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HerbChestnut

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Member since: Fri Jul 24, 2015, 12:17 AM
Number of posts: 3,649

Journal Archives

NBC/Survey Monkey National Poll: Hillary 49, Bernie 33, O'Malley 1

http://www.scribd.com/doc/290464091/NBC-SM-Nov-Dem-Primary-Toplines-Methodology-11-20-15

UnitedHealth Group may pull out of the Affordable Care Act Exchanges

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/united-health-exit-obamacare-exchanges_564dd75de4b00b7997f9585b?utm_hp_ref=politics

This is just another reason why we need to do away with the private health insurance industry. Simply put, it's an industry that doesn't work for consumers, period.

A universal healthcare system is the way forward, and the sooner we adopt one the sooner we can get our poor and sick the care they deserve.

A Vote for Hillary is a vote against...

Universal Healthcare - Hillary has come out against, and is actively attacking, the universal healthcare plan proposed by Bernie and has not provided one of her own. Instead, she wants to "enhance" the Affordable Care Act, whatever that means. It's also worth noting here that Clinton has received significant sums of money from the pharmaceutical industry during this campaign.

Free Public College Tuition - Hillary opposes free public college tuition for everybody, justifying her position by saying that the middle class shouldn't pay to send Donald Trump's kids to college. With that logic we should stop funding libraries and high schools too.

Campaign Finance/Wall Street Reform - I lumped to two together because they're directly correlated. Hillary has said that she'll act 'tough' on Wall Street, but history proves otherwise. By now it's common knowledge that Wall Street firms have been the largest donor to her campaigns dating back to her Senate campaign in 2000, which was notably *before* the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent rebuilding process. She also doesn't support reinstating Glass-Steagall, and though she has said she wants something more comprehensive as a replacement she has yet to offer any concrete details. This seems suspicious given her relationship with Wall Street in the past.

A more Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy - I know that Bernie is no dove, but Hillary seems much more hawkish on foreign policy that either him or Obama. I can see her getting us involved in even more international conflict that we are already, and given her past voting history (I'm referring to the IWR of course), I question her judgement and foresight of consequences related to her foreign policy decisions.



These are just some of the reasons I can't support Hillary. Notice they're all *issues*. She honestly seems like a decent person, and she certainly is smart, but I feel like our country needs things like universal healthcare and campaign finance reform in order for ordinary people to live a decent life and have a voice. What say you?

Bernie's remarks on Paris and ISIS tonight were inspiring.

I hope folks take the time to watch a recording of his speech in Cleveland once the videos come up on youtube.



EDIT: Added video

O'Malley's attacking everybody.

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/omalley-unloads-clintons-911-comments

Speaking with reporters, O’Malley said Clinton made a “gaffe” in a “very, very distasteful way, trying to pump out a smokescreen for her coziness with the big banks of Wall Street by invoking the tragedy of 9/11 and those attacks — and especially so fresh after so many were murdered in Paris.”

And it wasn’t just Clinton whom O’Malley targeted. “I don’t believe we need to scrap capitalism and replace it with socialism, as Sen. Sanders thinks,” he said of Sanders.


I highlighted the attack on Sanders because I find it disingenuous. This comes straight out of the Republican playbook almost word for word. O'Malley seems like a great candidate, and he is a strong #2 for me, but this kind of talk really makes it difficult to support him in any way.

Bernie Sanders Plan to Address War and Peace

https://berniesanders.com/issues/


“We live in a difficult and dangerous world, and there are no easy or magical solutions. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I will defend this nation, its people, and America’s vital strategic interests, but I will do it responsibly. America must defend freedom at home and abroad, but we must seek diplomatic solutions before resorting to military action. While force must always be an option, war must be a last resort, not the first option.

As a member of Congress, I have supported the use of force only when it was a last resort and America’s vital interests were at stake. I opposed the first Gulf War, as did many other Members of Congress, because I believed that there was a way to achieve our goals without bloodshed, through sanctions and concerted diplomatic action. I supported the use of force to stop the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. And, in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001, I supported the use of force in Afghanistan to hunt down the terrorists who attacked us. I regret that President Bush did not use that authority properly, and that American combat troops remained there too long. I voted against the war in Iraq, and knew it was the right vote then, and most people recognize it was the right vote today. The only mission President Bush and his neo-conservative friends accomplished was to destabilize an entire region, and create the environment for al-Qaeda and ISIS to flourish.

While we must be relentless in combating terrorists who would do us harm, we cannot and should not be policeman of the world, nor bear the burden of fighting terrorism alone. The United States should be part of an international coalition, led and sustained by nations in the region that have the means to protect themselves. That is the only way to defeat ISIS and to begin the process of creating the conditions for a lasting peace in the region.”
– Sen. Bernie Sanders

Foreign Policy: Strength through Diplomacy

Senator Sanders believes that the test of a great and powerful nation is not how many wars it can engage in, but how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner. From the Middle East, to Ukraine, to North Korea, to the South China Sea, to civil war in the world’s newest nation – South Sudan, we face a multitude of serious foreign policy challenges.

Senator Sanders will protect America, defend our interests and values, embrace our commitments to defend freedom and support human rights, and be relentless in combating terrorists who would do us harm. However, after nearly fourteen years of ill-conceived and disastrous military engagements in the Middle East, it is time for a new approach. We must move away from policies that favor unilateral military action and preemptive war, and that make the United States the de facto policeman of the world.

Senator Sanders believes that foreign policy is not just deciding how to react to conflict around the world, but also includes redefining America’s role in the increasingly global economy. Along with our allies throughout the world, we should be vigorous in attempting to prevent international conflict, not just responding to problems. For example, the international trade agreements we enter into, and our energy and climate change policies not only have enormous consequences for Americans here at home, but greatly affect our relations with countries around the world. Senator Sanders has the experience, the record and the vision not just to lead on these critically important issues, but to take our country in a very different direction.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Sen. Sanders considers his vote against the Iraq War to be one of the most important he has cast, and believes that the invasion in Iraq was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in modern U.S. history. As a leader in the opposition to the war in Iraq, much of what then Congressman Sanders feared would happen has, in fact, occurred. Not only did the United States invade Iraq based on false information, but the war has radically destabilized the entire region and has been completely counterproductive in terms of fighting international terrorism.

As the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Sanders knows what the cost of war is. He knows that 6,700 brave men and women lost their lives in those wars, that too many came home without legs, arms or eyesight. He also knows that some 500,000 servicemen and women returned home with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, and that the war disrupted the lives of tens of thousands of families.

Sen. Sanders voted to authorize military strikes against Afghanistan, after it became clear that the Taliban regime harbored and gave support to Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked America on 9/11. However, while we entered that war with significant clarity of purpose and moral authority, President Bush soon lost sight about what our goals were in Afghanistan. Instead of fighting those who attacked our country, he embroiled our troops in a quagmire in a far-away land.

Sen. Sanders called on both Presidents Bush and Obama to withdraw U.S. troops as soon as possible and for the people of Afghanistan to take full responsibility for their own security. After visiting Afghanistan, Sen. Sanders spoke-out against the rampant corruption he saw, particularly in regards to elections, security and the banking system.

Preventing a Nuclear Iran

The U.S. must do everything it can to make certain that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, that a nuclear Iran does not threaten Israel, and to prevent a nuclear arms race in the region. Sen. Sanders supports the agreement between the U.S., Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program, because it has the best chance of limiting Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon, while avoiding yet another war in the region.

While the agreement is not perfect, it is far better than the path we were on – with Iran developing nuclear weapons and the potential for military intervention by the U.S. and Israel growing greater by the day. If Iran does not live up to the agreement, sanctions can be reestablished and all other options remain on the table. It is incumbent upon us, however, to give the negotiated agreement a chance to succeed, and Sen. Sanders applauds President Obama and Secretary Kerry for their efforts.

Israel and Palestine

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been one of the world’s most difficult and intractable disputes for more than sixty years. Moreover, the failure to resolve that crisis has helped fuel other conflicts in the region. Senator Sanders has long supported a two-state solution that recognizes Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and the Palestinians right to a homeland in which they control their political and economic future.

The most recent violence in Gaza represented a particularly ugly and violent time in the dispute. Senator Sanders strongly condemned indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israeli territory, and Hamas’ use of civilian neighborhoods to launch those attacks. However, while recognizing that Israel has the right to defend itself, he also strongly condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza as disproportionate and the widespread killing of civilians as completely unacceptable.

The U.S. must play a leading role in creating a two-state solution, which will require significant compromises from both sides. The Palestinians must unequivocally recognize Israel’s right to exist, and hold accountable those who have committed terrorist acts. The Israelis must end the blockade of Gaza, and cease developing settlements on Palestinian land. Both sides must negotiate in good faith regarding all other outstanding issues that stand in the way of a durable and lasting peace in the region. In the meantime, strict adherence, by all sides, to the tenets of international humanitarian law is necessary in order to avoid escalating the conflict yet again.

Combating Terrorism

We live in a dangerous world full of serious threats, perhaps none more so than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. Senator Sanders is committed to keeping America safe, and pursuing those who would do Americans harm.

But we cannot combat international terrorism alone. We must work with our allies to root out terrorist funding networks, provide logistical support in the region, disrupt online radicalization, provide humanitarian relief, and support and defend religious freedom. Moreover, we must begin to address the root causes of radicalization, instead of focusing solely on military responses to those who have already become radicalized.

And while there is no question our military must be fully prepared and have the resources it needs to fight international terrorism, it is imperative that we take a hard look at the Pentagon’s budget and the priorities it has established. The U.S. military must be equipped to fight today’s battles, not those of the last war, much less the Cold War. Our defense budget must represent our national security interests and the needs of our military, not the reelection of members of Congress or the profits of defense contractors. The warning that President Dwight David Eisenhower gave us about the influence of the Military-Industrial Complex in 1961 is truer today than it was then.

Protecting America and American Values

Senator Sanders believes our country must remain vigilant to protect us from terrorist attacks at home, whether from organized international terrorist networks, or from “lone wolf” extremists. The threat is real, and he will aggressively pursue those who would do us harm. However, Sen. Sanders strongly believes that we must pursue polices that uphold the core values that make us proud to be Americans.

That is why Sen. Sanders voted against the Patriot Act when it was first passed, why he voted against the Patriot Act when it was renewed, and why he opposed the so-called USA Freedom Act this past spring. We must not trade away our constitutional rights and civil liberties for the illusion of security.

Instead, we must rein in the National Security Agency and end the bulk collection of phone records, internet history, and email data of virtually all Americans.Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must have the tools they need to protect the American people, but there must be legal oversight and they must go about their work in a way that does not sacrifice our basic freedoms.

The same goes for our actions abroad. The U.S. must never again embrace torture as a matter of official policy. In an increasingly brutal world, the wanton use of torture by the Bush administration simply meant we lost our moral standing to condemn others who engage in merciless behavior. That is why Sen. Sanders has consistently spoken out against waterboarding and other forms of extreme “enhanced interrogation.”

We must also, finally, close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The mere existence of this camp, and the misguided policies that led to its creation, continues to damage the United States’ moral standing in the world, undermines our foreign policy, and fans the flames of terrorism rather than deters it.

As President, Sen. Sanders will:

1. Move away from a policy of unilateral military action, and toward a policy of emphasizing diplomacy, and ensuring the decision to go to war is a last resort.

2. Ensure that any military action we do engage in has clear goals, is limited in scope, and whenever possible provides support to our allies in the region.

3. Close Guantanamo Bay, rein in the National Security Agency, abolish the use of torture, and remember what truly makes America exceptional: our values.

4. Expand our global influence by promoting fair trade, addressing global climate change, providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance, defending the rule of law, and promoting human rights.

Bernie Sanders Plan to Address LBGT Rights

https://berniesanders.com/issues/


Senator Sanders has been a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. In 1983, during his first term as Mayor of Burlington, Sen. Sanders supported the city’s first ever Pride Parade. He later signed a city ordinance banning housing discrimination.

When he served in the House of Representatives, then-Congressman Sanders voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 and the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996. Sen. Sanders hailed the landmark Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015 which struck down DOMA and recognized same-sex marriage is a right in all 50 states, calling the decisions a “victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights.”

The United States has made remarkable progress on gay rights in a relatively short amount of time. But there is still much work to be done.

In many states, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. It is legal to deny someone housing for being transgender. That is unacceptable and must change. We must end discrimination in all forms.

Sen. Sanders is currently a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. He has consistently supported legislation that would guarantee LGBT Americans would be treated as equal citizens, and has a lifetime perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign.

As President, Sen. Sanders will:

1. Sign into law the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, and any other bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people.

2. Work with HHS to ensure LGBT Americans have access to comprehensive health insurance which provides appropriate coverage and do not have to fear discrimination or mistreatment from providers.

