Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) claimed that health care and climate change are more pressing issues than the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.
As IJR previously reported, more than 600,000 migrants have been apprehended in the current financial year, with more than 130,000 in the month of May alone. This has led to serious problems for the immigration authorities at the southern border.
Detention facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hit capacity, forcing Border Patrol agents to release migrants on their own recognizance into the country in hopes that they will return for their asylum hearing which could be years away. As IJR previously reported, 87 percent of migrants never return for their asylum hearing, instead opting to stay in the U.S. illegally.
Even the migrants that are just waiting to receive their court date prior to being released are forced into crowded conditions. As “State of the Union” host Dana Bash noted, recent reports from processing facilities described migrants standing on toilets just to try and get fresh air.
Despite what is clearly an urgent crisis, Sanders refused to call it one. He even claimed President Donald Trump was manufacturing the “fake border ‘crisis.'”
Trump's Mexico tariffs aren't about trade, it's about a fake border "crisis" to scapegoat migrants. No wonder it's unpopular. We should be working to address migration’s root causes by ending our militarized drug war and race-to-the-bottom trade policies. https://t.co/sWDmNfrUza
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 5, 2019
Bash noted the urgent issues at the border, but Sanders denied that the situation was a crisis. Instead, he claimed health care and climate change are more pressing issues.
Watch Sanders’ interview:
“It is a serious problem, but it is not the kind of crisis that requires demonization of desperate people who in some cases have walked a thousand miles with their children. It is an issue we have to deal with. But the issue of climate change, the issue of tens of millions of Americans not having any health insurance. The fact that half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, those are more serious crises. So it is an issue. But you don’t demonize desperate people. We deal with it in a rational and humane way.”
Sanders is one of 23 Democrats in the 2020 presidential primary. He has been consistently polling in second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden.