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U.S. 2020: The Democratic Candidates on Security

May 29, 2020

Where did the 2020 Democratic hopefuls stand on security issues that affect Latin America? @luisamhorwitz looks beyond the wall to where the candidates stack up on issues like drug decriminalization and arms trafficking.
Some 70% of the 132,000 illicit weapons seized in Mexico from 2009–2018 could be traced back to the US. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both proposed to make gun trafficking a federal crime. Learn more about Democratic candidates' security positions.

There are 64,000 gun dealers in the United States. There’s one gun shop in Mexico. Some 70 percent of the more than 132,000 illicit weapons seized in Mexico from 2009 to 2018 could be traced back to the United States. It’s no wonder that Mexico, which is facing unprecedented homicide levels, considers stopping gun smuggling a top priority in bilateral relations. When it comes to the U.S. perspective, security concerns have focused on the migrants and drugs crossing north across the border in the United States rather than the illicit products going south.

Looking past the infamous cries to “build the wall” at U.S. President Donald Trump’s rallies, here’s where the Democratic candidates stood, not just on a border wall, but on issues that affect Latin America, such as drug decriminalization and arms trafficking.



Candidate graveyard


Joe Biden

Candidate graveyard

These are positions of candidates who have dropped out of the race since this article was first published:

Michael Bennet

  • Bennet was part of the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators during the Obama administration who sought to usher through comprehensive immigration reform along with a series of measures—from border fence funding to a substantial increase in border patrol agents—intended to bolster border security. The 2013 measure failed in the U.S. House. But Bennet continues to believe that, “Every country in the world, including the United States, has the obligation to secure their border.”
  • The Colorado senator is also part of a bipartisan group that introduced the Providing Officers with Electronic Resources Act—better known as the POWER Act—in March 2019, to provide law enforcement with high-tech devices to detect illicit substances like fentanyl, and to help police conduct more effective crackdowns on drug trafficking across the country.
  • He supports an assault weapons ban.

Michael Bloomberg

Pete Buttigieg

Tulsi Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Bernie Sanders

Tom Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

Andrew Yang