3. Continue the great work of the State Department’s Special Envoy for LGBT Rights and ensure the United States helps protect the rights of LGBT people around the world.

4. Advance policies to ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying, and work to reduce suicides.

5. Require police departments to adopt policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color who are often targeted by police unfairly, and institute training programs to promote compliance with fair policies.

6. Bar discrimination against LGBT people by creditors and banks so that people will not be unfairly denied mortgages, credit cards, or student loans.

7. Veto any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights.

Bernie Sanders Plan to Address Women's Rights

https://berniesanders.com/issues/


Despite major advances in civil and political rights, our country still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. Many of the achievements that have been made for women’s rights in the 20th century have been under attack by the Republican party — denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work.
When it comes to the rights of women, we cannot go backwards. We have got to go forward.

We are not going back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end an unwanted pregnancy. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman and her doctor to make, not the government.

We are not going to allow the extreme right-wing to defund Planned Parenthood, we are going to expand it. Planned Parenthood provides vital healthcare services for millions of women, who rely on its clinics every year for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services. The current attempt to malign Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies.

We are not going back to the days when women did not have full access to birth control. Incredibly, almost all of the Republicans in the Senate are in favor of giving any employer who provides health insurance, or any insurance company, the ability to deny coverage for contraception or any other kind of procedure if the employer had a “moral” objection to it. That is unacceptable.

We will not go back to the days when survivors of domestic violence had no access to services or recourse against their abusers, because domestic violence was swept under the rug, as a shameful, private issue. Worse yet, it was not so long ago that spousal abuse was legal in many states. We must expand services provided through the Violence Against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and fight any attempts to undermine these laws.

We are not going back to the days when it was legal for women to be paid less for doing the same work as men.

It is wrong that women working full-time only earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. We have got to move forward and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act into law.

And, not only are we going to expand policies that advance gender equality, we are going to fight to pass the long-overdue Equal Rights Amendment and vigorously defend the critical laws and programs which protect all working people in our country.

At a time when elderly women are more likely than men to be living in poverty, not only do we say NO to cuts in Social Security, we will expand Social Security.

When 35 million Americans lack health insurance, not only do we say NO to cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, we will expand these programs that are so important to families.
The right-wing in this country is waging a war against women and by working together, we will ensure that is a war they are going to lose.
As president, Senator Bernie Sanders will:

1. Fight for pay equity for women.

It is a national disgrace that women only earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. The gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. Today, African American women earn just 64 cents for every dollar a white male earns, while the figure for Hispanic women is just 54 cents. As president, Sen. Sanders will sign the Paycheck Fairness Act into law to end wage discrimination based on gender.

2. Expand and protect the reproductive rights of women.

Sen. Sanders has consistently fought against Republican attacks on the fundamental rights of women to control their own bodies. As president, Sen. Sanders would expand, not cut, funding for Planned Parenthood, the Title X family planning program, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion.

3. Only nominate Supreme Court justices who support Roe v. Wade and the reproductive rights of women.

As president, Sen. Sanders will only nominate Supreme Court justices who understand that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and recognize the rights of women to have access to family planning services.

4. Make quality childcare and Pre-K available to all Americans.

Sen. Sanders is working on a plan to make high-quality childcare and Pre-K available to every American, regardless of income. It is unacceptable that the cost of a quality childcare program is out of reach for millions of Americans.

5. Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

According to the most recent statistics, women make up two-thirds of all minimum wage workers. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would significantly boost the wages of more than 15 million women and help close the gender wage gap.

6. Raise the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023.

The federal tipped minimum wage of just $2.13 an hour hasn’t been raised since 1991. More than two-thirds of tipped workers are women. Increasing the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023 would lift millions of women out of poverty and significantly reduce the gender pay gap.

7. Provide at least 12 weeks of paid family leave, 2 weeks of paid vacation, and one week of paid sick days to American workers.

As president, Sen. Sanders would end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee paid leave to workers. The Republicans talk a lot about “family values.” Well, it is not a family value to force the mother of a new born baby to go back to work a few days after she gives birth, because she doesn’t have the money to stay home and bond with her baby. That is not a family value. That is an insult to everything that we know a family is about. Sen. Sanders would require employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. At a time when over 65 percent of women work more than 40 hours a week, we must require employers to provide at least two weeks of paid vacation. And, we must require employers to provide at least one week of paid sick leave so that women can stay home to take care of a sick child, among other things.

