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6 Takeaways From the Biden-Sanders Joint Task Force Proposals

  • July 09, 2020

The document commits to tripling federal aid for low-income schools and to increasing funding for students with disabilities. School desegregation by race and class has emerged in recent years as a major concern for progressives. The task force commits to addressing the problem through strategies like busing and magnet schools, but does not mention a specific amount of funding. (Mr. Biden’s opposition to federally mandated busing was a major campaign issue last year, but he has never opposed voluntary busing.)

While many supporters of Mr. Sanders were excited by his promise of universal free tuition at public four-year colleges, the task force stops short of that commitment. It says instead that public universities should be free for families earning under $125,000 per year, and that community colleges should be free for all.

The report indicated that the immigration agenda of a Biden administration would focus on undoing President Trump’s restrictionist policies, which have been anathema to Democrats.

The task force recommended that Mr. Biden work with Congress to maintain protections for about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation, a program that Mr. Trump is trying to end. It also recommended ending Mr. Trump’s travel restrictions against 13 countries, most of which have substantial Muslim populations.

The report said Mr. Biden should end a program that forced more than 60,000 migrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum cases wound through immigration courts, and should stop diverting asylum seekers to Central American countries. Mr. Biden should increase the number of refugees who can be allowed into the United States to 125,000 per year, from Mr. Trump’s level of 18,000, and raise that cap over time, the committee said. And it called for ending the national emergency declaration that Mr. Trump has used to siphon billions of dollars in Pentagon funding for a wall along the southwestern border.

The task force stopped short of calling for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be abolished, as some in the party have called for. Instead, the report recommends increasing oversight of immigration enforcement and border agencies with the creation of an ombudsman and a panel. There was also no suggestion that unauthorized border crossings should be decriminalized and made a civil offense, a change Mr. Sanders has supported, although the committee recommended prioritizing prosecutions of human traffickers.

Sydney Ember contributed reporting.

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