(CN) – U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a plan Wednesday to expedite young immigrants’ path to citizenship – if she’s elected president in 2020.
Harris, one of at least 24 Democrats hoping for a shot to challenge President Donald Trump on the 2020 ballot, promised both legislative and executive action to protect millions of immigrants if elected to the White House.
The former San Francisco District Attorney said if she wins, would expand paths to citizenship for young immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as Dreamers.
Harris laid out a four-pronged plan that would involve a “Dreamers Parole-in-Place Program” to formally admit young immigrants into the United States through the same path victims of natural disasters or families of U.S. service members receive their green cards.
She would also clarify that young Dreamers are eligible to seek legal status because they were too young when they were first brought into the United States and unable to apply for citizenship through “no fault of [their] own” according to the proposal.
Harris would also lift a major barrier keeping Dreamers from legal employment by directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to retroactively grant work authorization to Dreamers.
She would also clarify that separation from a close family member is presumed to be “extreme hardship” when individuals apply for a green card abroad.
In a statement Harris said, “As president, while I fight for Congress to pass 21st century immigration reform, I won’t wait. I’ll take action to lift barriers Dreamers face to pursuing legal status and put them on a meaningful path to citizenship. These young people are just as American as I am, and they deserve a president who will fight for them from day one.”
Her campaign estimates the plan would give 2 million Dreamers a path to citizenship.
The Trump administration has made several efforts to repeal the DACA program, and numerous bills to offer legal protection to young immigrants brought to the country illegally have failed in Congress.
The program, which President Barack Obama rolled out in 2012, remains in place for the time being.