Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been an unreliable ally and even, at times, enemy of the Latino and immigrant communities, according to Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL).
“I have observed Sanders first in the House of Representatives and later in the Senate and I have to say, he was absent from most of the crucial immigration debates,” Gutierrez wrote in an opinion column published Thursday at Univision. “And when he did show up, his record was troubling.”
Gutierrez — a vocal amnesty advocate who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination — pointed to the immigration battles of 2005 and 2006, saying Sanders, then a congressman, was “mostly silent” about legislation to toughen immigration enforcement.
“And worse, at a few critical moments in 2006, he broke with Democrats and progressives and stood with the hardline anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party,” he wrote.
The Illinois lawmaker further cited Sander’s support for an amendment blocking the Department of Homeland Security from collecting information about the citizen border patrol group known as the Minutemen.
It did not get better when he got to the Senate. The next year, while Hillary was working hard to help Ted Kennedy and myself and the broad bipartisan coalition that backed comprehensive immigration reform bill, Senator Sanders voted against it six times. He even went on the Lou Dobbs show on CNN – the number one propaganda broadcast of the anti-immigration movement at the time – to proclaim how immigrants were bad for the American economy and other twisted ideas about immigrants. It was straight from the Republican anti-immigration playbook.
Gutierrez argued that while Sanders is running for president and has changed his posture toward the immigrant community, he and others do not forget his record.
“I do not trust that he is fully in step with progressives, Democrats and the American people who overwhelmingly support a safe, legal and orderly immigration system,” Gutierrez wrote.
Instead, Gutierrez wrote, it is Clinton who is a champion for immigrants — legal and illegal.
“I’ve known and worked with Hillary for years, and I can attest that her passion runs deep when it comes to defending families and immigrants seeking a better life for themselves in the United States,” he wrote. “She understands immigrants are part of the very fabric of this nation. And that is why, as our next president, I trust Hillary to lead nearly 12 million people out of the shadows, and into the light.”