Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders spoke at the Fair Immigration Reform Movement forum in Las Vegas, Nevada last month.
In his speech, he proposed an expanded plan to address the plight of the millions of undocumented aliens present in the United States. High on the priority list of these undocumented aliens are the recent refugees, fleeing Syria and the tyranny of the Islamic extremists in their homeland. Senator Sanders’ plan to stop the removal or deportation of more than 9 million individuals present in the country without immigration status. He also promised to carry out and expand President Obama’s previous plan for a comprehensive immigration reform. That plan that was passed by the Senate in 2013 was stopped by the House and has not been implemented to date.
By coming out strong for immigrant rights at this point, Senator Sanders is attempting to alleviate the concerns of voters he may have offended earlier this year, when he remarked that undocumented individuals take away jobs from United States citizens. He is also trying to attract the Latino voters, whose support will be crucial in the upcoming year to secure his position as Democratic Presidential Candidate.
Senator Sanders also spoke out against the controversial policy of local law enforcement carrying out the federal immigration laws by policing and turning in undocumented individuals to federal immigration officials. He also discussed his support of a law that protects undocumented individuals who have reported abuse or violations by employers. He also pledged to take up President Obama’s 2013 plan for immigration reform and to expand by proposing future legislation to benefit the section of the immigration community known as DREAMers. These young undocumented individuals, under Sander’s plan, would be eligible to receive in-state college tuition, federal financial aid and the ability to serve in the United States military.
This promise, if Sanders is elected, is likely to continue to be a hotly contested issue in the House. Just last month marked the anniversary of President Obama’s attempt to further his Comprehensive Immigration Reform by passing his second program known as the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents). DAPA offered protection from deportation or removal for these parents without providing an immediate path to a permanent solution. DAPA was instituted by the President through an Executive Action, circumventing Congress, where anti-immigration sentiment would not have allowed such a program to pass. A federal judge in Texas sued the White House, alleging that the President’s action on immigration reform was unconstitutional. Since that time the case has been appealed and finally elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court for an ultimate decision that is expected early next year.
Senator Sanders’ outspoken views in support of immigration reform have exceeded the sentiments that Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton has put forth. Mrs. Clinton has changed her rhetoric and now uses the term undocumented individuals, rather than illegal aliens, but she has failed to go as far as Senator Sanders in his out and out support of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform.