During a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event, Sen. Bernie Sanders explained that mass immigration would hurt wages in America.
“Should we have a completely open border so that anyone can come in the United States of America?” Sanders replied, after MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald asked the Senator about his position. “If that were to happen, which I strongly disagree with, there is no question in my mind that that would substantially lower wages in this country.”
Sanders reminded the audience immigration affects the unemployment rate for Hispanic and African-American youth.
“When you have 36-percent of Hispanic kids in this country who can’t find jobs and you bring a lot of unskilled workers in the country what do you think happens to that 36-percent of kids of today who are unemployed? 51% of African-American kids?” he said.
Open borders, he argued, would have a negative impact on employment, citing concerns about the existing problem of illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.
“I don’t think there is any candidate for president — none — who thinks that we should open up the borders and not see that is having a negative impact,” he said. “So, to my mind is what do we do and how do we address the problem of 11 million undocumented people in this country today moving?”
Sanders, however, endorsed amnesty for illegal immigrants currently living in America, arguing for a “path toward citizenship” for them and encouraging lawmakers to “move as fast as we can” to give them legal status.