Bernie Sanders' Powerful Message for SCOTUS Deadlocked on Immigration Action (Video)
Shortly before Thursday's heavily anticipated SCOTUS decision regarding immigration, Bernie Sanders delivered a moving speech at NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials), less than a mile away from the United States Supreme Court. Sanders expressed disappointment in the resurfaced anti-immigrant sentiment in America, apparent in the court's failure to protect undocumented immigrants.
"The time is long overdue for real comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship," Sanders announced at NALEO on Thursday morning.
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) would have prevented deportation of both undocumented immigrants who come to the United States as children as well as the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.
"Before DAPA could get off the ground, a lawsuit from Texas and 25 other states claiming the program was illegal presidential overreach led a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, to put Mr. Obama’s plans on hold," reported the Economist, and the SCOTUS vote on the case, United States v Texas, was eventually split 4-4.
“The court’s inability to reach a decision in this case is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to have a full bench,” President Obama said, after the court's ruling was confirmed.
Sanders used NALEO as an opportunity to relay his own experiences with undocumented immigrants and their loved ones on the campaign trail.
“During the course of the campaign, I recall being in Phoenix and talking after a speech to half a dozen young Latinos. And tears were streaming down the eyes of some of the young people as they worried about their future and what might happen to their parents. The fact that any day they can come home from school and find their mom or dad deported," Sanders said. "I have talked to young people in the military. A young man serving in the United States military while on active duty, his wife was deported. And a 12-year-old boy in Arizona who we met with who has been raised on this side of the border found his mother years on, on the other side, and hearing him speak is something that I will never forget."
In his speech, Sanders addressed the crucial legal benefits of citizenship as well.
"As we see today and tomorrow and the next day, there are God knows how many people being exploited on the job every single day, who are being cheated, who are not getting fair wages. But they can’t stand up and fight for their rights… because their employer knows they have no rights and that is something that has got to be addressed," he stated.
Looking ahead at the political landscape for the next president, Sanders said, "The next president of the United States—if Congress does not do its job, which is to pass comprehensive immigration reform—must use the executive powers to do so."
He also commented on Donald Trump's candidacy and the failure of the American people to reject such a candidate as a presidential nominee.
"I had hoped—and I feel most Americans had hoped—that by the year 2016, maybe we would be beyond having candidates make bigotry the cornerstone of their campaigns. ... Our country needs somebody who brings us together, not divides us," Sanders said. "I firmly believe that Donald Trump will not become president of the United States for [this and] a number of reasons."