Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told CBS News’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday that he thought it was “not appropriate” to deport illegal aliens that have broken the law and not shown up for court dates.
“There are ICE raids set to start Sunday morning. Estimates of some 2000 people or so who will be targeted, is this appropriate?” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Sanders.
“No, it’s not,” Sanders responded. “It is absolutely not appropriate.”
Several moments later, Brennan again pressed Sanders: “But specifically on this point the two thousand that are supposed to be targeted haven’t shown up for a court date so essentially they’re- they’re not following the asylum process. The legal standards when they’re here. So should they be prosecuted, should they be deported?”
Sanders responded: “I don’t- I don’t like this deportation thing at all and I think Trump uses this as a beginning to do worse things to come.”
It is worth noting that former President Barack Obama deported more illegal aliens than the Trump administration has, according to a report from Axios.
Trump called off the raids in a tweet on Saturday, writing: “I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to Asylum and Loopholes. This will fix the Southern Border, together with the help that Mexico is now giving us. Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big Deportation begins!”
It was later revealed that the raids were most likely called off because of leaks from inside the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“Leaking the locations and details to stop the operation from happening not only harmed operational integrity, but it put the safety and well-being of his own officers in jeopardy,” a Trump administration official said. “The ICE mission is enforcing the nation’s laws and ensuring those who are unlawfully present in the country are removed if ordered by a judge; this will leave an un-erasable mark on his tenure.”
Partial transcript provided via CBS News:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Tons more on that, but I want to make sure we get to immigration. There are ICE raids set to start Sunday morning. Estimates of some 2000 people or so who will be targeted, is this appropriate?
SEN. SANDERS: No, it’s not. It is absolutely not appropriate.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well the president says–
SEN. SANDERS: I–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –these individuals have broken the law–
SEN. SANDERS: Yeah, I know, I know.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –and haven’t shown up for court dates.
SEN. SANDERS: Yeah. But this is a president who also tweeted out last week that he is prepared, I think, to round up millions, was that the word, millions of undocumented people. And that is so horrific and so un-American that it is unacceptable, and I will do everything I can to stop that. Look you’ve got some 11 million undocumented people in this country. Our job is to pass comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship. Our job is to give immediate legal status to what Trump took away. And that is the DACA program that protects one point eight million young people.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Both of those ideas have gone nowhere in past administrations.
SEN. SANDERS: Well, now that’s not true. DACA was implemented by Obama .
MARGARET BRENNAN: But not legislatively.
SEN. SANDERS: Not legislatively but you have- the president should be able to do that. And I think–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you need a Democratic controlled Senate and House to be able to do that.
SEN. SANDERS: Not necessarily. I think there are- the answer is that would be very helpful, yes. I agree. But I also think that’s what the American people want. The American people do not believe that America is about rounding up men, rounding up millions of people throwing them out of this country. How ugly is that. That’s not what the American people want. They do want comprehensive immigration reform and a president that would provide that support could get Republican leadership on that as well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But specifically on this point the two thousand that are supposed to be targeted haven’t shown up for a court date so essentially they’re- they’re not following the asylum process. The legal standards when they’re here. So should they be prosecuted should they be deported?
SEN. SANDERS: I don’t- I don’t like this deportation thing at all and I think Trump uses this as a beginning to do worse things to come. Once again. We need also a humane policy at the border for people seeking asylum. We need a lot more judges down there and administrative staff as well. So you’ve got a real problem, but let’s deal with it in a humane and serious way not through a demagogic way. And let me tell you what my view is, Trump thinks that he can win re-election. And this is his political game, it’s not an accident that he announced this the same time he went through his- his announcement that he was seeking reelection.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You think this is purely politically motivated?
SEN. SANDERS: Yeah, I do. And I think that- look it’s not to say that we don’t have a serious problem but there are ways for serious people to deal with serious immigration problems. It is a problem. But what he is doing and this is his entire political strategy is to divide the American people up based on where we came from based on our sexual orientation. Remember before he was president he was the leader of the so-called birther movement trying to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency. Clearly a racist act. So you have a president who gives tax breaks to billionaires and wants to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. That’s not what he’s going to run on. You’ve got a president who tried to throw 32 million people off health care. He ain’t gonna run on that one. You got a president who gave 83 percent of the tax benefits to the top one percent, not going to run on that one. So how do you win an election? What do you say- you see those undocumented people, they all your enemy. Stand with me. Hate them. Let’s divide this country up. I think that is an incredibly ugly and dangerous thing to be done. And I will do everything I can to stop that.