Jane Sanders, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said Sunday that opponents are distorting the facts when they say her husband came late to the issue of immigration.
“That’s not true,” she said in a phone interview from Phoenix. “Everything that Congress has been involved in, he’s been on the right side of the issue. And immigrants are dealing with the same kinds of economic difficulties that everybody has been dealing with.”
She traveled to Arizona on Friday ahead of its March 22 Democratic primary, and on Monday plans to meet with undocumented families and visit the infamous tent city jail run by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is ardently against unauthorized immigrants and has endorsed GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
Immigration has become central to the 2016 primaries, both on the right, as Republicans fight over who will crack down hardest on the undocumented population, and on the left, where Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are battling over who is more pro-immigrant.
The issue is especially important in Arizona, where polling has put Clinton in the lead. Latino voters make up nearly 22 percent of the electorate in Arizona — more than in any state but New Mexico, Texas and California.
Clinton and her supporters have argued that she is a longtime advocate for undocumented immigrants and that Sanders largely stayed out of the issue or even impeded progress — including by voting against a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007. He later voted for reform in 2013 and includes it as part of his platform.
“I think the criticism from the other side has been consistently distorted on every issue,” Jane Sanders said. “If I were to answer every time that they said ‘Bernie wasn’t there,’ we would be spending all our time doing that.”
By Elise Foley for the Huffington Post
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