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Thu Nov 7, 2019, 06:57 AM

Bernie Sanders wants to revamp trade deals, labor protections as part of sweeping immigration plan

Jacob Pramuk


Sen. Bernie Sanders would revamp North American trade relationships and expand protections for workers as part of a sweeping new immigration plan.

The senator’s proposal ties trade and labor rights to immigration at a time when trade stands at the top of President Trump’s economic agenda.

Sanders said he would seek to temporarily halt deportations, decriminalize border crossings and “break up” the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agencies.


Sanders’ plan sets out sprawling goals on an issue that has repeatedly proven intractable in Congress. Here are some of the key points of the senator’s immigration proposal:

Sanders said he would “negotiate trade deals that strengthen, not undermine, the rights of workers in the United States and abroad, and oppose any new agreement that do not meet adequate labor standards.” While the plan does not specifically say he would toss out Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, he has opposed the deal as it currently stands, saying it will not go far enough to protect workers.

The senator would also start a program to accept at least 50,000 migrants displaced by climate change during his first year in office.

Sanders also says his signature universal health-care plan, “Medicare for All,” would “provide comprehensive care to everyone in America,” regardless of immigration status.

Sanders aims to set up what his campaign calls a “whistleblower visa” to encourage immigrant workers to speak out against exploitative behavior by employers without fear of blowback or deportation. He would also seek to end workplace raids targeting undocumented workers. In addition, the senator would push to boost protections and bargaining power for farm and domestic workers, including by requiring a $15 per hour minimum wage, regardless of immigration status.


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