Bernie Sanders' Thanksgiving Day Message Sadly Reminds Voters That Immigration Keeps Too Many Families Apart
Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted a sad Thanksgiving message Thursday. Sanders reminded voters that not everyone gets to spend Thanksgiving with their families thanks to U.S. immigration policies. Sanders' immigration plan, which he released Tuesday, calls for policies that welcome immigrants, reform deportation and detention programs, and provide a "legislative roadmap to citizenship" for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., among other goals, according to his website.
On Thanksgiving, Sanders tweeted, "As we gather with our loved ones to give thanks, let us reflect on the fact that not all families will be so lucky," with a link to his immigration plan. Moments later, he tweeted a New York Times editorial about his plan, with the message, "We have an obligation to enact policies that unite families, not tear them apart."
And the Times editorial board seems to agree. The Times said Republican candidates have recently had serious discussions "about sealing the border with fantastical 2,000-mile fences and weaponized drones; merging state, local and federal authorities and private prisons into one all-seeing immigration police state; forcibly registering American Muslims; mass-deporting 11 million Mexicans and others in a 21st century Trail of Tears; and turning away thousands of refugees fleeing war and terrorism in the Middle East."
Sanders' immigration plan, the editorial board said, seems radical, though it honestly just continues the U.S.' history as a country entirely built out of immigrants. "We are a nation of immigrants," Sanders' plan says, according to his website. "I am proud to be the son of an immigrant. My father came to this country from Poland without a nickel in his pocket. Their story, my story, our story is a story of America: hard-working families coming to the United States to create a brighter future for their children."
In his plan, Sanders said that he traveled to tomato fields in southern Florida, where immigrant workers were forced to live on "starvation wages." Since his visit, the now-well-known Immokalee workers have received a wage increase. But, Sanders said, there are probably more Immokalees in the U.S.
His immigration plan will seek to help immigrants like those in Immokalee through six specific reforms: Sanders' plan seeks to "dismantle inhumane deportation programs and detention centers; pave the way for a swift and fair legislative roadmap to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants; ensure our border remains secure while respecting local communities; regulate the future flow of immigrants by modernizing the visa system and rewriting bad trade agreements (like the North American Free Trade Agreement); enhance access to justice and reverse the criminalization of immigrants; and, establish parameters for independent oversight of key U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies," according to the plan.
One of the most notable aspects of the plan — and possibly the reason Sanders mentioned it on Thanksgiving — is Sanders' goal to bring back deported undocumented immigrants if they have close relatives living in the U.S., according to USA Today.
Though analysts are saying the plan is radical and puts Sanders firmly to the left of all the candidates, the Times said former presidents Ronald Reagan and both Bushs have talked about why immigrants are an economic asset to the U.S. All three of those former presidents said immigrants should be welcomed and assimilated. Sanders plan hopes to get back to that older, not-so-radical view.