Immigration continues to be one of the most hotly debated issues today, as President Donald Trump‘s administration has continued pushing to limit the number of migrants — legal and undocumented — and refugees entering the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hundreds of migrant children continue to be separated from their families and kept in detention centers at the border that have been widely criticized for their subhuman living conditions.

Marianne Williamsona 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and spiritual self-help author, spoke to uPolitics exclusively about her plan for immigration reform. She emphasized the U.S. needs to fully understand the origins of the “crisis” surrounding large numbers of Central American migrants approaching the southern border.

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“First of all, we have to have a larger conversation about what this ‘crisis’ is,” said Williamson. “First of all, there’s the humanitarian crisis that did not begin at the border. It began in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, etc.”

“It is in the tradition of the United States to have an open heart towards people who are living through such humanitarian disasters as that,” she added.

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Williamson went on to say she believes there has been “a closing of the American heart” with regards to immigrants and said it is important to imagine the sacrifices migrants from countries like Honduras make in order to flee violence, including crossing large expanses through the desert with their children in the hopes of securing a better life. Williamson also vehemently said it is crucial to note that seeking asylum should not be instinctively punished the way the Trump administration has.

Seeking asylum is not a crime, although this president is trying to make it one,” she said. “Seeking asylum is a statutory right and it is a core spiritual value of the United States of America.”

“His policies are a crisis,” she added of Trump. “Kidnapping children is state-sponsored crime. Intentionally inflicting trauma upon children with these detention centers, that is a crisis.”

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Williamson revealed all four of her grandparents sought asylum after arriving at Ellis Island because they were fleeing “oppression” from the Pogroms in Russia of the early 19th century, the persecutions and massacres of Jews across the country.

The spiritual guru also called on both Democrats and Republicans to implement legislation to make the immigration system “smoother.”

“We need more border agents, we need more technology [and] we need more ways to actually make it easy enough, as it has been in our past, for people to legally immigrate here,” said Williamson before noting that Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to eight million migrants during his time in office.

“Before 1973, you simply walked down to the registry office and registered [to live here legally]. At this point, I believe that’s the answer.”

Williamson also said she supports a pathway to citizenship not simply for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program — immigrants who arrived to the U.S. as children — but “for everybody” except for migrants who have committed crimes and who have “not been contributive to our society.”

“Let’s close this chapter, let’s start over again [and] give these people the righteous path to citizenship and then clarify things at the border, including [instituting] more points of entry so that not only people can legally immigrate but also so that we can retrieve that essential humanitarian aspect of our society where we recognize that some people are coming here to escape horrific circumstances and that in America, we open our arms to them.”

Stay tuned for more videos from uPolitics’ series of interviews with 2020 presidential candidates!