Immigration in the 2016 Democratic Platform

confetti-red-white-blue-rotator-720x478On the first day of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, the party released its official platform – a nonbinding document that serves as a guide for Democratic policymaking at every level of government.

Among other things, this year’s platform calls for creating “a pathway to citizenship” for most illegal aliens, taxpayer benefits for illegal aliens, expanding refugee admissions, and an end to enforcement “raids.”

While a more thorough analysis is forthcoming, FAIR has compiled sections of the platform that address immigration below.

Excerpts from the Preamble:

We are proud of our heritage as a nation of immigrants. We know that today’s immigrants are tomorrow’s teachers, doctors, lawyers, government leaders, soldiers, entrepreneurs, activists, PTA members, and pillars of our communities.


The stakes have been high in previous elections. But in 2016, the stakes can be measured in human lives—in the number of immigrants who would be torn from their homes; in the number of faithful and peaceful Muslims who would be barred from even visiting our shores; in the number of allies alienated and dictators courted; in the number of Americans who would lose access to health care and see their rights ripped away.

The section “Fixing our Broken Immigration System” in its entirety:

The United States was founded as, and continues to be, a country of immigrants from throughout the world. It is no coincidence that the Statue of Liberty is one of our most profound national symbols. And that is why Democrats believe immigration is not just a problem to be solved, it is a defining aspect of the American character and our shared history.

The Democratic Party supports legal immigration, within reasonable limits, that meets the needs of families, communities, and the economy as well as maintains the United States’ role as a beacon of hope for people seeking safety, freedom, and security. People should come to the United States with visas and not through smugglers. Yet, we recognize that the current immigration system is broken.

More than 11 million people are living in the shadows, without proper documentation. The immigration bureaucracy is full of backlogs that result in U.S. citizens waiting for decades to be reunited with family members, and green card holders waiting for years to be reunited with their spouses and minor children. The current quota system discriminates against certain immigrants, including immigrants of color, and needs to be reformed to the realities of the 21st century. And there are real questions about our detention and deportation policies that must be addressed.

Democrats believe we need to urgently fix our broken immigration system—which tears families apart and keeps workers in the shadows—and create a path to citizenship for law-abiding families who are here, making a better life for their families and contributing to their communities and our country. We should repeal the 3-year, 10-year and permanent bars, which often force persons in mixed status families into the heartbreaking dilemma of either pursuing a green card by leaving the country and their loved ones behind, or remaining in the shadows. We will work with Congress to end the forced and prolonged expulsion from the country that these immigrants endure when trying to adjust their status.

We must fix family backlogs and defend against those who would exclude or eliminate legal immigration avenues and denigrate immigrants. Those immigrants already living in the United States, who are assets to their communities and contribute so much to our country, should be incorporated completely into our society through legal processes that give meaning to our national motto: E Pluribus Unum.

And while we continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, we will defend and implement President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans executive actions to help DREAMers, parents of citizens, and lawful permanent residents avoid deportation. We will build on these actions to provide relief for others, such as parents of DREAMers. We will support efforts by states to make DREAMers eligible for driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition. We will invest in culturally-appropriate immigrant integration services, expand access to English language education, and promote naturalization to help the millions of people who are eligible for citizenship take that last step.

We believe immigration enforcement must be humane and consistent with our values. We should prioritize those who pose a threat to the safety of our communities, not hardworking families who are contributing to their communities. We will end raids and roundups of children and families, which unnecessarily sow fear in immigrant communities. We disfavor deportations of immigrants who served in our armed forces, and we want to create a faster path for such veterans to citizenship. We should ensure due process for those fleeing violence in Central America and work with our regional partners to address the root causes of violence. We must take particular care with children, which is why we should guarantee government-funded counsel for unaccompanied children in immigration courts. We should consider all available means of protecting these individuals from the threats to their lives and safety—including strengthening in-country and third-country processing, expanding the use of humanitarian parole, and granting Temporary Protected Status.

We will promote best practices among local law enforcement, in terms of how they collaborate with federal authorities, to ensure that they maintain and build trust between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. We will also vigorously oversee any programs put in place, to make sure that there are no abuses and no arbitrary deportation programs. We will establish an affirmative process for workers to report labor violations and to request deferred action. We will work to ensure that all Americans—regardless of immigration status—have access to quality health care. That means expanding community health centers, allowing all families to buy into the Affordable Care Act exchanges, supporting states that open up their public health insurance programs to all persons, and finally enacting comprehensive immigration reform. And we will expand opportunities for DREAMers to serve in the military and to then receive expedited pathways to citizenship.

