Democrat presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders admits that his open borders immigration policy hurts American workers.
In an interview with The New York Times, the self-styled working-class warrior said illegal immigration “of course” drives down wages for Americans, Breitbart reported. The candid admission undercuts Sanders’ own stance on immigration, which has evolved in recent years from support for restricted immigration to the de facto open borders policy of the Democratic Party.
Sen. Sanders has been criticized by identity politics-obsessed Democrats for advocating the anti-globalization views of an increasingly outmoded faction of the party. As recently as 2015, he called open borders a “Koch brothers” proposal that empowers big business to the detriment of workers.
In an interview with the Times, Sanders reiterated that viewpoint, admitting that illegal immigration undercuts American laborers by providing a supply of cheaper labor to exploit. But he fell short of making any commitments to actually reverse mass illegal immigration.
“Yeah, if you’re being paid $5 — if you’re being paid $5 an hour, now of course it’s going to lower wages,” Sanders said. “Why would I hire at a higher wage?”
Despite continuing to criticize open borders — and acknowledging the detrimental economic impact of illegal immigration — Sanders still supports decriminalizing illegal immigration, is an advocate of Barack Obama’s amnesty plan — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — and has called to break up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Border Patrol.
Sanders also told the Times that he would “restore legal status to the 1.8 million young people and their parents” eligible for DACA and promised to push a “pathway to citizenship” as “strongly as I can.”
Playing progressive catch-up
Sanders’ confused immigration policy is a reflection of a wider problem for the candidate for the Democrat nomination, namely, his preoccupation with class divides over the more fashionable identity politics of the liberal elite. Despite his efforts to play catch-up, Sanders’ class-conscious focus continues to be a soft spot, at least in the eyes of rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Warren brought the question of identity — and Sanders’ insensitivity to the politics of it — to the forefront this week by accusing him of once saying that a woman cannot win the presidency. The accusation came up at Tuesday night’s debate in Iowa, where Sanders vehemently denied the story.
The Massachusetts senator took that as an opportunity to double down on identity politics, saying it was time to “attack” the question of “whether or not a woman can be president” while trumpeting the electoral success of women.
Many debate watchers complained that the debate was rigged against Sanders, particularly after a moderator framed a question to Warren as if her story was a certain fact. Sanders flexed his anti-free trade views when he slammed NAFTA and normalized trade relations with China for exporting American jobs overseas, but he was the only Democrat to reject Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, saying it would export jobs and didn’t go far enough to stop climate change.
Sanders is right about immigration and wages, but the woke left doesn’t have any patience for common-sense labor economics. If Sanders makes it to the general election, Trump should have no problem easily attacking him as a hypocrite for supporting immigration policies that hurt the very working-class constituency Sanders claims to support.