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'We Must Not Allow' Legal Status Of 'Dreamers' To Go Unresolved, Sen. Bernie Sanders Says06:33
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Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listens during a committee oversight hearing with testimony from Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listens during a committee oversight hearing with testimony from Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson speaks with Sen. Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders), I-Vt., about immigration policy, President Trump's budget proposal and the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "worldwide threats" Tuesday.

Interview Highlights

On whether he'd support an immigration plan that encompasses President Trump's "four pillars" for immigration

"No. I think what the American people are very clear about — close to 90 percent — is they want to make sure that the 'Dreamers' in this country get legal status and they get a path toward citizenship. And, by the way, most Americans do not think it makes a whole lot of sense to be spending billions of dollars on a wall. So, first thought, I think we should do what the American people want us to do. We have a few days,  just a few days, to deal with this great moral crisis. And, in my view, what we should be doing is focusing on two issues: No. 1, a path toward citizenship and providing legal status for the 1.8 million people who are eligible for DACA. And, No. 2, we should improve border security, and we can do that in a more cost-effective way than by spending billions on a wall that we really don't need."

On where members of Congress stand

"What I can tell you is there is a strong majority of members here in the Senate — I'm guessing 56, 57 members, Democrats, all, and some Republicans — who think that the focus should be on legal status for the 'Dreamers' and a path toward citizenship, and border security, not getting into other areas. I hope that's where we will go. And I can tell you also that there is a majority in the House who support that. And I would very much appreciate [House] Speaker [Paul] Ryan allowing the House to have a vote on what the members want.

"I think, in terms of border security, that has to be part of the program. How much you spend on a wall that I think is unnecessary is another story. But I do believe there is a majority in the Senate, we're trying to get 60 votes for people to say let us focus on making sure that the 'Dreamers' have legal protection and a path toward citizenship. Let's deal with border security. There is strong support both in the House and the Senate for going forward. Broader comprehensive immigration reform, something that we should be looking at. But, between you and me, it is not going to be resolved in three days."

"I think what the American people are very clear about — close to 90 percent — is they want to make sure that the 'Dreamers' in this country get legal status and they get a path toward citizenship."

Sen. Bernie Sanders

On whether the status of "Dreamers" will be resolved before March

"I certainly hope so. Let me be very clear: This, to me, is a profound moral issue, because if we are not successful,  what would happen is that 800,000 young people who have spent their entire lives in this country, who know no other country other than the United States, could be subject to deportation. And that would be just an absolute outrage that we must not allow to happen."

On Trump's budget proposal, and whether Americans should be worried about cuts to Medicare

"Of course they should. And they should be worried that you have an administration that worked overtime to provide massive tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations. And you have a president who, when he ran for office, told the American people he wasn't going to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Well, it turns out that he is proposing over a trillion dollar cuts to Medicaid, hundreds of billions of dollars [in] cuts to Medicare and cuts to the disability program within Social Security. Our job is to make sure that those cuts do not happen. You've got people in this country who are struggling every day to pay their health care costs, which are rising, and we do not need to be throwing millions of people off of the health insurance they have or to be making it more difficult for people on Medicare to get the health care they need."

On whether the cuts will actually happen

"No I don't. I don't. I think by and large most of what the president is proposing will go nowhere."

"There's no question that we are not prepared, at the state level, at the local level and at the federal level."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, on Russian election meddling

On the possibility of Russian meddling in elections, and whether the U.S. is doing enough to stop it from happening

"The president's own head of the CIA has indicated that Russia meddled in 2016, and he worries about 2018. But you have a president who is, I guess, accepting what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin said when he met with Putin. And Putin said, 'Hey, we didn't do anything.' The president said, 'Well, I believe him.' Well, I don't believe Putin. I think the evidence is overwhelming that the Russians did meddle significantly in 2016. I have zero reason to believe that they're not going to do it again in 2018. We are not prepared. There's no question that we are not prepared, at the state level, at the local level and at the federal level, and the president has got to understand what's going on and help us address this very, very serious attack on our democracy. We should be making sure that in every community in America that votes cannot be tampered with — if I cast the vote, that that vote is counted and that it's not manipulated. And then, second of all, we obviously have got to deal with the cyber warfare, where there's a massive amount of lies and misinformation and fake news that are going to people throughout this country coming from Russia."

This segment aired on February 13, 2018.

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