Vermont senator and 2020 Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders during a town hall event in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Sunday said that contrary to President Trump’s claims about the Democratic Party, he is not a proponent for “open borders.”
The self-proclaimed Democratic socialist said that the reason he could not support such a policy is because “there’s a lot of poverty in this world … [a]nd I don’t think that’s something” the U.S. can handle “at this point.”
“I’m afraid you may be getting your information wrong. That is not my view," Sanders said in response to a question about why he is an "activist for opening borders." "I think what we need is comprehensive immigration reform.”
“If you open the borders, my god, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world,” he went on. “And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it.”
Sanders is already under fire by liberals and Democrats for taking the stance that he did on Sunday, his critics slamming the senator for giving ground to President Trump and members of the Republican Party who favor securing the nation's borders.
Sanders has said in the past that he does not support an open border policy, calling it a "right-wing" proposal in a Vox interview in 2015 that "would make everybody in America poor."
It remains to be seen how the rest of the 2020 Democratic contenders respond to the open borders question.
The Vermont senator's remarks come amid an ongoing crisis on the U.S.-southern border involving an unprecedented influx of migrants and overcrowding of detention facilities.