Sanders Slams Trump's Border Wall Demand, Says We Must Protect Dreamers and Working Families

BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 7 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) questioned Sunday why President Donald Trump wants to shut down the government over an $18 billion border wall that the American people do not want and called on Congress to immediately fix the crisis the president precipitated when he ended protections for Dreamers in September.

"The wall is going to happen or we're not going to have DACA," President Trump said at Camp David yesterday.

In response, Sanders told George Stephanopolous on ABC's This Week, "The Republicans control the White House, they control the Senate, they control the U.S. House. They will determine whether or not there is a government shutdown. I certainly hope there is not a government shutdown."

"You have a president who says, who precipitated this crisis back in September by revoking the DACA provision. And now we are in a position where some 800,000 young people – young people who were raised in this country, young people who are in school, who are working in the U.S. military, now are living in extraordinary anxiety about whether or not they're going to lose legal status and be subject to deportation – this is what the president precipitated. We have got to deal with that decision."

Sanders called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act immediately and eventually move to comprehensive immigration reform.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans,  support protecting Dreamers, according to a Quinnipiac poll. Just 35 percent of Americans support building a border wall, according to a Monmouth University survey.

Sanders also sharply criticized the effort by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to do away with the longstanding bipartisan agreement on parity for defense and non-defense spending. 

Republican leadership wants to spend an additional $100 billion on the military, Sanders said, "but they're ignoring the needs of the middle class, ignoring the needs of veterans, ignoring the needs of people who are about to lose their pensions. These guys, the Republican leadership, unbelievably have not even reauthorized the CHIP program for 9 million children in this country in terms of health care or the community health program."

"We have to got to get our priorities right, and giving tax breaks to billionaires, throwing millions of people off of health insurance is not what we should be doing. We have got to pay attention to the working families of the this country. And that means we have got to protect their health care. We have got to make sure that young people in this country are not leaving school deeply in debt. We have got to fund adequately the Social Security Administration. Ten thousand people died last year who are with disabilities because they didn't get the kind of attention they need in processing their claims from the Social Security Administration. So that concerns me as well."

Watch the full interview here.