Bernie Sanders on Immigration
Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)
SANDERS: No, because we'll have strong border protections. But the main point I want to make is that what Trump is doing through his racism and his xenophobia, is demonizing a group of people. And as president, I will end that demonization. If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view, they are not criminals. They are people fleeing violence. And we've got to ask ourselves, "Why are people walking 2,000 miles to a strange country where they don't know the language?" So what we will do, the first week we are in the White House, is bring the entire hemisphere together to talk about how we rebuild Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador so people do not have to flee their own countries.
It is a serious problem, but it is not the kind of crisis that requires demonization of desperate people who in some cases have walked 1,000 miles with their children. So, it is an issue, but you don't demonize desperate people. We deal with it in a rational and humane way.
His demonization of Latinos is racist, it's wrong, and it also happens to be factually inaccurate. Undocumented Latino immigrants commit fewer crimes in America than the general public.
Isn't it strange, however, that when we talk about terrible crimes committed in Nevada, Trump forgot to mention that, in 2017, a white man named Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded 851--the deadliest shooting in modern American history.
If he is concerned about crime how come Trump didn't mention that? Needless to say, he also didn't mention the need for common-sense gun safety legislation which would lower the terrible rate of mass shootings in our country.
No, Mr. Trump, building a wall is not an emergency.
In terms of immigration in this country, what we need to do is not to waste billions of dollars on a wall, but to finally address the need for comprehensive immigration reform--including a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented people.
It is inhumane, and not what America stands for, that tiny children at the border have been torn away from their parents. It is disgraceful that 1.8 million young people have lost their legal protection under the DACA program because of Trump's actions. It is heartbreaking that almost 11 million undocumented people living in this country worry every day about being deported & separated from their loved ones.
SANDERS: I think it is heartless. I think the entire Trump views on immigration is heartless. Some 80% of the American people believe that we should provide legal status to the 1.8 million people in the DACA program. And that's a program that Trump killed. The American people believe that we should move forward for comprehensive immigration reform. And Trump is moving in exactly the wrong direction. And we see the cruelty of his immigration policies when you talk about the United States government separating children from their parents. We need to move aggressively and do what the American people want toward comprehensive immigration reform.
Sanders said that there was legislation that would give legal status to those under DACA that would give them path to citizenship. This would be in exchange for money to build Trump's much-talked-about wall which Sanders said is the "stupidest idea." Even so, he "reluctantly" voted for that legislation because he was "deeply concerned for these young people facing deportation."
Throughout the conversation, Sanders says that he stresses his concern for legal protection of DACA and said, "This is a country that has struggled from its inception that has hated from its beginning. We've got to oppose anyone who tries to divide us. We are strongest when we are working together for all of us, not just the people on top."
SANDERS: The focus right now has got to be to do what the American people want us to do--80% of the American people understand that we have got to restore the legal status that Trump took away from 800,000 young DREAMers--people who came to this country when they are two or three years of age--and we cannot let them be put in a position where they're subjected to deportation. So the main focus to my mind has got to be to make sure that Dreamers have legal status and a path towards citizenship.
Q: What about a deal with a border wall?
SANDERS: The bad part comes is the idea of a wall, which I thought was a great idea in the 15th century when China built the Great Wall. Not so smart today when we have technology that is much more cost effective in terms of protecting the border.
Walmart has employed undocumented workers to clean its stores. Tyson Foods has used them to process chickens, amid many violations of laws on workplace conditions and allegations of human smuggling.
We must extend labor protections to undocumented workers. If we start giving undocumented workers legal protections, we can slow down the "race to the bottom." But that would affect big business's bottom line, and therein lies the rub.
SANDERS: The vetting mechanisms we have now are very, very strong. If anybody has an idea as to how we can make them stronger, let's go forward. I don't think there's any debate whether you're progressive, conservative or anybody else that we want to keep the United States safe and we want to be 100% clear that anybody who comes into this country should not be coming into this country to do us harm. Where there's a whole lot of discussion about the racist, in my view, immigration policies of the Trump administration which are based on anti-Muslim ideology, which are doing us enormous harm all over the world, something else is going on at the exact same moment.
Q: Did you support the Minutemen?
SANDERS: Of course not. There was a piece of legislation supported by dozens of members of the House which codified existing legislation. What the secretary is doing tonight--and has done very often--is take large pieces of legislation and take pieces out of it. No, I do not support vigilantes, and that is a horrific statement, an unfair statement to make. I [spent] my political career fighting for workers, fighting for the poorest people in this country. Madame Secretary, I will match my record against yours any day of the week.
