Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said the immigration debate is framed exactly wrong.
Republicans vilify President Barack Obama for supposedly opening the border to ever-increasing multitudes of immigrants, legally or otherwise, but the Democratic presidential candidate said blame is cast in the wrong direction, reported Vox.
“Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal,” Sanders said in a wide-ranging interview with the website. “That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States.”
Sanders frequently targets the libertarian industrialists Charles and David Koch as unhealthy influences on American democracy — but he’s not the first to notice their support for an open borders policy.
The conservative Breitbart and the white supremacist VDARE website each blasted the Koch brothers for sponsoring a “pro-amnesty Buzzfeed event” in 2013, and two writers for the Koch-sponsored Reason — former contributing editor David Weigel and current editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie — have always been supportive of immigration reform.
That’s at odds with what many Republicans believe, and Sanders told Vox that an open border would be disastrous to the American economy.
“It would make everybody in America poorer — you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that,” Sanders said. “If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or (the United Kingdom) or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people.”
He said conservative corporate interests pushed for open borders, not liberals.
“What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy,” Sanders said. “Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour — that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, (and) I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.”
The senator said flooding the job market with foreign candidates willing to work for low pay would be especially harmful to younger Americans trying to enter the workforce.
“You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today?” he said. “If you’re a white high school graduate, it’s 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?”
“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.