Sen. Bernie Sanders declared that, as president, he would leave America’s borders open during an emergency like the coronavirus outbreak.
The Democratic presidential candidate accused President Donald Trump of spreading a “xenophobic” attitude during a Fox News town hall and claimed that, if elected, he would not restrict travel across the U.S. border to prevent the spread of a contagious virus like COVID-19.
(Source: Fox News)
“If you had to, would you close down the borders,” Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Sanders at a town hall in Michigan on Monday.
“No,” the Vermont senator replied.
“I mean, what you don’t want to do right now, we have a president who has propagated a xenophobic, anti-immigrant sentiment from before he was elected. What we need to do is have the scientists take a hard look at what we need to do,” Sanders proposed, apparently suggesting Trump’s decisions are politically motivated.
He then gave other options like having people self-quarantine.
“There are communities where the virus is spreading, what does that mean? It may mean self-quarantine, maybe not having public assemblies,” Sanders said.
“Isn’t it interesting that a president who has been demagoguing and demonizing immigrants, the first thing [he] can think about is closing down the border?” the 2020 contender asked. “We need scientists to tell us the appropriate approach.”
The president was looking “very strongly” at the potential of tightening the southern U.S. border as he recently told reporters. Trump announced new travel restrictions last week affecting Iran, Italy, and areas hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have received a lot of power on the southern border over the last couple years from the courts” — Trump says he’s considering closing the southern border in response to coronavirus (no cases have come from Mexico) pic.twitter.com/NTpLIlZ1CP
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 29, 2020
During the Michigan town hall this week, in which Sanders called out his 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden as a friend to “crooks,” the Vermont lawmaker also gave Hillary Clinton a wake-up call and sent on an-air greeting to the president.
“And last point, Donald Trump, I know he’s on the network a whole lot. Donald, you’re probably watching, how are you? Wanted to say hello to the president,” he joked.
(Source: Fox News)
“He’s actually having a news conference,” Baier said.
“I’m sure he’s watching Fox on the side. He’s addicted to your station,” Sanders replied.
According to his campaign website, Sanders plans to “completely reshape and reform our immigration enforcement system, including breaking up ICE and CBP and redistributing their functions to their proper authorities.”
He also sees the Trump administration’s treatment of immigration as “a criminal and national security matter” as “inhumane” and “impractical,” vowing he will treat border crossings – even the illegal ones – as a “civil matter.”
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, which began in Hubei Province where the city of Wuhan is located, hundreds of Chinese nationals have tried to illegally cross the southern U.S. border.
“Some 328 illegal immigrants from China have been nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the border,” The Washington Times reported. “Three other people from South Korea — another country with rapidly spreading cases — have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected.”
“We know from experience that the journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said last week. “And they often arrive with no passports, medical histories, or travel manifests.”
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