We will fight to end federal, state, and municipal contracts with for-profit private prisons and private detention centers. In order to end family detention, we will ensure humane alternatives for those who pose no public threat. We recognize that there are vulnerable communities within our immigration system who are often seeking refuge from persecution abroad, such as LGBT families, for whom detention can be unacceptably dangerous.

We reject attempts to impose a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the United States. It is un-American and runs counter to the founding principles of this country.

Finally, Democrats will not stand for the divisive and derogatory language of Donald Trump. His offensive comments about immigrants and other communities have no place in our society. This kind of rhetoric must be rejected.

An excerpt from the section “Securing Universal Health Care”:

Democrats believe that all health care services should be culturally and linguistically appropriate, and that neither fear nor immigration status should be barriers that impede health care access.

An excerpt from the section “Americas”:

The Americas are a region of singular strategic, economic, and cultural importance and opportunity for the United States. Democrats reject Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on our southern border and alienate Mexico, a valuable partner. We will instead embrace our neighbors and pursue strong, fruitful partnerships across the region, from Canada to Latin America and the Caribbean. We will bolster democratic institutions, promote economic opportunity and prosperity, and tackle the rise of drugs, transnational crime, and corruption. We will strengthen the U.S.- Caribbean regional relationship through economic development and comprehensive immigration reform. And we will build on our long-term commitment to Colombia and work with Central American countries to stabilize the Northern Triangle.

An excerpt from the section “Refugees”:

The world is experiencing a major refugee crisis with more than 60 million people displaced as a result of conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. We support President Obama’s call for an international summit to address this crisis so that every country assumes its responsibility to meet this humanitarian challenge. While Donald Trump proposes banning Muslim refugees, we will look for ways to help innocent people who are fleeing persecution while ensuring rigorous screening and vetting.

avatar About FAIR Gov't Relations Team

From meeting with members of Congress to providing testimonies for hearings and issuing reports, FAIR has worked on national immigration issues since 1979. The Government Relations team reviews legislation and legal opinions and acts as a liaison between FAIR and Congress.


  1. avatar JUSTICEFORALL says:


  2. avatar SecBorders says:

    So in Hillary’s speech she said she wants lower unemployment, higher salaries, to reduce global warming emissions, etc. while simultaneously flooding the labor market with millions of cheap foreign laborers which will drive down wages, increase unemployment and increase global warming emissions.

    As an analogy, picture two people in a boat that is leaking water. While the first person is using a bucket to empty the rising water out of the boat, the second is using a tool to punch holes in the bottom. This is, in essence, the Democratic Party platform.

    • avatar Leland says:

      I don’t believe her for a minute when she says she opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership “free trade” treaty. She’s promoted it right up until Bernie Sanders forced her to renounce it. But I’m sure what she will do is say it “can be made better”, meaning just some cosmetic changes, and she will try and push it through. What most people don’t realize is that not only is it a “trade” bill but it will allow foreign companies to bring in their workers at will.

      It’s nothing but a globalization monstrosity. Trump has been opposing these deals for a long time. There’s a tv ad being run that shows her giving a speech to a group of Indian businessmen in 2005 and she is saying there is nothing that can be done about outsourcing of jobs. In other words, she claims that a sovereign country, which I thought we were, can’t set limits? She and Bill have been selling their influence for years. They just play this pretend game that the money goes to the Clinton Foundation, which is them.

      The Democrats keep harping that we can’t set limits on who comes here by religion. Freedom of religion exists for US citizens and residents. There is nothing in the constitution that gives the right to anyone of any group or nationality to come here. We decide. But give Hillary a couple Supreme Court appointments and no doubt they will find a right somewhere.

      • avatar SecBorders says:

        I don’t trust Hillary on trade either, with the horrible track record the Clintons have of shipping jobs to other countries. And Hillary is now preaching about how important it is for things to be made in America? Give me a break.

        • avatar SecBorders says:

          And the Clinton Foundation has received millions of dollars, and Bill Clinton has received hundreds of thousands in speaking fees from Saudi Arabia and other autocratic Middle Eastern countries that oppress women, Christians and Jews and that support terrorism.

