“As president of the United States, I wouldn’t use the detention system at all.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand declared Sunday that if she were elected president, the United States she would stop detaining immigrants while their cases are being decided.
Speaking on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” the Democratic presidential candidate rejected the push by some GOP lawmakers to allow the Trump administration to hold migrant children for a longer time period – a response to a surge in family migration from South and Central America.
Instead, Gillibrand said, her administration would simply do away with the detention of immigrants who claim asylum.
“As president of the United States, I wouldn’t use the detention system at all,” she said.
Under current policy, children can only be held in detention for 20 days. Asylum cases can takes years, and 83 percent are ultimately rejected.
Asked about the tens of thousands of immigrants illegally crossing the border every month, Gillibrand insisted that they would return for their court dates after release, even though more than 60 percent of applicants and 70 percent of families currently do not.
“They don’t need to be incarcerated,” she said. “They can — if they’re given a lawyer and given a process, they will follow it. They can go into the community in the way we used to handle these cases under the Department of Justice.”
Gillibrand explained that she would overhaul President Donald Trump’s “inhumane” immigration system to fund anti-terrorism and anti-drug trafficking measures at the border. She also said she would eliminate the use of for-profit companies for holding immigrants.
Having been elected to the House in 2007 with a relatively hawkish immigration platform, Gillibrand quickly moved leftward when she was appointed to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat in 2009.
Struggling amid a crowded 2020 field, she has denounced her former positions and embraced a fully woke platform, including calling to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.