May 29, 2019 / 11:06 AM / 2 months ago

Democrat O'Rourke unveils "community-based" immigration plan

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke speaks at a campaign house party in Salem, New Hampshire, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke proposed a new immigration plan on Wednesday that will allow churches and local communities to sponsor immigrants to the United States in becoming American citizens.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman from the Texas border city of El Paso, said the plan would also give citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants living in American faster than previous plans, which have all failed to get through Congress.

O’Rourke is one of 23 Democrats vying to become the party’s nominee to take on Republican President Donald Trump in next year’s election.

Under O’Rourke’s proposal, he will also, if elected president, eliminate all funding for private, for-profit prison operators “whose incentive is profit, not security.”

O’Rourke says he will create a humane immigration system, and make U.S. citizenship quicker for “Dreamers”, the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children and raised in the U.S.

O’Rourke said his plan for communities and congregations to sponsor immigrants was the first of its kind.

Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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