Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Taps San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz As Co-Chair For Presidential Campaign

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan has agreed to be one of four national co-chairs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign. The news comes just days after the 77-year-old senator announced that he was running for president again after a bitter defeat in the 2016 Democratic Primary. The support from Cruz is huge news in terms of name recognition as the Democratic field of candidates keeps growing.

With the backing of Sanders,Cruz brings diversity, a progressive agenda and a well-documented opposition of President Donald Trump.

Some forget that real power stems from people’s will to change. @BernieSanders understands that a movement for financial, social, racial & environmental justice starts from the bottom up. Honored to co-chair with @ninaturner @RoKhanna and Ben Cohen the political revolution. pic.twitter.com/opss7vnwes— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) February 22, 2019

Cruz agrees with Sanders on various platform issues like education, LGBTQ+ rights and environmental issues. She hopes that teaming up with Sanders will also shed light on issues that have plagued Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit back in 2017.

Cruz publicly clashed with President Trump in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, criticizing the administrations lack of response to the disaster. An estimated 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria including the weeks after the storm hit.

“This is personal. The president came and threw paper towels at us,” Cruz said in an interview with NBC News. “He continues to disregard the pain of people from Puerto Rico.”

While Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote in the general election, despite being legal U.S. citizens, they will be able to vote in the primaries. With the support of the San Juan Mayor, Sanders is sure to gain some support in Puerto Rico.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another Democrat running for president, joined Sanders in co-sponsoring legislation to help with the Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt that it still deals with today.

“When it comes to Puerto Rico, I am confident that Bernie will help us usher a new path towards the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico including, but not limited to, a new relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States ensuring that with every step we forge a path to guarantee that all voices are heard and the will of the people of Puerto Rico sets forth the agenda.” Cruz said in a statement.

Having Cruz in Sanders’ corner means a high-profile Latina will have a voice in his campaign.

She has been one of Trump’s fiercest critics. Now San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is one of 4 natl campaign co-chairs for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. https://t.co/twu75av1v6— NBC Latino (@NBCLatino) February 22, 2019

One of the biggest criticisms of Sanders campaign in 2016 was his lack of support from voters in the Latino and Black communities. While he did receive support from younger Latino demographics in some states, Cruz’s support might play a big role when it comes to states like Nevada and Puerto Rico.

Cruz doesn’t expect to just be talking to primarily Latino groups for the campaign. She said there will not any “walls that keep us in our corner because that will be ineffective.”

Cruz joins what has already become an increasingly diverse group backing Sanders.

To defeat Trump we must build a team prepared to fight for economic, social, racial & environmental justice. That’s exactly what @ninaturner, @RoKhanna, @CarmenYulinCruz and @YoBenCohen have been doing their entire lives. I’m excited to announce them as campaign co-chairs.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 21, 2019

Joining Cruz as co-chairs of the Sanders campaign is Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) and Ben Cohen, a co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The appointment of Khanna and Turner are significant not only because of the progressive policies they bring but the diversity they present to Sanders campaign.

Sanders recently made headlines with his campaign manager pick. The Daily Beast reported that Sanders had hired Faiz Shakir, the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, for the head position. Shakir is likely to be the first Muslim American to head a major presidential campaign.

While the 2020 elections are still more than a year away, things are certainly gearing up on the Democratic side. At this time, there are 14 confirmed Democrats running for congress.

READ: Here’s Why You Need to Know Rep. Adriano Espaillat, The First Undocumented Immigrant in Congress

Thousands Of People Gathered At An East LA High School To Show Their Support For Bernie Sanders

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Thousands Of People Gathered At An East LA High School To Show Their Support For Bernie Sanders

Javier Rojas / mitú

The latest stop on the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign trail hit East Los Angeles this past Saturday where a rally was held with efforts to mobilize voters in the predominantly Latino community. An estimated crowd of over 5,200 people showed up to  Woodrow Wilson High School in El Sereno to cheer on the Vermont senator. 

