Senator Feinstein has long been at the forefront of the debate to reform America’s immigration policies. She has been a staunch advocate for the creation of a farmworker protection program, protections for unaccompanied immigrant children and a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants who came to this country through no choice of their own and know no other home.
Senator Feinstein is committed to protecting the rights of Dreamers and ensuring their ability to remain in the United States without fear of deportation.
- The Dream Act: Senator Feinstein is a strong supporter of legislation to provide a path to legal status for undocumented persons who were younger than 18 years when they first arrived in the United States, lived in the country four years prior to enactment and have satisfied certain higher education or military service requirements, among other criteria.
- Protect Dreamer Confidentiality Act: Senator Feinstein is a co-sponsor of a bill to safeguard the private information – such as addresses and telephone numbers – of young immigrants known as Dreamers to ensure they are not targeted for deportation.
Expanding Temporary Protect Status (TPS):
- In February 2022, Senator Feinstein cosigned a letter to President Biden requesting that TPS be granted to Ukrainian nationals fleeing their country from the Russian invasion. In March 2022, TPS status was granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for 18 months.
- In March 2022, Senator Feinstein cosigned a letter to President Biden requesting TPS be granted to Cameroon in response to armed conflict and widespread violence in the country. In April, DHS agreed to grant TPS to Cameroonians for 18 months.
Protections for immigrant children
- Preventing Family Separation: Senator Feinstein led efforts to prevent family separation in the wake of President Trump’s zero tolerance policy, introducing the Keep Families Together Act with 48 co-sponsors. This bill would have prohibited employees of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, or the Department of Health and Human Services from removing a child under the age of 18 from his or her parent at or near a port of entry, within 100 miles of the U.S. border. The bill would explicitly prevent agencies from removing a child from their legal guardian, solely for the policy goal of deterring migration to the United States.
- Working to preserve the Flores Agreement: In 2019, Senator Feinstein introduced the Protecting Immigrant Families and Improving Immigration Procedures Act to protect immigrant children in federal custody and improve the efficiency of our immigration system. The bill would prohibit family separation, preserve the Flores Settlement Agreement, provide counsel to young children in immigration court, fund more immigration judges and allow them to prioritize important cases.
- Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: Senator Feinstein championed critical protections to ensure that unaccompanied immigrant children who arrive on the U.S. border are treated fairly and humanely. In 2000 she first introduced the Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act, which was eventually incorporated and passed into law in the Homeland Security Act of 2002. In 2007, Senator Feinstein again introduced the bill, which was incorporated into the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and became law. The bill required family reunification whenever possible and provided pro bono legal representation for children at no expense to the government.
Reversing inhumane immigration laws
- In February of 2022, Senator Feinstein cosigned a letter urging President Biden to reverse inhumane immigration policies, such as Title 42, originally introduced under the Trump administration that continues to disproportionately mistreat Black migrants.
Advocating for improved conditions on our border
- Senator Feinstein’s California staff regularly visits the California/Mexico border to inspect conditions at Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities. These visits are important to ensure that conditions in immigration facilities uphold the humanitarian standards U.S. law requires and that immigration cases are heard quickly and efficiently.