8. Expand the WIC program for pregnant mothers and infants.

As the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee, Sen. Sanders helped lead the effort in the Senate against Republican attempts to cut the WIC program that provides nutrition assistance to pregnant mothers, women, and infants. As president, Sen. Sanders would substantially increase funding for this program so that every low-income mother and her children receive the nutrition they need to live healthy lives.

9. Make healthcare a right.

As president, Sen. Sanders would fight for a Medicare for All single-payer healthcare system to make healthcare a right for all Americans. If the United States joined every major country on earth and enacted a universal healthcare program, women would benefit the most. Today, women have much higher healthcare expenses than men and pay a greater portion of their healthcare costs out of their own pockets. Women make up two-thirds of the low-wage workforce and only about 23 percent of low-wage jobs provide health insurance. It is time for a Medicare for All single-payer healthcare system.

10. Expand Social Security.

As president, Sen. Sanders will fight to expand Social Security benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments to keep up with rising medical and prescription drug costs; and expand the minimum Social Security benefit to lift seniors out of poverty. Women will benefit the most by expanding Social Security. More than twice as many elderly women lived in poverty than men in 2013. Without Social Security, nearly half of all elderly women would be living in poverty.

Bernie Sanders Plan to Address Veterans' Needs

https://berniesanders.com/issues/


While serious people can have legitimate differences about when our country should go to war, there should never be a debate whether we fulfill the promises made to the men and women who served this country in the military. As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who have put their lives on the line to defend us.



Sen. Sanders believes that just as planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so is taking care of the men and women who we sent off to fight the war. It includes caring for the spouses and children who have to rebuild their lives after the loss of a loved one. It includes caring for the hundreds of thousands of veterans with multiple amputations or loss of eyesight, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. It includes veterans who are having difficulty keeping jobs in order to pay their bills, and it includes the terrible tragedy of veterans committing suicide. 



As the former Chairman and a current member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, one of Sen. Sanders’ highest priorities in Congress has been ensuring that our veterans receive the care and benefits they have earned.

Amid reports of unacceptable wait times at many VA medical facilities last year, Sen. Sanders spearheaded a bipartisan effort to pass the most comprehensive veterans’ legislation in decades. The landmark Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act increases accountability within the VA and ensures that all veterans have access to timely health care.

The law written by Sanders strengthens the VA health care system by authorizing 27 new medical facilities and by providing $5 billion to hire more doctors and nurses to care for the surging number of veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It provides incentives to attract young doctors to the VA. It makes it easier for some veterans to see private doctors or go to community health centers, Department of Defense facilities or Indian Health Centers. It expanded VA educational benefits and improved care for survivors of sexual trauma while serving in the military.

Sen. Sanders wants to build on a program he has championed in Vermont, where the National Guard operates an innovative outreach program to provide pre-deployment and post-deployment support to family members and service members. This effort has been hugely successful in terms of making sure that veterans know about and receive the health care, mental health counseling, family assistance, transition assistance and other benefits they need to make sure they can live a healthy and productive life.

Moving forward, Sen. Sanders wants to expand veterans’ benefits by making comprehensive dental care available to all veterans at VA medical centers, and by expanding caregiver provisions. He believes we must do more to meet the mental health needs of our veterans, especially those who have served in harm’s way. We must fully restore cuts to military pensions that were insisted upon by Republicans in the last budget deal.
Instead of cutting benefits for the men and women who have served our country, we should ask the most profitable corporations and the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share.

Sen. Sanders also strongly believes that we must end the travesty of veterans’ homelessness. While huge gains have been made over the past six years, the fact that on any given night there are fifty thousand homeless veterans on the street is a national disgrace. We also need to make further improvements to the VA disability claims process, which while significantly streamlined, still takes far too long for many veterans.
Key Actions:

1. Authored the historic Veterans’ Access, Choice and Accountability Act to improve care and increase accountability at the VA.

2. Co-sponsored the Post-9/11 GI Bill to allow a new generation of veterans, servicemembers and dependents to seek a college degree.

3. Co-sponsored the Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act, to ensureVA facilities meet the needs of women veterans, and require every VA medical center to have obstetricians or gynecologists on staff.