Signs that read “Bernie” and “Unidos con Bernie” could be seen well into the flock of supporters that chanted his name all afternoon. Before Sanders took the stage, supporters were energized by a performance Ozomatli, an East LA-based Latin rock band, who endorsed the senator just like they previously did in 2016. The energy of the crowd hit a peak point when Sanders emerged to take the stage and a booming “Bernie” chant took over the rally. 

Sanders took the stage addressing issues like education reform, leveling inequality and recent hot button issues like gun control. 

“Gun policy in this country, under my administration, will not be determined by the NRA,” Sanders told the crowd. “It will be determined by the American people and the American people want is common-sense gun safety legislation now.”

Bernie Sanders struck a chord with Latinos in California, particularly in East LA, where his campaign team debuted its first California office. As it stands, 34 percent of likely Democratic Latino voters under 30 support Sanders in his presidential run. 

Credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

The economy, healthcare and education are some of the biggest issues to Latino voters and Sanders has made efforts to make those some of his key campaign focal points. His campaign has resonated with more Latino voters in California than any other Democratic candidate. According to a recent poll by Latino Community Foundation, 31 percent of Latino voters would vote for Sanders, beating former Vice President Joe Biden, polling at 22 percent; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, polling at 11 percent, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, polling 9 percent.

When it comes to donating to his campaign, Latino voters have also been there for Sanders. From January to July, the Sanders team brought in an estimated $4.7 million from Latinos through the online fundraising platform ActBlue. His grassroots support from his previous 2016 run has seemed to follow into the 2020 election race with many young voters leading the way. 

“There’s lots of Latinos in California, there’s lots of working-class young people, and working-class voters and lots of folks who have a history of standing up against power,” Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser with the Sanders campaign, told the LA Times. “Bernie Sanders is their candidate, and all we have to do is give them the tools to be reminded of when to vote and where he stands on the issues and they will show up.”

On Saturday, many of those young voters voiced their support for Sanders and his campaign that touched on many vital issues that Latinos say matter to them. 

Credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

Fernando Salas, 19, lives in nearby Boyle Heights and has been a Sanders fan before he could even cast a vote back in 2016. He says that Sanders became popular among him and his friends during high school because of his proposed policies on the environment and tuition-free public college.

“I couldn’t even vote when I first heard of Bernie but I knew he was my guy right away,” Salas says as he holds up a “Viva Bernie” sign. “He cares about issues that my friends and I are talking about so why not Bernie.”

Sanders received loud applause at the rally when raising issues like education reform, canceling student debt, tuition-free public colleges and raising teachers’ wages.

“I will make sure that every teacher in America earns at least $60,000 because I believe in human rights,” Sanders said. “We believe that everybody, regardless of their income and background, has the right to get a higher education.”

If Sanders is going to win the Democratic nomination, he’s going to most likely have to win the Latino vote as well. 

Credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

For years, many political pundits have pointed toward the growing U.S. Latino population as a deciding force when it comes to voting power. This upcoming election will be a test of that power as Latinos are expected to be the largest minority voting group, exceeding Black voters for the first time ever. 

The Sanders campaign has done its work when it comes to winning this ever-important demographic group. Whether its hiring Latino workers as part of his campaign team or putting forth comprehensive immigration plans that address issues like DACA, Sanders has touched on all the right buttons for a large portion of Latino voters.

Salas says at the heart of the Sanders campaign is to help the “little people” in this country and he feels that he can deliver on that. 

“He’s been fighting this fight for many years now and I feel that after 2016, this is his time,” Salas says with hope.

READ: Despite A New Law, Some New York County Clerks Say They’ll Refuse To Give Undocumented Residents Driver’s Licenses

The Details Of Bernie Sanders Immigration Plan Are Out And Here’s What He Wants To Do

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The Details Of Bernie Sanders Immigration Plan Are Out And Here’s What He Wants To Do

Scott Takuchi / Getty

Senator Bernie Sanders released a comprehensive immigration plan where he plans to completely overhaul the system, and undo much of the Trump Administration’s policies, using executive orders and legislative action. 