          While Secretary of State, Hillary approved multi-billion dollar arms deals with oppressive Middle Eastern countries that had given money to the Clinton Foundation, including a huge arms deal with Saudi Arabia that Israel objected to because it would upset the balance of power in the region.

          Ironic that in the propaganda video before Hillary’s big speech that was narrated by Morgan Freeman, they made a big deal about 9/11, when today the Clinton’s are bought and paid for by the Saudi’s, and it was Saudi men who were the majority of those who carried out the attack with possible financing from Saudi Arabia.

          So Hillary is not going to shut down most immigration from Muslim countries that sponsor terrorism, because Hillary and Bill Clinton would rather line their pockets with money from autocratic Middle Eastern countries than protect Americans from being killed in a terrorist attack.

          • avatar Leland says:

            Exactly. She has no credibility when she spews that propaganda that Muslims are peaceful and tolerant and “have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism”. She’s paid to say it.

  3. avatar BKaur says:

    the illegal aliens are NOT hiding in the shadows anywhere.. they are going to our ER rooms, our stores, driving our roads, living in our communities, going to our schools .. WHAT shadows are they hiding in???
    these people are here ILLEGALLY and they do NOT belong here.. WHAT part of ILLEGAL does our government NOT understand.. these illegal aliens flood our country and the citizens are paying the price…
    Hillary wants to leave the borders open so anyone can enter..with NO regards for our laws… the more and more illegals who flood this country.. sucking out our resources and tax dollars.. HOW long does ANYONE think this country will be able to sustain the strain.. How long will the citizens be able to sustain the burden?
    Our country was built on LEGAL immigration.. these illegal aliens enter and we have NO Idea who they are, what their backgrounds are, what diseases they carry.. they refuse to speak English.. More and more of them flood this country will leave more and more citizens without jobs…
    Put Hillary in the white house and she WILL steal America from the citizens…

    • avatar Diane anglin says:

      There are many democrats who are unhappy with illegal immigration and unlimited green cards as well. The trouble is that only two real candidates are running and the republicans continue to put up extreme candidates that I can not vote for because they want to get rid of affordable care act, planned parenthood, give tax cuts to the one percent who do not need them, cut food assistance for poor Americans and possibly start world war three. Until the Republicans put up more moderate candidates I can not vote for them. Not to mention I did not see a lot being done to stop illegals or limit green cards under bush.

      • avatar Don't care for either party says:

        Diane, first off you are false about many things. It’s not just the Republicans that give to the 1% it is also the Democrats. And to be more exact Trump we’ll hopefully will eliminate the Affordable Care Act because it is a waste of taxpayers money and it is taking billions out of Medicare along with allowing Incredible Dr to excel because Obama wants to put a finite number of each type of doctor in the medical field. But I don’t think that’s going to happen regardless anyways because the Republican party and the Democratic party take care of themselves and no one else oh except their buddies the elite. When have you ever seen a successful government-run anything? The government runs the public schools and we are the worst for industrialized nations in math and sciences. We used to be first when I was a boy now we are in the 80th to 100th percentile depending on which country you speak with. Our government spends so much money we can’t even take care of her elderly, poor and veterans. And if you don’t think under a Democrat president we want have cuts coming up it’s because our government spends. Where do you think he got the money for the Affordable Healthcare Act ? Medicare along with having consumers pay more out-of-pocket for their expensive Health Care Weatherby their monthly benefit program or the amount of money that comes out of the pocket of the consumer for a procedure or seeing a doctor. I truly believe that our deficits are more than 19 trillion dollars. I would gather if a true study was made without any partisanship we would have a 30-50 trillion dollar deficit. I’m not sure if you know anything about economics 101 but if we had a true capitalist system which we do not anymore the less she text somebody the more that money is going to be in the economic system and more people will get a piece of that money. And it’s not just the Republicans that are taking money away it’s also the Democrats. They have created so many governmental jobs that have wasted taxpayers money that is one of the reasons why we are in huge deficits along with the Federal Reserve Act that was signed into law 1913 under President Wilson. So my opinion is that because our educational system is terrible you are not learning what are Constitution truly means, our governmental system truly means and are true capitalist system that works better than Socialism or communism and that is a historical fact.

      • avatar Mandy says:

        Not one politician ever mentions that all the illegals that they want for the workforce is overloading our medical system. No mention of needing more doctors or how overworked the doctors and nurses already are.

