Democrat Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris reportedly plans to introduce legislation on Wednesday which would allow non-citizens, often called Dreamers, to work in Congress as staffers or interns.
The move, Politico reports, comes after Harris visited Nevada earlier this week and a recent visit to Texas. She will introduce the legislation alongside fellow Democrat and Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto.
According to the report, Harris is looking to go tit-for-tat with President Trump on the border—as he mulls the idea of closing the border and constructing a border wall, Harris conversely looks to allow Dreamers to work in the government.
For Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India whose campaign has distributed headsets at rallies to translate her speeches into Spanish, the southwestern sojourns are also an attempt to blunt O’Rourke, a fluent Spanish speaker who has gone toe-to-toe with Donald Trump on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump’s relentless focus on immigration has given Democrats an early opening to try to distinguish themselves beyond the usual support for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, individuals who are undocumented and arrived to the United States as children. Julián Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday outlined his own plan for immigration reform, which his campaign described as “first-in-the-field.” In addition to creating a pathway to citizenship, his plan also would reform immigration enforcement.
In a statement on the new legislation, Harris said via Politico: “The giant sign outside my office says ‘DREAMers Welcome Here’ because we know and value the contributions that these young people have made to their communities.”
The California Senator continued: “Government works best when it reflects the people it represents.”
According to the report, California has “the most DACA recipients in the country.”
As a result, Harris has prioritized advocacy for those non-citizens who are legally protected from deportation.
“Last year, she was one of three Democrats to oppose an immigration compromise that provided billions for the border wall in exchange for citizenship for Dreamers,” Politico adds.
Here’s more on Harris’ efforts, via the report:
In addition to Wednesday’s bill, Harris has introduced legislation that would expand oversight of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers.
Harris has also been tough on Trump’s nominees to the Department of Homeland Security. She sounded an early alarm on former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly when he was nominated for Homeland Security secretary, then voted against him. Harris also called on Kelly’s successor, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to resign over the crisis involving family separations at the border.
On the campaign trail, Harris has contrasted herself with Trump, meeting privately in Nevada with Astrid Silva, the immigration activist and Dreamer. Earlier, Harris’ campaign rolled out the endorsement of Dolores Huerta, the labor and civil rights leader who co-founded what became the United Farm Workers.