Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reminded voters in Iowa over the weekend that he is decidedly against open borders.
Responding to a question from someone in the audience who wanted to know how safety nets would be funded if the United States had open borders.
The Democratic presidential candidate interrupted the man, however, asking who he believed is “suggesting opening the borders.”
The audience member mistakenly suggested Sanders supported the idea.
"I'm afraid you may be getting your information wrong," said Sanders. "That is not my view. I think what we need is comprehensive information reform. If your point is, open the borders, 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 is something we can do at this point. Can't do it. So that is not my position."
Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Oskaloosa, IA: "If you open the borders, 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." pic.twitter.com/INF9GopzIe— The Hill (@thehill) April 7, 2019
Sanders has criticized open borders in the past. In a 2015 interview with Ezra Klein, Sanders suggested the idea of open border is a "Koch brothers proposal."
The idea, he argued, is a right-wing scheme meant to flood the US with cheap labor and depress wages for native-born workers. "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," he conceded, "but you don't do that by making people in this country even poorer." (Vox)
And he again doubled down on this argument at an event hosted by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Responding to the criticism he received from Hispanic groups after an interview with Ezra Klein of Vox earlier this week where he made similar comments Sanders dismissed them as organizations who support "completely opening up the border."
"What they are talking about is completely opening up the border," Sanders responded. "That was the question. Should we have a completely open border so that anyone can come in the United States of America? If that were to happen, which I strongly disagree with, there is no question in my mind that that would substantially lower wages in this country."
Sanders also addressed the already high unemployment rate of Hispanic and African-American youth and how illegal immigration would affect their job opportunities.
"When you have 36-percent of Hispanic kids in this country who can't find jobs and you bring a lot of unskilled workers in the country what do you think happens to that 36-percent of kids of today who are unemployed? 51% of African-American kids [are unemployed]," Sanders said.
"I frankly do not believe we should be bringing in significant numbers of unskilled workers to compete with those kids," Sanders made clear. (RCP)