        We have Chinese flying to the US to have their babies and the same happens in Canada but no politician discusses fixing the “anchor baby” situation with some type of wording such as a limit that you have to be born here and live in the US for at least 10 months or some type of language to stop this.

        I am so tired of the lie that we have a broken immigration policy. It isn’t broken, it is just not being enforced.

        • avatar Joan basson says:


          • avatar Leland says:

            If you look at the Supreme Court decision of 1898 in the case of Wong Kim Ark who was born here, in the last paragraph they make it very clear that they found he was a citizen, even though his parents were not, because they were long time residents [what we would call legal residents now] and were engaged in business in California and known to the authorities there as being long time residents of many years.

            So the question is, why would they take the time to point those things out? Obviously that reasoning would suggest that it was because they had no concept, and likely would not approve, that the children of people who were here by an illegal act, either crossing the border without permission or overstaying a visa, would be considered citizens. Ark’s parents were here legally, and were permanent residents, not someone who crossed the border just to have a baby and game the welfare system for a lifetime. A welfare system that did not exist then.

      • avatar Mandy says:

        I don’t know where you are getting your information but Republicans just don’t want taxpayers to pay for abortion. Some religious groups etc are against abortion but no where have I heard the GOP wants abortion gone. We do believe there baby there and not just a blob but no word as to do away with abortion. The do not want to get rid of ACA but to put in place a better system with insurance companies that can sell policies across state lines to help reduce costs. I have heard that due to the extremely high premiums coming this fall that the pols want to move the announcement of these high premiums to December so it will be after the election. I have a family member on SNAP and we haven’t heard a word about food assistance being cut. I have no idea about your WWIII statement. If you want to vote Democrat, please go ahead but please get your facts straight.

        • avatar Joan basson says:

          My belief and firm conviction is that abortion is not murder because you cannot kill a spirit, and you do not when a pregnancy is terminated. The spirit that chooses to enter that fetus will not remain if an abortion or miscarriage will occur, but enter another fetus. The spirit enters a fetus some time around m,id-pregnancy.

      • avatar SecBorders says:

        “…possibly start world war three.”

        I would be more worried about Hillary starting world war 3 than Trump. Neocons are lining up behind Hillary, including those that have a lot of investments in the arms business and who want to continue conducting US military and NATO exercises along the borders of Russia and make Ukraine part of NATO. Then they can move our military along more of Russia’s borders, provoking a reaction from Russia, increasing tensions so they can further justify more military spending that they are profiting from.

        Hillary has received donations from 9 of the 10 world’s largest arms manufacturers. All the people making these US policy decisions should divest themselves from conflicts of interest with the arms business, but of course they won’t be doing that.

        Some blame the Russians for reacting negatively, but how would we respond if the Russians had an alliance with Mexico and were conducting military exercises along our southern border with Mexico? This is especially sensitive for the Russians given their history of being invaded by Napoleon and Hitler, the invasion by Hitler of the the then Soviet Union being the bloodiest conflict in the history of the world.

        This doesn’t exactly deal with immigration, but it is another reason not to vote for Hillary who is also for open borders.

      • avatar Liz says:

        We know exactly what you mean! Our family has always voted Democratic because we believe in clean environment, peace and women’s right to chose. The first time President Obama ran we brought a boatload of young voters to the polls. Not so much in 2012.
        This year we are staying home and not voting. People who wish to vote may need to check their voting laws in their state. I believe I read in the paper that May 9th was the last day to change your voting party in Texas. Just a blurb in the paper a few days before May 9th? ????.
        We can only hope the government remains divided if either candidate wins! Better a do nothing government than one which pushes their extreme agengas on the American people.!

    • avatar James Morgan says:

      Don’t you get it? Open borders and more illegal aliens = more Democrat voters, through fraud as well as illegally giving them the vote = more democrat power.

  4. avatar Bud Bowen says:

    Our country is the great place that it is due to sacrifice, enduring the unendurable, fighting and winning our wars, working hard, caring about our fellow Americans and believing in ourselves. Those were high prices to pay. Now the Democrats want to SIMPLY GIVE ALL OUR ANCESTORS HARD WORK AND SACRIFICE TO ANYONE FOR FREE!

    • avatar BKaur says:

      Exactly.. they care NOTHING about the laws … NO ONE who is here illegally should just be handed OUR benefits.. this is a huge slap in the face to the citizens and the legal immigrants who have followed the laws…
      Hillary is appalling.. put her in the white house and she will steal America from the citizens

  5. avatar B brown says:
  6. With the TOTAL Participating Labor Market Giving Up on Good Paying Jobs [Including degreed professionals NOT WORKING FOR COLLEGES]

    And down to 62% [a 38% difference] and Trump estimates true unemployment at 21-22% recently.