The 2020 presidential candidate, and a front-runner, proposed placing a moratorium on deportations, ending ICE raids, halting construction of Trump’s wall at the southern border, ending family separation, and closing for-profit detention centers on day one of his administration should he win. 

Under the Vermont senator’s “A Welcoming and Safe America For All” plan he hopes to entirely restructure the Department of Homeland Security which could mean the end of ICE. Under a Sanders’ administration, the agency’s duties would be folded into the Justice Department, while Customs and Border Protection would operate under the Treasury Department. 

Sanders plans to undo the Trump administration’s discriminatory practices. 

The plan will reverse Trump’s orders and allow asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence and gang violence to begin the immigration process. 

According to CNN, it would, “also overturn Trump’s so-called ‘public charge’ rule and ensure that immigrants are not discriminated against based on income or disability, while extending temporary protected status until more permanent resolutions are in place, invalidating Trump’s efforts to end those designations.”

He would also eliminate DNA testing and facial recognition software while implementing anti-profiling guidance from the Department of Justice. 

Dreamers stand to receive more protection. 

Finishing the work of Obama and expanding it, Sanders would extend legal status to 1.8 million young people who are eligible Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients. Using an executive order he would allow 85 percent of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than five years to be free from deportation, which would also expand the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program. 

In addition, Sanders would urge Congress to create a five-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants without reducing the amount of “traditional, family-based visas.” 

Under Sanders’ plan undocumented immigration would largely be decriminalized at multiple levels.

Not only would detention end for migrants without criminal convictions, but they would also be given community-based alternatives that would provide access to health care and legal resources. Moreover, crossing the border would be decriminalized completely. 

“Punitive policies have been justified as a deterrent to migration, but in addition to being morally wrong, there is no evidence that these policies have served this purpose,” Sanders states in the plan.“The criminalization of immigrants has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, dehumanized vulnerable migrants, and swelled already-overcrowded jails and prisons.”

The Trump administration used Section 1325 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code, which makes crossing the border without first being inspected by an immigration officer a misdemeanor offense, to justify separating families at the border. Sanders would repeal the section. 

Immigrants would have more labor rights under Sanders’ plan. 

Sanders hopes to prioritize the interests of immigrants in trade negotiations. The plan would create a whistleblower visa where immigrants could report illegal actions without fear of deportation or retribution. This would ensure that domestic and farm workers are paid a $15 per hour minimum wage regardless of status. 

In his plan, immigrants would have access to his new social programs like Medicare for All, free college, and free school meals. Finally, Sanders would create a program to accept 50,000 climate change refugees within his first year in office. 

“I remember in some early, private meetings he had in 2015 with young undocumented people, he came away so moved, and the connection that was created between him and those young immigrants has really been enduring and what motivates his desire to see this inhumane immigration system to be reformed,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ senior adviser, told CNN.”Those meetings were some of the most personally moving for him in my time with him.”

Critics react to Sanders’ plan. 

“Bernie’s immigration plan is not just a total rejection of Trump’s xenophobic policies. It’s also a truly radical break with the bipartisan war on immigrants that made Trump possible,” author Daniel Denvir wrote on Twitter, praising the Senator.  

“He rejects establishment’s beloved comprehensive immigration reform model of trading draconian enforcement for a legalization that never comes. This is a condemnation of Bush and Obama’s political strategy of mass deportation and border militarization in the name of compromise, Denvir asserted.

However, others were more skeptical of how Sanders plans to execute his lofty ideals. 

“While he proposes integrating migrants in communities, Sanders does little to explain how he would help cities shoulder the burden and provide housing,” Ian Kullgran wrote for Politico. “Nor does Sanders explain how he would background-check migrants as levels rise. The expansion of DACA and DAPA, for example, would require the U.S. to screen entrants’ criminal backgrounds … but Sanders does not say how he would do that once ICE and CBP are dismantled.”