4. Introduced legislation to restore all cuts to military pensions.

As President, Sen. Sanders will:

1. Fully fund and expand the VA so that every veteran gets the care that he or she has earned and deserves.

2. Substantially improve the processing of Veterans’ claims for compensation.

3. Expand the VA’s Caregivers Program.

4. Expand mental health service for Veterans.

5. Make comprehensive dental care available to all veterans at the VA.

Bernie Sanders Plan to Address Immigration Reform

https://berniesanders.com/issues/


Despite the central role immigrants play in our economy and in our daily lives, undocumented workers are reviled by some for political gain and shunted into the shadows. It is time for this disgraceful situation to end. This country faces enormous problems and they will not be solved unless we are united. It is time to end the politics of division in this country.

We cannot and we should not be talking about sweeping up millions of men, women, and children – many of whom have been here for years – and throwing them out of the country. That’s wrong and that type of discussion has got to end.

We are a nation of immigrants. I am the son of an immigrant myself. Their story, my story, our story is a story of America: hard-working families coming to the United States to create a brighter future for their children. The story of immigrants is the story of America, a story rooted in family and fueled by hope. It continues today in families all across the United States.
-Senator Bernie Sanders

In 2008, Sen. Sanders traveled to the tomato fields of southern Florida and met with migrant workers who were paid paltry wages for back-breaking work. After his visit, Sanders invited leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to come to Washington and testify at a Senate committee hearing where they confronted growers on abusive labor practices. The result in Immokalee, Florida was better working conditions and increased pay.

But how many more Immokalees are out there? How many fields or factories are there where people – often without legal status – are used up and thrown away? We cannot continue to run an economy where millions are made so vulnerable because of their undocumented status.

Many in the business community have argued for a massive expansion of temporary guest worker programs as the answer to the immigration issue. That is not the answer. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented, guest workers are routinely cheated out of wages, held virtually captive by employers who seize their documents, forced to live in inhumane conditions and denied medical treatment for on-the-job injuries.

In addition, we as a nation have got to realize the importance of dealing not just with the issue of immigration but with the very real refugee crisis we face. It was appalling last year when so many voices were insisting that the large numbers of desperate, unaccompanied children who crossed our borders be turned away or simply shipped back to their country of origin like a package marked return to sender.
America has always been a haven for the oppressed. We cannot and must not shirk the historic role of the United States as a protector of vulnerable people fleeing persecution.

Unfortunately, American policy in Latin America has too often made difficult economic and political problems even worse. For example, supporters of NAFTA told us that this unfettered free trade agreement would increase the standard of living in Mexico and significantly reduce the flow of undocumented immigrants into this country as a result. The opposite was true.

Since the implementation of NAFTA, the number of Mexicans living below the poverty line has increased by over 14 million people. Almost 2 million small farmers have been displaced. And in the twenty years since NAFTA growth in per capita GDP has been only half of that experienced by other Latin American nations. Not surprisingly we have seen a 185 percent increase in the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico from 1992 to 2011.
As president, Senator Bernie Sanders will:

1. Sign comprehensive immigration reform into law to bring over 11 million undocumented workers out of the shadows. We cannot continue to run an economy where millions are made so vulnerable because of their undocumented status.

2. Oppose tying immigration reform to the building of a border fence. Undocumented workers come to the United States to escape economic hardship and political persecution. Tying reform to unrealistic and unwise border patrol proposals renders the promise illusory for millions seeking legal status.

3. Sign the DREAM Act into law to offer the opportunity of permanent residency and eventual citizenship to young people who were brought to the United States as children. We must recognize the young men and women who comprise the DREAMers for who they are – American kids who deserve the right to legally be in the country they know as home.

4. Expand President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include the parents of citizens, parents of legal permanent residents, and the parents of DREAMERs. We need to pursue policies that unites families and does not tear them apart.

5. Authorize and substantially increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation to provide legal representation to guest workers who have been abused by their employers. Further, employers should be required to reimburse guest workers for housing, transportation expenses and workers’ compensation.

6. Substantially increase prevailing wages that employers are required to pay temporary guest workers. If there is a true labor shortage, employers should be offering higher, not lower wages.

7. Rewrite our trade policies to end the race to the bottom and lift the living standards of workers in this country and our trading partners. Not only have free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA hurt U.S. workers, they have been a disaster for small farmers in Mexico and Central America.

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