    The Dems push $15/hr min wage… that their code for for the new globalist Middle Income wage we’d have under Hillary?

    God help us if that’s true.

  7. avatar gail says:

    They aren’t hiding in the shadows. They aren’t scared. Do you want people who entered this country illegally teaching your kids. Guess it doesn’t matter much now that the government has taken over your kids anyway.
    Illegal imigration is a problem created by greedy power hungry politicians!

  8. avatar Juliedavisraley says:

    It seems to me the problem is the people who think everyone seeking asylum , and having anchor babies qualifies the entire family to get benefits are the people who also want every charity program, including planned parenthood fully funded.
    I have no problem if a family living in America adopts a foreign child. They assume all financial responsibility. Not the case with sanctuary cities.

  9. avatar Bob says:


    THEY ARE OUT flying their home country’s flags, demanding we change our laws and political system to suit them.

    Other immigrants, legal or illegal, want our Country’s laws changed to suit them too.

    If you think we are divided now, just wait till they keep bringing in more and more!

    Not a type of Country to leave our kids and grandkids!

  10. avatar Leland says:

    More of the same 1984 rhetoric. Call it our “broken immigration system” but keep denying that the only thing broken is the will to enforce the laws already on the books. And all this does is provide more of the incentives to keep breaking the law. It’s just a bunch of generalized lip service about how they recognize limits and the need for enforcement, but when it gets to the specifics, everything is a promise to give a pass to citizens of other countries to ignore our laws. Indeed, we will reward you. Citizenship? Free health care? Here you go, enjoy.

    I like the part about “hardworking families who are contributing to their communities”. No mention of how much the American taxpayer is contributing to them for their large anchor baby families. Then they talk about the “backlogs” that keep people waiting “decades” to have family members join them.

    Tough. You knew when you came here your siblings were not going to get automatic entry. Is the solution to give visas on demand to anyone with a family member here? How does that square with the “limits” they talk about? If that’s not what they are saying, then what ARE they saying. The immigration commission appointed by Bill Clinton in the 90s and chaired by Congresswoman Barbara Jordan specifically recommended ELIMINATING family reunification for the most part, because most of them were low education and low skilled, two things we do not need more of.

    One of the longest backlogs is from the Philippines. Tell it to the Pope. There are over 100 million people crammed into those relatively small islands and they keep listening to the Catholic Church tell them don’t use birth control. That’s your choice and your problem, not ours. It also complains that the “current quota system discriminates against certain immigrants, including immigrants of color..”. Plain and simple, that’s a lie. 9 out of the top 10 countries for immigrants, Canada being the exception, are Latin or Asian countries.

    Then we get the propaganda about “faithful and peaceful Muslims”. Except, that’s a contradiction. Democrats don’t want a “religious test” but when you have polls showing substantial majorities in many Muslim countries favoring the death penalty for leaving Islam, there is nothing “peaceful” about that. Hillary may get millions in contributions to the Clinton Foundation to say differently, but all we need to do is look at Europe, which has a higher percentage of Muslims than we do. They are enduring attacks on a constant basis. Keep your stone age theology. We don’t need it.

    • avatar DM says:

      The Constitution is not a suicide pact!
      If a “religion” is in fact hostile to our country, there is no reason for importing it.
      Though we have religious freedom we are not bound to accept a religion (political agenda) that is detrimental to our Republic. Our Constitutional Republic must be protected from enemies both foreign and domestic. And in fact islam is not a religion but a political agenda that controls every aspect of it’s followers daily lives, with the after thought that allah wills it. There is nothing in the Constitution and Amendments, Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence that would cause me to think that religious freedom would include any religion(s) that will not allow the freedom of others to practice their religion. Islam does in fact deny all other religions and demands that those who do not follow islam submit to it or die.

    • avatar Joan basson says:

      Well written, and right on. Sharia law is an abomination and Europe is being overwhelmed with Islam followers.
      Europeans are losing their basic cultures and the people are angry and worried. Germans continue to admit thousands because they feel guilty and sensitive about discrimination due to religion. We MUST not let thousands of Muslim refugees come here, as we must put our own country’s interests first.