Bernie Sanders in Phoenix: Comprehensive immigration needed, money in education not jails

Jul 18, 2015, 11:16 PM | Updated: 11:16 pm

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had a different tone than GOP hopeful Donald Trump last week when it comes to immigration.

Sanders took the stage at the Phoenix Convention Center Saturday night and told supporters there needs be comprehensive immigration.

“Our job is not to divide. Our job is to bring people together,” Sanders said. “When we talk about bringing one nation together, there are 11 million people in the shadows. They are afraid to be deported.”

The tone was different from what Trump said last week when he spoke in the same venue to around 5,000 supporters. Trump advocated for tougher border security and the need to charge the Mexican government $100,000 for every person they send over.

“That is why we need comprehensive immigration,” Sanders said. “We need a path to citizenship. We don’t need to be dividing families. We need to keep them together.”

Saturday’s rally was before an estimated 11,000 supporters according to the convention center. It was the largest rally for the Vermont Senator so far on the campaign trail.

“Someone said Arizona was a conservative state,” he told his supporters who promptly booed at the notion.

Sanders, who has been gaining ground on Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire, touched on a variety of other topics including the need to make college more affordable.

“Every public college and university should be tuition free,” he said.

A recent report from the Obama Administration said close to 885,000 Arizonians have nearly $22.6 billion in student loan debt. The national student loan debt tops $1 trillion.

The president has proposed free tuition for every American to attend a community college.

“One of the reasons why we have so many people in jail is because we have 5 million kids on the streets with no job,” Sanders said. “It makes more sense to me to invest in education than for jails. I want our country to have the best education instead of having more people in jail.”

Sanders advocated the need to raise the minimal wage to $15 an hour and added how all over the country, people are working three jobs to make ends meet.

“If someone is working 40 hours a week, they should not be living in poverty,” he said.

Sanders also took shots at the other GOP presidential hopefuls, saying the Republican Party’s vision of family values is that a woman should not be able to control their own bodies and they believe that our gay brothers and sisters should not marry.

“Those are their family values but they are not our family values,” Sanders said.

He also touched on Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s recent comments about how people need to work more hours.

“Our people don’t need to work more hours. They need to have better wages,” Sanders said.

When it comes to bailouts on Wall Street, Sanders said, “If a financial institution is too big to fail, then it’s too big to exist.”

He touched on the Koch brothers spending close to $1 billion on the upcoming presidential campaign and the need to repeal the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision.

“When one family spends more money than that of the two political parties, that is not democracy that is a monarchy,” he said.

Sanders added there needs to be a moral obligation in this country that every veteran who put their life on the line for the country, gets the best health care available. He ended the speech by talking about how the country mobilized following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor to win World War II, and felt the country needs to do the same when it comes to facing the issues of today.

“I don’t want anybody to tell me that we can’t do that,” Sanders said. “Don’t tell me that we can’t lead the world in climate change. Don’t tell me that we can’t have best infrastructure in the world. Don’t tell me our kids can’t have the best education.”

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Bernie Sanders in Phoenix: Comprehensive immigration needed, money in education not jails