Sanders Spox: Obama’s Exec. Orders on Immigration ‘Fell Short’ of the ‘Jurisdiction’ He Has

‘His plans are not only comprehensive but humane’

DÍAZ-BALART: “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is trying to kind of take control of the immigration conversation. The Vermont senator is unveiling his broad plan to tackle the issue. Within his first 100 days, Sanders would expand on President Obama’s executive actions, among other things. And a President Sanders would allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they’ve been living in the country for five years. Plus, provide a five-year path to citizenship. All of this comes after a — a day after President Obama took his immigration actions to the Supreme Court. Lower courts have so far blocked his plans from being reality. With me now, Arturo Carmona, the director of Latino outreach for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Arturo, good to see you.”

CARMONA: “Good to see you again, Jose.”

DÍAZ-BALART: “Let’s talk about some of these plans that the senator has unveiled. Very broad. Are they realistic?”

CARMONA: “Absolutely. I think that his plans are not only comprehensive, but humane. They go to address the basic needs and fabrics of the immigrant community in the United States. And to address the needs of not only immigrants, but the entire American population. It’s a common sense plan that’s realistic and sides with the legal community and hundreds of academics and legal scholars that have said that the president has the legal authority not only to shield those that were covered under his executive orders — and this is President Obama — but can go above and beyond that. And that’s what President Sanders has done. And taken that jurisdiction that the executive has and provided executive leadership plans. But, it goes above and beyond executive leadership and provides a sensible legislative solution as well as solutions to what we’re facing on the border, and really dismantling the deportation program that we have in this country.”

DÍAZ-BALART: “And so, how would that be? What does that mean, dismantling the deportation program? I mean, look, this is a very specific plan and I think it’s [important that all the candidates have something as specific] as this. But you are saying dismantling the deportation process. What does that mean?”

CARMONA: “Well, let’s be specific about that. There’s very specific deportation programs that have been established over the last few years. That have targeted families, that have targeted millions of immigrants and resulted in the largest deportation program we’ve seen ever in the history of this country and Senator Sanders intends to dismantle that and to keep families together. This plan is about keeping families together, about addressing the economic, social, and basic needs of this country, as it relates to having a robust and vibrant immigrant population that contributes greatly to this country. So, we’re talking about very specific programs that have indiscriminately separated families and the senator intends to dismantle those, as well as a private prison set of detention centers that have systemically targeted immigrant families.”

DÍAZ-BALART: “Arturo, how is this different from any of the other candidates running for president?”

CARMONA: “Well, I mean, when you look at Secretary Clinton’s, it’s really — there’s really no plan out there. I think Governor O’Malley has a very robust plan. And so, I think that our plan goes above and beyond that. It provides a set of specifics, tremendous detail, and it’s been praised by a number of different organizations in the immigrant rights community just yesterday and this afternoon as being the most progressive and boldest plan out there so far.”

DÍAZ-BALART: “And — but to be fair, I mean, Secretary Clinton has put out a plan. She says that she would indeed go further than President Obama did as far as executive orders that certainly looking at the possibility of a pathway to citizenship. But Arturo, is this something that you think can actually be accomplished? We have the president taking some executive actions that are still tied up with the courts. Again, they have to go to the Supreme Court. If this is so controversial as far as the courts are concerned, how can a President Sanders think that he can go further when what the president has done already — and he said this is as far as he can go — is being tied up in the courts?”

CARMONA: “Well, again, we’re siding with the — with the legal community, with the immigrant rights community, with the Latino community on this one, because we recognize that the current lawsuit that’s holding up the president’s executive order. It’s a very political and very partisan anti-immigrant approach to holding what we all agree on, which is that the president’s executive order and set of executive orders really fell short of the jurisdiction that the executive has in terms of protecting immigrant families. What we’re saying is that, why are we deport being families that would have qualified, that have been here, that have deep roots in this country and would have qualified for the Senate bill that the House Republican-controlled entity refused to act on. And so, I think that the jurisdiction to take on this action, at least from the executive side, is very much there. Now the senator recognizes that the legislative path will be a complicated one, but believes that if millions of people come together to demand action for what is a national priority, the majority of American support — which is comprehensive and humane immigration reform, that we can in fact get it done.”

DÍAZ-BALART: “Arturo, it’s always a pleasure to see you. Thank you for your time.”

CARMONA: “Thank you.”

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