By Congressman Esteban Torres
Among the many hotly debated issues being addressed by this year’s presidential hopefuls is that of immigration reform. Their platforms have the potential to impact the lives of millions of families living in the United States and are of particular concern to the Latino community.
What is their position on deportation, border security, affordable health care for immigrants, immigrant workers rights, path to citizenship, etc.? Who among them has the best intentions for our community?
For me, that candidate is Bernie Sanders. I’ll tell you why.
I was only 3 years old when my father was sent back to Mexico by U.S. immigration authorities in 1933. He had been caught up in one of the many deportation campaigns that sent millions of presumed Mexican nationals back to Mexico. I never saw my father again.
Many more millions of families have been impacted by the vagaries of immigration policies. The time has come for immigration reform that will rebuild family unity, keep our borders safe, and, as even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees, strengthen our economy.
Bernie Sanders has the most compassionate stance on immigration reform. I worked with him when I served in the U.S. House of Representatives, and I know he can get things done in Congress. He is my candidate to move the issue of immigration reform along on a just path.
Bernie has repeatedly stated: “We are a country of immigrants, I am the son of an immigrant. His story, my story, our story, is the story of America: working families who come to this country in search of a better future for their children.”
Contrast this with Republican contender, Donald Trump, who said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Trump would halt immigration, deport millions of families and build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
But Bernie gets it. He firmly believes in: – A Path to Citizenship: He believes in providing a path to citizenship for people from many different countries.
– The DREAM Act: He supports the path toward permanent residency for young, undocumented immigrants.
– Visa Reform: He rejects the exploitation of workers and the use of visas for cheap, foreign labor. He would increase opportunities for qualified individuals to take steps toward permanent residency.
– Border Security: He would secure borders without building a fence.
Bernie is our best choice to lead our country in the future. He is our best hope to push forward immigration reform that will build this country and make us a stronger nation.
Esteban Torres served in Congress and also as the U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO. Most recently Torres serves as the Chair Emeritus of the National Latino Media Council.