SANDERS: One of the human tragedies of recent years is children from Honduras. I said welcome those children into this country, Secretary Clinton said send them back. Honduras and that region of the world may be the most violent region in our hemisphere. Gang lords, vicious people torturing people, doing horrible things to families. Children fled that part of the world to try to meet with their family members in this country, taking a route that was horrific, trying to start a new life. Secretary Clinton did not support those children coming into this country. I did. I will not deport children from America.
A: I voted against that piece of legislation because it had guest-worker provisions in it which the Southern Poverty Law Center talked about being semi-slavery. Guest workers are coming in, they're working under terrible conditions, but if they stand up for their rights, they're thrown out of the country. I was not the only progressive to vote against that legislation for that reason.
A: Bernie believes America's current immigration system is broken and requires comprehensive reform. An important aspect of immigration reform, according to Bernie, is to establish some pathway to legal residency or citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers living in the United States so that they need not work and live in the shadows.
Q: What about the border fence?
A: While he believes that border security is important for the country, Bernie doesn't believe that a fence is the way to achieve that security.
Q: What about guest worker visas?
A: Bernie believes that our visa system must protect American jobs instead of simply allowing corporations to score cheap labor via temporary work visas.
A: Open borders? No, that's a Koch brothers proposal.
A: Of course. That's a right- wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States.
Q: But it would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn't it?
A: It would make everybody in America poorer --you're doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don't think there's any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a country called the United States or any other country, you have an obligation to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don't believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.
We as a nation have got to realize the importance of dealing not just with the issue of immigration but with the very real refugee crisis we face.
Despite the central role they play in our economy and in our daily lives, undocumented workers are reviled by many for political gain and shunted into the shadows. It is time for this disgraceful situation to end. It is time to end the politics of division on this country, of politicians playing one group of people against another: white against black, male against female, straight against gay, native born against immigrant.
That is why I supported the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform legislation. We cannot and we should not even be talking about sweeping up millions of men, women, and children--many of whom have been here for years--and throwing them out of the country. That's wrong and that type of discussion has got to end.
Sanders generally agrees with President Obama that most of the undocumented immigrants in the country now should be given a path to citizenship. He voted for the senate immigration bill in 2013, which would have increased border security and issued a provisional immigrant status to millions of undocumented residents once some significant security metrics had been met. In addition, Sanders has supported President Obama's use of executive orders to waive deportation for some groups of immigrants, including those who were brought to the United States as children.
Dairy farmer's main beef with the H2-A program is that it's too cumbersome. It requires employers to file multiple applications with state and federal labor offices and they must predict sometimes years in advance how many workers they will need. Furthermore, the law requires employers to show that they put in good faith effort to recruit American workers before applying for visas for immigrant labor.
The "English Only" bill mandates that all official communication by the federal government be in English. This means that members of Congress from a heavily Hispanic or Polish district, for instance, would be prohibited from communicating with their constituents in Spanish or Polish. Election, tax, and other information needed by millions of citizens would be available only in English. President Clinton indicates that he will veto this legislation, and the bill will not go anywhere--not even to the Senate. But it passes in the House by a vote of 259 to 169. 8 Republicans, 160 Democrats, and I vote against the bill.
SANDERS: In terms of 2007 immigration reform, yeah, I did vote against it. I voted against it because the Southern Poverty Law Center said that the guest-worker programs that were embedded in this agreement were akin to slavery. Akin to slavery, where people came into this country to do guest work were abused, were exploited, and if they stood up for their rights, they'd be thrown out of this country. It wasn't just me who opposed it. It was LULAC, one of the large Latino organizations in this country. It was the AFL-CIO. It was some of the most progressive members of the United States Congress.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. VITTER: There are so-called sanctuary cities which establish as an official policy of their jurisdiction: We are not going to cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement officials. That is wrong. What is more, it is completely contrary to Federal immigration law. My amendment says: We are going to put some consequence to that defiance of Federal law. We are not going to give them COPS funds. We are going to send those funds, instead, to all of those other jurisdictions which abide by Federal law.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. DURBIN: There are sanctuary cities in about 23 different States across America. What the Vitter amendment will do is to take away the COPS funding from those cities. Police departments will tell you they need the cooperation of everyone to solve crimes and stop crime. If you create fear in the minds of those who are here in an undocumented status that any cooperation with the police will result in their arrest, they will not cooperate and criminals will go free. Let's not use the COPS Program as some sort of threat. If you want to deal with immigration, deal with it responsibly in a comprehensive way. SUPPORTER'S RESPONSE:Sen. VITTER: If folks feel that way, they should come to Congress and change Federal law, not simply defy Federal law. This is another amnesty vote. Are we going to give folks in sanctuary cities amnesty for defying Federal law and refusing to cooperate with Federal immigration officials? LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Motion to Table Agreed to, 58-40
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
If we do not legislate now, we will not legislate later this year when our calendar is crowded with Iraq and appropriations bills. We are then an election year, and it will be pushed over to 2009. Circumstances will not be better then, they will be worse.
