Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton’s Immigration Comments Inhumane, Irresponsible

In a Friday press release from Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s debate comments about unaccompanied minors among undocumented immigrants have come under fire. The Vermont Senator addressed the comments, disagreeing with the notion that returning undocumented children to their countries of origin would be a viable means of handling the matter.

A full statement was released on Sanders’ campaign site, centering around the following lines.

“We should never put children back into harm’s way to ‘send a message’ to anyone. That’s why Sen. Sanders has put forward a serious immigration plan that focuses on protecting kids and keeping families together. It is time for Secretary Clinton to do the same.”

Arguably, Clinton’s statements were not a new stance, but a defense of comments she had made in 2014. Speaking to CNN, she maintained that children who made it into the U.S. from Central America had to be returned, if possible, to their families.

In January of 2016, Clinton spoke from a different stance, arguing against raids that ended in mass deportations of children and families, though NBC reports that she would not directly answer the question of whether unaccompanied minors would be deported, instead saying that the matter was complicated and that children would receive due process.

According to Mother Jones, she offered no such direct statement at Thursday night’s debate, either. Instead, she defended her 2014 stance when Sanders brought it up — which he did after she said he had previously blocked immigration reform.

In defense, Clinton simply maintained that her statements in 2014 had simply been an effort to “send a message,” and prevent families from allowing their children to try to make it into the U.S. illegally — arguably a dangerous mission for anyone, ever the more so for a young child with no adult.

Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton said she'd deport kids. [Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]However, Sanders argued that children shouldn’t be used to send a message, and he followed that argument up on social media on Friday.

His Twitter account was also active during the debate Thursday night, and offered a few more brief statements on the matter of deporting minors.

Clinton’s campaign also addressed the issue on social media, tweeting an assurance that she wouldn’t support mass deportation, but again sidestepping any specific answers regarding the deportation of minors.

What do the two agree about, with regard to immigration reform, though?

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, similar on immigration reform [Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]Sanders has released an elaborate plan for immigration reform, which he says he would not wait for Congress to affirm — instead, he’d start his first days in office by enacting the parts that can be done through executive actions. These include specific portions to address families and children — he says he’d end detention of families, and implement what he calls a “best interest of the child” policy.

“It is imperative that a ‘best interests of child’ standard is used in all decision-making and implement child welfare screenings that are conducted by CBP officers along with child welfare experts.”

Clinton, too, has released a plan for immigration reform, and it addresses family issues similarly, also promising to end family detention, and noting that deportation should target those who pose a danger, rather than families and individuals contributing to their communities.

“She will focus enforcement resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and work to ensure refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories.”

In fact, though the two may have disagreed on stage, their immigration plans parallel in a number of ways. Expanding health care to immigrants, ending for-profit detention centers, and providing paths to naturalization, all appear in the plans put forth by both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]