Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Sunday he favors a comprehensive immigration overhaul.
But when asked at an Oskaloosa, Iowa, town hall why he supported open borders, Sanders replied, “I’m afraid you may be getting your information wrong. I think what we need is comprehensive immigration reform.”
The Vermont senator continued: “Oh my god, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world. And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it,” he said of open borders.
Sanders came under fire during the 2016 campaign for opposing a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill in 2007 over concerns it would depress wages and hurt U.S. workers. The stance that aligned him closely with a number of unions at the time. He supports a pathway to citizenship for children brought into the U.S. illegally by the parents, and in 2013 supported the comprehensive immigration legislation backed by the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators, which ultimately failed in the House.
He has not yet released an immigration policy outline for his 2020 campaign.
Sanders made his comments during a two-day swing through a handful of rural Iowa towns. During the Oskaloosa event, he took six questions from the crowd, on issues ranging from the feasibility of his economic policies to whether he’d unite the Democrats after the primary.
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