Sen. Bernie Sanders on unrest at U.S.-Mexico border

Sanders weighs in on President Trump's response to the migrants seeking asylum.
7:52 | 11/26/18

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Transcript for Sen. Bernie Sanders on unrest at U.S.-Mexico border
So the lovely and talented senator Bernie Sanders scored a victory in the midterms, and a lot of Democrats who won ran on the issues he's been talking about for a while now. Here to tell us "Where we go from here" which is also the title of his new book, welcome back Bernie Sanders. So nice to see you, senator, again. Great to be back with you. We're going to jump into some "Hot topics" with you, all right? So let's talk about the border because over the weekend we saw authorities firing tear gas on migrants. Some of them were children. A few were children even. And trump is saying that he could close the border permanently. What are your thoughts when you see this type of thing? I think, joy, for a start, we have got to understand who these people are and where they're coming from. In most cases these are men, women and children who are coming from countries like Honduras and Guatemala, el Salvador where the poverty rate is abysmally high, where there is crime -- where there is drug cartel violence which is really terrible. And these are desperate people who want a better life for their kids. Are they escaping violence? Yes, in many cases they are. Drug cartels there who are just doing terrible things. Does that mean that we can open our border to everybody, no, it doesn't, but it means that we have an asylum process that we have to respect. But most importantly, what the terrible situation at the border should remind us is that this country needs comprehensive immigration reform. This is part of that. And what that means above and beyond the borders, we have 1.8 million young people in this country who have lived virtually their entire lives here, going to school, they're working, they're in the military, who are in the DACA program but are now frightened to death that they may be deported. Those are people who were born here? Not born, dreamers. They came here illegally but essentially -- But before they were 12, right. Yeah. This is for all intents and purposes this is their country and the American people are pretty clear that we've got to provide a path towards citizenship. Senator, what about the issue of using the military at the border? My understanding is that John Kelly and kirstjen Nielsen initially argued against granting this broad military authority at the border because it was against the broad constitutional powers but they acquiesced. I have given the nature of this president who I think has strong authoritarian tendencies who seems to like people like Mr. Putin and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the leader of North Korea. I worry about very much for the first time using the military in that way in this country. So I think that is a very legitimate concern. But bottom line is we need serious comprehensive immigration reform. The senate passed a bill a few years ago. The house did not. Democrats are now taking control over the house, and I hope that we can come together on a good bill. Who blocks it the most? Republicans. Not to push back but my father and Ted Kennedy tried very hard to get it passed and I hope it's not a pipe dream. So what do you think we can do? By the way, let me say to you, Meghan, your dad and I agreed on almost every issue but he and I were good friends. I know. And he and I worked together on veterans reform, the veterans bill. He was a Republican I felt, had widespread support. Is there any Republican like John McCain? Yes. Who could you name? There are many. We passed it in the senate. 14 or 13? Right. Here's where the world is going to be different. It's one thing not to bring forward legislation, it's not thing for Democrats to pass something decent and then Republicans in the senate saying, oh, no, I don't want to do it and people back home are going to say, well, you know what, you should do it. So I hope the day has changed and I hope the Democrats not only on immigration reform but begin to move this country forward in guaranteeing health care to all people as a right, not a privilege. I hope that we can move forward to understand that if you work 40 hours a week you should not be living in poverty in this country. We have to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And I hope by the way that when we deal with fair wages that we understand that it is unacceptable that women make 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. That's true. What do you say because -- speaking of your party and the Democrats, they were successful in taking over the house and now they have control and they've got a real opportunity to sort of rebuild the soul of the democratic party as we move into 2020. What is your advice to them as a focus on bringing down trump? Is that the answer for success? No, it is not. Look, I think it is no great secret that I have very, very deep concerns about trump not only because he tried to throw 32 million off health care -- your dad's vote was the difference in making sure that 32 million people by the way continue to have health insurance. Not only that at a time of massive income and wealth inequality did trump push for a trillion dollars in tax breaks, the top 1%, and then come back with attempts to cut medicare, medicaid and social security. But I'll tell you what I disagree with trump even more about and that is his attempt to divide our country up based on the color of our skin, based on where we came from, based on our religion, based on our sexual orientation. And it's a funny thing, you had conservative presidents like bush, I disagree with him on almost everything, but he understood that the job of a president in these difficult times is to bring our people together, not to get cheap votes by dividing us up. What motivates that in him do you think? I think it's totally opportunistic politics. He thinks if he can get one group to hate another group he can pick up some votes and win some states. Despite what media thinks, we are much less divided as a people than I think others think. I think, for example, if you look at issues like raising the minimum wage, if you look at issues like guaranteeing health care to all people, if you look at issues like rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and creating millions of good paying jobs, if you look at issues like making public colleges and universities tuition-free and dealing with this incredible problem with student debt -- 40 million people in this country are struggling with horrific levels of student debt. If you deal with the issue of climate change -- Oh boy, that's a big one. It's a huge issue. You record the reports that came out recently. We have to take a break but we're going to come back with more with senator Bernie

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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