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Bernie Sanders promises swift immigration reform while visiting Arizona-Mexico border

Photo: Erika Andiola, National Latinx Press Secretary for Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited the Nogales, Ariz., border Saturday and promised that, if elected, he would “take executive action to allow all undocumented people who have been in the United States for at least five years to stay in the country without fear of being deported.”

He said that would happen within his first 100 days of office.

Sanders spoke alongside Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Cook County commissioner Jesús “Chuy” Garcia from Illinois and Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada as he campaigns heading into the Tuesday Arizona primary.

“As I have traveled around this country and talked to immigrant families, and particularly Latino immigrant families, I am struck by the fear and sadness that grips so many of them,” Sanders via a press release.

“Fathers or mothers or both sent out of the country having to leave their minor children with relatives or guardians here in the United States. A U.S. service member whose spouse was deported. A 12-year-old boy who longs to be reunited with his mother. This human suffering has got to end. That is why I am here today.”

In his speech, Sanders separated himself from Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Sanders also criticized Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff introduced Trump during the Republican candidate’s rally Saturday in Fountain Hills, Ariz. Jane Sanders, Bernie’s wife, visited Arpaio’s Tent City earlier in the week but the sheriff went to Twitter on Friday morning to criticize Sanders for “threatening” him Thursday while at a rally in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Later in the day, Sanders spoke at the state fairgrounds in Phoenix for just under an hour.

“On Tuesday, there is going to be a very, very important primary here in Arizona,” he said. “The political reality is if there is a large voter turnout, we will win. If there is a low voter turnout, we will lose. So please on Tuesday make sure that you, your friends and your family come out.”

Sanders cited a report that said he had more votes from individuals under the age of 30 than Clinton and Trump combined.

He urged his supporters that his campaign is “telling the truth.”

Sanders’ campaign outlined the presidential candidate’s immigration reform plan with the following list provided following his speech in Nogales.

– Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and private detention centers.

– Offer humane treatment and asylum to victims of domestic violence and minors fleeing from dangerous circumstances in Latin America.

– End policies that discriminate against women and ensure that mothers and wives who come into the United States with their families have the same right to work as their partners.

– Pave the way for a swift legislative path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

– Close loopholes that allow federal agencies to use racial and ethnic profiling at the border.

– Ensure our border remains secure and protects local communities.

– Make it easier for immigrants to access the judicial system.

– Increase oversight of key Department of Homeland Security agencies to guard against waste, fraud and abuse.
Allow the return of deported immigrants if they would have been eligible to stay under the 2013 immigration bill.

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