PLAYER PROFILE

Amy Klobuchar

Democratic U.S. Senator from Minnesota | Former Democratic 2020 Presidential Candidate

A U.S. senator from Minnesota, a midwest state that Donald Trump came within two points of winning in 2016, Amy Klobuchar ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on a centrist platform that she said could win back Trump voters. On the eve of Super Tuesday, Klobuchar dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden, which observers say resulted in the former vice president winning the Minnesota primary.

In 2006, during her successful run for the U.S. Senate, Klobuchar took a moderate position on immigration. “I believe we need to have order. We need to have adequate border controls, the fence, and no amnesty for companies hiring illegal immigrants,” she said at the time.

In the Senate, Klobuchar voted for a 2007 bill that would have made English the official language of the United States (there is at present no official language). She has since made it clear she would not vote that way again. The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, which Klobuchar co-sponsored, did not include this provision, and would have amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an annual cap on H-1B visas between 115,000 and 300,000, depending on market conditions and demands.

In 2019, Sen. Klobuchar introduced the Protecting Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence Act, which would allow immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse to apply for independent immigration status even if their spouse only has a temporary visa — encouraging them to come forward and receive assistance.

As a presidential candidate, Klobuchar remained closer to the center than her Democratic rivals on matters of immigration policy. She refused to support decriminalizing border crossings and often talked about the issue in economic terms. At the Democratic primary debate in June 2019, Klobuchar said, “We have a situation right now where we need workers in our fields and in our factories. We need them to start small businesses. We need their ideas. And this president has literally gone backwards at a time when our economy needs immigrants.”

Klobuchar has also voiced strong opposition to some of Trump’s more controversial immigration policies, including the travel ban against immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries. “[Immigrants and refugees] don’t diminish America,” Klobuchar said in response to the Supreme Court decision upholding the ban, “They are America.”

SOURCES:

Klobuchar’S IDEAS

  • Border Security

    Klobuchar supports increased spending for “smart security at the border.”

  • Border Wall

    Klobuchar does not support construction of the border wall. She made a campaign pledge to “stop the diversion of funds needed to modernize our military bases from being used for the border wall.”

  • Detention

    Klobuchar supports the Keep Families Together Act, a bill that prohibits separation of families at the border unless “good cause” is determined. She would end use of private detention facilities. In June 2019, Klobuchar signed a letter with six other senators that was sent to the Government Accountability Office, along with the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing recent reports that showed "significant evidence that some federal contractors and grantees have not provided adequate accommodations for children in line with legal and contractual requirements" and urged officials in the government to determine whether federal contractors and grantees are in violation of contractual obligations or federal regulations and should thus face financial consequences.

  • Immigration Courts

    Klobuchar co-sponsored the Protecting Immigrant Families and Improving Immigration Procedures Act, which would provide funding for 75 more immigration judges, end family separations at the border, provide legal representation for all children and grant judicial flexibility to immigration judges to “focus efforts on cases where visas aren’t available and deportation hearings are necessary.”

  • Undocumented Population

    Klobuchar supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and focusing deportations on those convicted of felonies and other serious crimes. She would change enforcement priorities to reserve criminal penalties for those who threaten the safety and security of our country.

  • ICE

    Klobuchar does not support doing away with the agency but is open to redistributing some of its responsibilities to other agencies where possible. She also supports limiting ICE’s budget for detention and enforcement and removal operations

  • DACA

    Klobuchar supports passage of the DREAM Act and a pathway to citizenship for all DACA enrollees. In January 2019, she was one of 20 senators to sponsor the Dreamer Confidentiality Act, a bill banning Department of Homeland Security from passing information collected on DACA enrollees to ICE, CBP, the Department of Justice, or any other law enforcement agency “with exceptions in the case of fraudulent claims, national security issues, or non-immigration related felonies.” In June 2019, following the Department of Housing and Urban Development's decision that DACA enrollees did not meet eligibility for federally backed loans, Klobuchar and 11 other senators introduced the Home Ownership Dreamers Act, legislation that mandated that the federal government was not authorized to deny mortgage loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the Agriculture Department solely due to the immigration status of an applicant.

  • Asylum

    Klobuchar supports restoring annual caps on refugees allowed into the U.S. to “at least” their pre-Trump levels of 110,000.

  • Central America Policy

    Klobuchar supports resuming aid to the Northern Triangle countries, stating that cutting off the funding undermines “efforts to address the underlying conditions driving migration to the United States.”

  • Visas

    Klobuchar co-sponsored the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, which would have amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an annual cap on H-1B visas between 115,000 and 300,000, depending on market conditions and demands. She also leads the bipartisan effort in the Senate to make it easier for foreign medical doctors who train in the U.S. to stay in the U.S. if they commit to practicing medicine in underserved areas.