A few days before the Nevada Democratic caucus, two of the top Latino political figures in the United States have attacked the immigration record of Democratic presidential candidate nominee Bernie Sanders, accusing the independent Vermont senator of taking the same anti-immigration stance as the Republican Party.
“Senator Sanders consistently wasn’t there when we needed him most,” says housing and urban development secretary Julian Castro. “He voted with the anti-immigrant right against immigrants.” Castro and Illinois congressman Luis Gutierrez were speaking in a call organized by the campaign for Sanders’ Democratic presidential candidate nominee rival Hillary Clinton. Immigrant advocates and Clinton supporters, the pair attacked Sanders for refusing to support a 2007 immigration bill and for voting to protect the private militia known as the Minutemen, which patrols the US border with Mexico to prevent undocumented immigrants illegally entering the country.
“The truth, is, look, he was absent from most of the critical immigration debates,” claims Gutierrez. “Unfortunately, when he did show up, his record is troubling.” Gutierrez adds that Sanders’ record on immigration did not improve after the 2007 vote and that Latinos should ask themselves where Sanders was when he was needed.
The attacks on Sanders come as the Vermont senator has emerged as a credible threat to Clinton, who lost the New Hampshire primary in a dramatic turnaround and may do the same in Nevada.
Despite the implications of the Clinton supporters, Sanders has long been a big supporter of comprehensive immigration reform.