Sanders and Clinton Discuss Immigration in Latest Debate

During Wednesday night’s Democratic debate ahead of next week’s Florida primary, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had some things to say about immigration.

Let’s start with Sen. Sanders. Back in 2013, when the Gang of Eight comprehensive amnesty and guest worker bill was before the Senate, Sanders expressed grave concerns about the impact of the expanded guest worker provisions of that legislation on American workers. In an interview in the Washington Post, Sanders said, “My concerns are in regards to where we stand in terms of guest workers programs…What I do not support is, under the guise of immigrant reform, a process pushed by large corporations which results in more unemployment and lower wages for American workers.”

iStock_000066740733_LargeIn response to a direct question Wednesday from debate moderator Jorge Ramos about whether, as president, he would promise not to deport illegal aliens without criminal records. Sanders’ simple response was, “I can make that promise.”

So, it seems that if people come to the United States illegally and displace American workers and lower their wages, Sen. Sanders has no problem with that. In fact, his position is that they should be rewarded with amnesty. But, if they come here legally through “a process pushed by large corporations which results in more unemployment and lower wages for American workers,” that is a problem for Sanders.

Logically, both should be a problem because the net result for American workers is the same: fewer job opportunities and lower wages. Of course, don’t expect any debate moderator to ask him to reconcile this logical inconsistency.

Then there’s Secretary Clinton who, a dozen years ago was “adamantly against illegal immigrants,” but is now not so adamant about it. Like her opponent, Secretary Clinton is no longer concerned about the impact of illegal immigration on Americans. “I want to prioritize who would be deported: violent criminals, people planning terrorist attacks, anybody who threatens us. That’s a relatively small universe of people,” she told Ramos in response to the same question.

Seemingly as far as Clinton is concerned, if you’re a non-violent criminal, you can stay. If not planning a terrorist attack, you’re good too. And clearly, if you’re just here taking a job that might otherwise have been filled by an American worker at a higher wage, or taking advantage of our public services and benefits, you are most welcome.

On July 3, 1984, the Wall Street Journal, in an editorial, proposed a five-word constitutional amendment: “There shall be open borders.”  After Wednesday’s debate it seems the position of the leading Democratic presidential candidates can be summarize in eleven words: There shall be open borders except for violent criminals and terrorists.”

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    Jorge Ramos is everything wrong with our present immigration policies. He says he’s a citizen of both Mexico and the US. But when you take the American oath of citizenship, you swear to renounce all allegiance to foreign countries. Ramos is just another guy with zero integrity. He lives here and enjoys all the benefits of America, but doesn’t believe we have any right to stop people from coming here illegally.

    And he is hardly alone. Most polls show Mexicans here regard themselves as more Mexican than American. We’ve already had one presidency that has handed the keys to the country over to Mexico. The election of either present Democratic candidate just continues that process.

    • avatar

      Leland the same for Polish, Chinese, etc etc……unfortunate but it is,,,,,and it has been this way………….Jorge Ramos believes whatever the Constitution offers as part of this country……he has never said anything against us…….just where he stands……………so let him talk……the most important thing here is the politicians….

      Without a Jorge Ramos we would be blind and we would never know what at least the politicians think of they want us to think lying to get to the presidency/////

    • avatar


      I agree with your poll reference, but because I agree with the reference. Most polls I’d add are pro-ESTABLISMENT I’d add. Toilet paper IOWs and skewed….