue of increased migration flows from Central America -- one migrant said: "I'm not here to seek the American dream. I'm here because I'm fleeing the nightmare in Honduras." We're actually, under this president, seeing a threat to take funds away from stabilizing those Central American countries. We have got this completely upside down.
Source: CNN "SOTU" 2019 interview series , Jun 16, 2019

Most Americans are immigrants or their descendants

Buttigieg thinks the country needs comprehensive immigration reform, but hasn't said what that will entail. He thinks current policy at the southern border, including building the wall and˙separating families is bad policy.˙ "I'm here because of immigration," he said in a Scripps College town hall. "My father immigrated to this country and that's why I'm here. And most of us, unless we're descended from the first nations have that in our story, either came here or were brought here."
Source: Indianapolis Star on 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 6, 2019

There's a consensus on immigration if we have the will

I think the reason that the Dreamer story is so powerful is that it reflects the experiences of people who are Americans. They're not U.S. citizens, but in many cases this is the only country they can even remember. There are over 10 million people who are undocumented immigrants in this country who don't fall into that category. And the reality is, we can't have comprehensive immigration reform that works unless it addresses the status for those 11-some million undocumented immigrants. What we need to do is make sure there's a pathway to citizenship for them, too.

We know the outlines of a comprehensive immigration reform -- a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people in this country; a level of protection for DREAMers; a set of reforms to clear up the bureaucracy and the backlogs in the lawful immigration system, which is how my father became a U.S. citizen; and reasonable measures on border security.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 22, 2019

Problem isn't ICE; it's what they're ordered to do

We have worked very hard to be a welcoming city. People who are really important parts of our community are being torn apart from their families. This is not making us safer. When it comes to ICE, I don't care what the agency is called. I care what it does. As long as you have an agency being ordered to tear families apart from one another or being ordered to make it harder to get on a path to citizenship, you're going to continue to have heartbreaking stories that are not helping anybody.
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview of 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 7, 2019

Supports DACA and easing deportation policies

Buttigieg supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and would like to see Congress pass a law creating pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. He also opposes the Trump administration's aggressive deportation policies,.
Source: PBS Newshour on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 15, 2019

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Page last updated: Sep 01, 2021