Four presidential candidates set to participate in immigration forum

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PASADENA (CNS) – Four candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination are scheduled to participate in a forum on immigration today in Pasadena.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will appear consecutively on the stage at the Hilton Pasadena, fielding questions from the moderators and more than 500 members of “directly impacted communities” at the Immigrant Unity and Freedom Presidential Forum of 2019, according to Jorge-Mario Cabrera, communications director of the CHIRLA Action Fund, which is organizing the event.

The fund is the political arm of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, which supports “the full inclusion of immigrant families throughout California,” according to its Facebook page.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is scheduled to speak at the event.

The forum is set to begin at 2 p.m. and will be livestreamed on www.firmaction.org/presidentialforum.

Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, has pledged that if elected she would “fight to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship” for people living in the U.S. without legal permission.

Harris also said she would immediately reinstate the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which would allow young immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought here as children to remain in the U.S. Opponents say the program rewards people for breaking the law, encourages illegal immigration and hurts American workers.

Harris said she would also implement the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans policy to bar deportation of parents of children who are either American citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Harris has also pledged to restore and expand temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who would face war or catastrophe if forced to return home.

Harris has also called for a fundamental overhaul of immigration enforcement policies and practices, including closing private immigrant detention centers, increasing oversight of agencies like Customs and Border Protection and focusing enforcement on increasing public safety.

Sanders, whose father was an immigrant from Poland, has called for enacting “comprehensive immigration reform, including a path towards citizenship”; expanding DACA and DAPA, including providing immediate legal status for young people eligible for the DACA program and developing a humane policy for those seeking asylum; completely reshaping and reforming the immigration enforcement system, including fundamentally restructuring Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and establishing standards for independent oversight of relevant agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.

Castro, whose maternal grandmother immigrated from Mexico in 1920 when she was a 6-year-old orphan, bills his immigration policy as a “People First” policy.

Castro’s policy calls for a “pathway to full and equal citizenship” to those living in the U.S. without authorization, ending criminal penalties for entering the United States without legal permission and a “Marshall Plan” for Central America, focusing on stabilizing the nations that are the main sources of migration to the United States.

The Marshall Plan was the U.S. initiative to aid Western Europe following World War II.

“Decriminalizing illegal immigration would mean open season for human traffickers, drug smugglers and violent gangs like MS-13,” said Steve Guest, the Republican National Committee’s deputy rapid response director.

Inslee released what he bills as his “America’s Promise” for “for humane, just and efficient immigration reform” on Friday.

“I’m proud to offer a vision for immigration reform that lives up to America’s promise by passing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, welcoming a historic number of refugees to our country, a robust strategy with dealing with the mounting crisis of climate change-driven migration and expanding opportunity for immigrants,” Inslee said.

Sanders will also hold a 10:30 a.m. rally at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Castro will join Garcetti at a Boyle Heights restaurant in speaking on behalf of Measure EE, the parcel tax measure on Tuesday’s ballot to increase funding for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Two other presidential candidates are also scheduled to be in the Los Angeles area on Friday.

Marianne Williamson, the self-help author and lecturer seeking the Democratic nomination, is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. at Santa Monica College’s Emeritus College.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is challenging President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, is scheduled to be a guest on the HBO talk show, “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

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