Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who leads in recent polls of Iowa voters, is starting to feel some heat for his past anti-immigration rhetoric.
In an interview with the New York Times editorial board published Monday, Sanders was called out for his past anti-illegal immigration rhetoric. He was asked if he still believed that “guest workers and undocumented immigrants can lower wages for low-skilled American workers.”
“That’s what I said on the Lou Dobbs show 250 years ago, right?” Sanders replied.
Actually, it was 2007 when Bernie Sanders appeared on the Lou Dobbs Show (then on CNN) spouting views that are considered heresy in today’s Democratic Party. We reported on that appearance here at PJ Media back in December. “If poverty is increasing and wages are going down,” Sanders said at the time, “I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guest workers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drives wages down even lower than they are now.”
Sanders made the same argument as recently as 2015, which I can tell you was not 250 years ago. “What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that.” He also criticized open borders policies at a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event because they would “substantially lower wages in this country.”
In his interview with the New York Times, Sanders seemed to have trouble making a coherent position on illegal immigration that satisfied the editorial board.
“But you don’t think that that exploitation results in lower wages for domestic workers?” Binyamin Appelbaum asked.
“Sure it does. Right now, we have people who are being exploited. If you’re undocumented, and you’re being paid five bucks an hour, why am I going to pay her $12 an hour?” Sanders explained.
“I’m confused,” replied Appelbaum, and Sanders tried to explain his position that he’s proposing a $15/hour minimum wage, but Applebaum was not moved.
“What you said on the Lou Dobbs show was that that exploitation lowers wages, and you just said that again. So, I’m confused about what has changed about your position.”
“What did I just say again?” Sanders asked.
Appelbaum then tried to argue that economic research suggests immigration does not drive down wages. Sanders told him he’d never seen this research.
It sounds to me as if the New York Times editorial board is trying to hurt Sanders before the Iowa Caucuses.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis