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062219ho-warren-file

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks June 9 during the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Celebration in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

A decriminalization of illegal border crossings and a path to citizenship are among the proposals in Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for federal immigration law reform.

Warren’s plan calls for striking the law that makes illegal border crossing a criminal violation instead of a civil violation. Warren also would “issue guidance to end criminal prosecutions for simple administrative immigration violations,” she wrote in a social media post accompanying the policy announcement.

Warren would put in place guidelines to keep the duties of local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement separate, reduce what she called “unnecessary” immigrant detention and expand the use of parole, increase the number of refugees allowed into the U.S., and provide a “fair and achievable” pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

“I’ll work with Congress to pass broad-reaching reform, but I’m also prepared to move forward with executive action if Congress refuses to act,” Warren wrote. “We cannot continue to ignore our immigration challenges, nor can we close our borders and isolate the United States from the outside world. Instead we need big, structural change: a fair immigration system that preserves our security, grows our economy, and reflects our values. That’s good for immigrants, good for workers, and ultimately good for the United States.”

Buttigieg releases plan for race relations

Calling it his “Douglass Plan,” after the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg published his proposal for “how the federal government can intentionally dismantle racist structures and systems.”

Buttigieg’s plan would invest in the economic freedom and self-determination of black Americans, his campaign said. It would establish and invest in health care in communities with economic and social marginalization; increase federal funding for schools with large concentrations of low-income students; make public college free for low-income students; award 25% of all government contracts to minority business owners; eliminate private prisons and incarceration for drug possession; and pass a new voting rights law that “ends voter suppression and expands voting access,” the campaign said.

“We have lived in the shadow of systemic racism for too long,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “We've seen a rise in white nationalism, an economic gap between black and white workers that grows instead of shrinks, and worse health outcomes for black Americans, particularly new mothers, that should make us all wonder how the richest country on earth can allow this to happen under our noses. The Douglass Plan will help heal our deep racial divides with bold policies that match the scale of the crises we face today.”

Harris' plan for rape kit backlog

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris unveiled her plan to reduce the nation’s rape kit backlog with a $1 billion investment to states. The campaign said the investment would help states eliminate their backlogs within four years.

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Rape kits contain evidence and information collected by medical professionals during treatment for a sexual assault victim. Many states have a backlog of untested rape kits; Iowa had 4,265 untested kits as of 2016, and even with the aid of a federal program grant, only roughly 1 in 4 of those has been tested as of Thursday, according to state justice department data.

In order to receive the federal funding under Harris’ plan, states would be required to annually count and report the number of untested rape kits, require the submission and testing of newly collected rape kits within a short time frame, allow victims to track the status of their rape kits, and increase the availability of rape kits statewide, the campaign said.

“The federal government can and should prioritize justice for survivors of sex abuse, assault and rape,” Harris said in a statement. “As California’s attorney general, I committed resources and attention to clearing a backlog of 1,300 untested rape kits at state-run labs, and we got it done within my first year in office. We need the same focus at the national level to pursue justice and help hold predators accountable.”

Steyer addresses 'broken' politics

Tom Steyer, the newest among the roughly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates, announced his plan to reform the U.S. political system.

Among the highlights of Steyer’s plan are proposals to repeal the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that opened the flood gates of anonymous campaign donations, restructuring the federal agency that oversees elections laws, implementing term limits for Congress, giving citizens the ability to vote from home, and establishing independent redistricting commissions.

“Unless we end the corporate corruption of our democracy, we won’t be able to pass any of the great plans put forward by the Democratic candidates for President,” Steyer said in a statement. “Here’s the difference between me and the other candidates: I don’t think we can fix our democracy from the inside. I don’t believe Washington and big corporations will let that happen.”

Klobuchar scores endorsements

Six Iowa Democratic activists have endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, including former state legislator Bill Witt from Black Hawk County.

The others to endorse Klobuchar are Shirley McAdon, Jackie Wellman, Ruth Thompson, Scott Thompson, and Melissa Fath.

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