Sanders said he supports many provisions in the comprehensive immigration reform bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

The Senate is expected to begin floor debate on a bipartisan bill from the Gang of Eight next week. S. 744 would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.

Sanders said one part of the bill, which cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote last month, reforms the J-1 visa program. He said the change would allow younger foreigners to work lower wage jobs that young Americans are struggling to find.

“I fear very much that this J-1 program is being exploited by corporations such as Hershey’s and McDonald's,” Sanders said. “What people are saying is that American young people are too lazy to work these jobs. ... I think that is a slap in the face to our young people.”

Sanders added that when underemployment is considered, the real unemployment numbers are closer to 14 percent than 7 percent. He said young Americans need those low-skill jobs to help them pay for college.

Despite having bipartisan support, some Republicans have complained that the legislation would provide amnesty for illegal residents before strengthening border enforcement.

Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (R-Fla.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (R-S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (R- Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (D-N.Y.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmerica’s waning commitment to the promise of the First Amendment Senate rejects Trump immigration plan What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (D-Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezJustice Dept intends to re-try Menendez in corruption case DACA is neither bipartisan nor in America's interest Senate DACA deal picks up GOP supporters MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetColorado senators pitch immigration compromise Colorado senators mark Olympics with Senate hallway curling GOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races MORE (D-Co.) comprise the Gang of Eight.