Steve Bullock on Immigration

Democratic Presidential Challenger (withdrawn); MT Governor


Immigration should not be used to rip country apart

What I disagree with is we're using immigration to essentially divide this country. As a Democrat, I am for border security. I'm for figuring out competent immigration reform. But I do think that this presidency [uses] immigration to not only rip families apart, but this country apart.
Source: Fox News Sunday interview for Dems' 2020 Veepstakes , Aug 18, 2019

Healthcare for immigrant means more border crossers

Q: You oppose giving health insurance to undocumented immigrants. Why not?

BULLOCK: We've got 100,000 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give health care to everyone, we'll have multiples of that. Don't take my word: that was President Obama's Homeland Security secretary that said that. The biggest problem right now that we have with immigration, it's Donald Trump. He's using immigration to not only rip apart families, but rip apart this country. We can actually get to the point where we have safe borders, where we have a path to citizenship, where we have opportunities for DREAMers. And you don't have to decriminalize everything. What you have to do is have a president in there with the judgment and the decency to treat someone that comes to the border like one of our own.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Playing into Trumps hands, don't decriminalize

Sen. Elizabeth WARREN: The problem is that the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents.

BULLOCK: You are playing into Donald Trump's hands. The challenge isn't that it's a criminal offense to cross the border. The challenge is that Donald Trump is president and using this to rip families apart. A sane immigration system needs a sane leader. And we can do that without decriminalizing and providing health care for everyone. And it's not me saying that, that's Obama's Homeland Security secretary that said you'll cause further problems at the border, not making it better.

WARREN: What you're saying is ignore the law. Laws matter. It matters if we say our law is that we will lock people up who come here, seeking refuge, seeking asylum. That is not a crime. We need to have a sane system that keeps us safe at the border, but does not criminalize the activity of a mother fleeing here for safety.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

No wall; no open borders; need immigration reform

Q: Would you have agreed in that debate when they said that undocumented immigrants should get healthcare?

BULLOCK: I would not have.

Q: How about when decriminalizing crossing the border?

BULLOCK: You got 100,000 people coming to the border now, you'd have multiples of that if that was the case. You know, I certainly believe in border security, I don't believe we have to build the wall, and I don't believe in open borders. It just underscores also we do need comprehensive immigrat

Source: ABC This Week interviews in 2019 , Jul 21, 2019

There are bigger problems than illegal immigration

Q: Do you think illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States?

A: "I wouldn't classify it as bigger than if I'm going to have healthcare tomorrow."

Q: When did your family first arrive in the United States, and how?

A: "I should know that, and I don't know."

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Jun 18, 2019

Refused to send National Guard troops to the southern border

As the head of a state bordering Canada, Bullock has largely stayed out of the political debate over immigration and border security on the U.S.-Mexico border. Earlier this year, he refused to send National Guard troops to the southern border to assist with what the Trump administration described as a national security and humanitarian "crisis." Bullock was one of 11 governors to sign a letter urging Congress to protect the roughly 800,000 "Dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children and are protected under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. As Montana attorney general, he also opposed a state law that banned undocumented immigrants from accessing state jobs and services.
Source: PBS News Hour 2020, "Where the candidate stands on 9 issues" , May 15, 2019

Public DACA support, also tries private persuasion with GOP

Bullock brings up the Trump administration's recent decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protecting young undocumented immigrants. He spoke out publicly against the move when it happened, but he also privately confronted John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, about the program's survival when the retired general was serving as the Homeland Security secretary earlier this year.
Source: Politico.com on 2020 Montana gubernatorial race , Aug 19, 2018

No Guard troops to border without asking state governor

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says he'll never deploy National Guard troops "based simply on the whim of the President's morning Twitter habit." Bullock, a Democrat, said in a statement Thursday that the responsibility of sending Guard soldiers anywhere is one of the most difficult things he faces. Bullock administration officials say the request for troops would have to come directly from the governor of a border state, and Montana has received no such requests as of Thursday.
Source: Helena Independent Record on 2020 Montana gubernatorial race , Apr 5, 2018

Keep Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Bullock brings up the Trump administration's recent decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protecting young undocumented immigrants. He spoke out publicly against the move when it happened, but he also privately confronted John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, about the program's survival when the retired general was serving as the Homeland Security secretary earlier this year.
Source: Politico.com on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Oct 11, 2017

Safety first; review protocols for Syrian refugees

Montana will not allow any terrorist organization to intimidate us into abandoning our values. The safety of Montanans is my top priority. No Syrian refugees have been settled in the state and we have had no formal requests to do so. Montana has a process in place for considering refugee settlement requests; we are reviewing those protocols to ensure that if a request comes, we take all appropriate steps to ensure that the safety of Montanans will not be jeopardized by their placement.
Source: KPAX-TV-8 on Syrian Refugees in 2016 Montana governor race , Nov 16, 2015

Protect DREAMers instead of deporting them.

Bullock signed Letter from 11 Governors to Congressional leadership

Nearly 800,000 young people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA)--known as "Dreamers"--played no role in the decision to come here and they have known no other home but the United States.

Already, more than 12,000 Dreamers have lost their protective status and are susceptible to deportation. This is not a theoretical peril, but in fact an immediate and urgent one, because more than 100 young people in our cities and towns are losing their protective status every day. Those numbers will accelerate dramatically without a legislative fix.

We stand with these young American immigrants not only because it is good for our communities and a strong American 21st century economy, but also because it is the right thing for our nation to do. DACA recipients have subjected themselves to extensive background and security checks in order to work and attend college. They are studying at our universities. They are working to support themselves and their families, paying taxes and contributing to their communities in a myriad of ways. In the absence of congressional action providing for a permanent resolution, the termination of DACA puts these young people and their families in peril, and will destabilize our schools, workplaces and communities.

We recognize the complexities and challenges created by this issue, but swift, successful action is needed, action that can build momentum to reassure policymakers that progress on other immigration challenges is possible as well. As a bipartisan coalition of governors, we stand ready to help.

Source: Letter from 11 Governors to Congressional leadership 18LTR-DACA on Dec 20, 2017

Other candidates on Immigration: Steve Bullock on other issues:
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Casey Schreiner
Corey Stapleton
Gary Perry
Greg Gianforte
Mike Cooney
Reilly Neill
Tim Fox
Whitney Williams
MT Senatorial:
Albert Olszewski
John Driscoll
John Mues
Jon Tester
Matt Rosendale
Mike Cooney
Steve Daines
Susan Good Geise
Wilmot Collins

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