By Ben Kamisar
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonJohnson faces tough crowd at Libertarian debate Sanders: Clinton shouldn't pick VP from Wall Street McAfee on chances of Libertarian win: 'We're not that stupid' MORE argued that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: Clinton shouldn't pick VP from Wall Street Sanders: Primary isn't 'rigged,' just 'dumb' Dick Van Dyke introduces Sanders at rally MORE's (I-Vt.) defense for his 2007 vote against immigration reform doesn't square with reality as the two sparred during Wednesday's Univision debate.
Sanders has said that he voted against that bill because its guest-worker program was akin to “modern slavery.”
But Clinton pushed back.
“I think it’s very hard to make the case that Ted Kennedy, Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObama: 'Stop to reflect' on Memorial Day John Bolton slams Obama’s ‘shameful apology tour’ Miss. governor to join lawsuit against Obama transgender policy MORE, me, La Raza, United Farm Workers, Dolores Huerta, leaders of the Hispanic community would have supported a bill that actually promoted modern slavery,” Clinton said.
“That was one of the many excuses used not to vote for the 2007 bill ... If we had been able to get that past, we would have been so much further along now.”
The moderators heavily questioned the candidates about immigration reform, thanks to the fact that Wednesday's debate is geared toward a Spanish-language audience with a Spanish simulcast.
It is taking place in Miami less than a week before Florida’s primary.
Sanders struck back at Clinton by arguing that she had called on child migrants to be sent back home during a period when tens of thousands were trying to cross the border to leave difficult situations in Latin and South America.
He also zeroed in on an issue that proved to be a major liability for Clinton during a 2007 debate: her previous position that undocumented immigrants in New York should not be allowed to have driver's licenses. Clinton flipped back and forth on the issue, starting out in favor of granting the licenses, changing her mind and then ultimately settling where she started.
“When you talk about efforts to assist immigrants, Secretary Clinton prevailed upon the governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer — who wanted to do the right thing to provide driver's licenses to those who are undocumented — she said, ‘Don't do it,’ and New York still doesn't do it,” Sanders said.
“I worked with officials and undocumented people in Vermont who do have the ability to get driver's licenses.”