During a town hall event in Derry, New Hampshire, a swing voter asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) why he now supports unchecked immigration rather than holding true to his former position that such a policy is an effort to suppress Americans’ wages by the donor class.
In front of a packed audience, the swing voter, a poverty-stricken white female, said she admired Sanders’ authenticity but could not understand why he has dropped his opposition to mass, unchecked low-wage immigration — which he has consistently admitted, until this election cycle, drives down wages for American workers.
The swing voter asked Sanders:
SWING VOTER: Hi Mr. Sanders, my name is Christine and I’m here because you seem like one of the most authentic candidates running right now. So I wanted to hear what you had to say and how authentic you really are. And by the way, nobody believes for a minute that you told Elizabeth Warren can’t make it for president. [Emphasis added]
So you’ve been very consistent and authentic and since I’ve been 18, I voted … in every presidential election, I voted half Republican and half I voted Democrat. So I am very interested in what you’re doing for the poor. That’s what I want to know. [Emphasis added]
So one issue that you have not been consistent is open borders. When you first ran, you said it was a Koch brothers scheme and seemed to recognize that low wage workers being dumped into the country does not help low wage workers. [Emphasis added]
My family is at 134 percent of the poverty level. So I worked at a restaurant this summer and the dishwashers were starting at $14 an hour, teenagers. Can you please explain why you changed on that issue. Did you have to change because donors seem to want the low wage workers. [Emphasis added]
Sanders responded by ignoring the wage impact of mass illegal and legal immigration, instead reiterating his support for amnesty for all 11 to 22 million illegal aliens — forcing America’s working and middle class to compete against a newly legalized foreign population for U.S. jobs.
Sanders also took the same position as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, claiming that cheap foreign workers are necessary to keep food prices low for American consumers:
BERNIE SANDERS: No, no, no. First thought, what I believe in, absolutely, I don’t believe in open borders if open borders mean anybody can come from any place in the world. There’s no country in the history of the world, I think, that has ever had that view. But my view is that we have 11 million undocumented here, many of those workers are being exploited right now. [Emphasis added]
You know Trump wants to throw everybody out of the country. If [Trump] threw everybody out of the country, the price of food in this country would skyrocket. Who do you think is picking the crops and planting all over this country? [Emphasis added]
So what we need to do and what I think the American people want us to do is rather than demonize the undocumented, what they want is a sensible immigration policy which includes the following: Right now you’ve got 1.8 million young people in this country who came to this country at the age of two, three, five. Trump took away their legal status. As president, I would restore their protection for the 1.8 million on the DACA program. [Emphasis added]
Number two, in my view, what the United States of America is not about is having federal agents seize little babies from the arms of their mothers. That’s not what this country is about. And we’re going to end that … nor is it throwing children … so we need to hire hundreds of administrative judges at the border so that we can deal with asylum issues in a rational and expeditious way. And thirdly, as I mentioned, we need to move towards comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship. [Emphasis added]
As Breitbart News has chronicled, from his time as a mayor in Vermont to at least 2015, Sanders has said unchecked immigration only makes America’s working-class “even poorer” because they are largely the demographic group that is forced to compete against illegal aliens and newly arrived immigrants.
“I think from a moral responsibility we’ve got to work with the rest of the industrialized world to address the problems of international poverty, but you don’t do that by making people in this country even poorer,” Sanders said of unchecked immigration in 2015.
In the current election cycle, though, Sanders has come to endorse one of the most open borders platforms of any 2020 Democrat running for president — a plan that includes forcing Americans to pay for free health care for illegal aliens, decriminalizing illegal immigration, and no reduction to legal immigration levels to boost U.S. wages.
Sanders’ latest interview with the New York Times pitted him against his prior stance on immigration, where he at first again admitted that “of course” cheap foreign labor lowers wages for Americans.
Later in the interview, though, Sanders backs away from immigration’s wage-suppression impact on Americans and focuses on a $15 minimum wage — suggesting that illegal aliens be legalized and paid the same wage as Americans.
“All I am saying is that if for whatever reason, I’m paying you $5 an hour, okay,” Sanders said. “You don’t think that’s going to lower the wages that she gets?”
Extensive research by economists like George Borjas and analyst Steven Camarota reveals that the country’s current mass legal immigration system burdens U.S. taxpayers and America’s working and middle class while redistributing about $500 billion in wealth every year to major employers and newly arrived immigrants. Similarly, research has revealed how Americans’ wages are crushed by the country’s high immigration levels.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.