A vote against cloture is a vote to kill the bill. A Senator may vote for cloture and then express himself in opposition to the bill by voting against the bill.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
If this bill becomes law, we will see only a 13% reduction in illegal immigration into America, and in the next 20 years we will have another 8.7 million illegals in our country. How can that be reformed? I submit this would be a disaster.
The Congressional telephone systems have shut down because of the mass phone calls Congress is receiving. A decent respect for the views of the American people says let's stop here now. Let's go back to the drawing board and come up with a bill that will work.
The American people get it, and they do have common sense and wisdom on this issue. They know repeating the fundamental mistakes of the 1986 bill, joining a big amnesty with inadequate enforcement, will cause the problem to grow and not diminish. They know promising enforcement after 30 years of broken promises isn't good enough. They know the so-called trigger is a joke because if the trigger is never pulled, the Z visas, the amnesty happens forever.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Right now, the polling shows that 91% of the people in America want English as an official language, and 76% of Hispanics believe English should be an official language.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I believe the American people understand in order to succeed in our society, immigrants need to learn English. But the amendment would do a number of things that are problematical. The first is that it is contrary to the provisions of law that exist in many States. For example, in New Mexico, you have in their State Constitution, a provision that says that many of the documents within that State have to be provided in both English and Spanish. The same thing is true for the State of Hawaii. I believe this is a States rights issue, and those constitutions of those States ought to be respected. I do not believe it is a matter we ought to be imposing here from Washington DC.
Also, this amendment would undo an executive order conceived by President Bill Clinton and implemented by President George Bush. Both recognized it is important that people who have limited English proficiency receive the kinds of services so they can understand what is going on in terms of the interface between the Government and themselves.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
This legislation says we wish to add something called guest workers or temporary workers. With guest workers, working Americans would discover there is no opportunity for upward mobility at their job. In fact, every day their employers are trying to find ways to push down wages, eliminate retirement, and eliminate health care. What has happened in this country, with what is called the "new global economy," is dramatic downward pressure on income for American workers. The guest worker program provides that 400,000 people will be able to come in to assume jobs in our country per year--adding to the 12 million illegal immigrants already here.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I certainly concur about the need to secure our borders, about the need to have a workable immigration system, and the need for reform that ensures the rule of law is restored in the US. Where I differ is in the belief that we can actually achieve these goals if we have no ability for temporary workers to come to the country. This amendment would eliminate the temporary worker program from this bill.
Now, there are several reasons why a temporary worker program, within certain constraints, is a good idea. The first reason is because it will help to relieve the magnet for illegal immigration. The reason most of the people are crossing our border illegally is to get employment. There are jobs available for them. Some people say this is work Americans will not do. That is actually not true. But there are not enough American citizens to do all of the work that needs to be done. So naturally the law of supply and demand sets in here. People come across the border illegally, and they take that work. What we want to do is both close the border, but also eliminate the magnet for illegal employment here, because the reality is desperate people will always try to find some way to get into the country.
Proponents support voting YES because:
It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing, and for the rest of the border provides a virtual fence, via integrated surveillance technology.
Opponents support voting NO because:
Just to build the fence is going to cost us at least $7 billion. Where is the money coming from to pay for it? How much is it going to cost to maintain this 700-mile fence? Who is going to do it? This bill contains no funding.
This bill also ignores real enforcement measures, like hiring more Border Patrol personnel, and instead builds a Berlin Wall on our southern border. So long as employers need workers in this country, and while our immigration systems impede rather than facilitate timely access of willing workers to those opportunities, undocumented immigration will never be controlled.
Walls, barriers, and military patrols will only force those immigrants to utilize ever more dangerous routes and increase the number of people who die in search of an opportunity to feed and clothe their families.
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide a foreign government information relating to the activities of an organized volunteer civilian action group, operating in the State of California, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona, unless required by international treaty.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, non-profit, public interest membership organization of concerned citizens united by their belief in the need for immigration reform. Founded in 1979, FAIR believes that the U.S. can and must have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory and designed to serve the environmental, economic, and social needs of our country.
FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interestómore traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.
With more than 70,000 members nationwide, FAIR is a non-partisan group whose membership runs the gamut from liberal to conservative.
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:
U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.
Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.
This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.
The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'Increase Border Security Including Additional Infrastructures ' Christian Coalition's self-description: "Christian Voter Guide is a clearing-house for traditional, pro-family voter guides. We do not create voter guides, nor do we interview or endorse candidates."
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