Bernie Sanders calls for immigration reform during US-Mexico border visit

Bernie Sanders Rallies Supporters in Flagstaff

NOGALES, Arizona — Jessica Elizabeth Orellana Diaz wanted her voice to be heard by Bernie Sanders, even if he needed a translator to understand it.

"Mi unica esperanza es llegar a este país," Orellana told Sanders after describing her painful journey of leaving El Salvador to seek asylum in the United States.

"Her only hope is to come to this country," Arizonan and DREAMer Julio Zuniga said in English, translating for the Vermont senator.

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Bernie Sanders calls for immigration reform during US-Mexico border visit

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels 

The rapper has been very vocal within the hip-hop community about his endorsement of Sanders, and even introduced him at an Atlanta rally. 

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Danny DeVito 

In August 2015, the 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' actor took to Twitter, saying, "Bernie're our only hope Obi-Wan Kenobi". 

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Mark Ruffalo

Ruffalo used Twitter to share his political stance on January 17th of this year, saying, "@BernieSanders is preferred 2-1 by young people because they know his means what he says."

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Susan Sarandon 

In June of last year, Sarandon posted a video titled 'Flashback: Rep. Bernie Sanders Opposes Iraq War' along with the caption "We need a leader who is courageous and levelheaded in times of crisis:Bernie Sanders ‪#‎Bernie2016‬.

The liberal activist has since been seen campaigning for Sanders in Portland, Maine and introducing him on the campaign trail. 

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Belinda Carlisle

Back in August of last year, the lead singer of The Go-Go's tweeted, "yes, I switched candidate!" above an announcement that Bernie Sanders would be joining CNN's State of the Union. 

Ever since then she has been an avid supporter on social media. 

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Justin Long 

The 'Dodgeball' actor introduced Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Des Moines shortly before the Iowa Caucus. 

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Sarah Silverman 

Sarah Silverman was among other celebs who headlined a fundraiser for the presidential candidate at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory on January 26th. 

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George Lopez 

After tweeting "WATCHA I Am #feelingthebern. Today I'm proud to officially endorse @BernieSanders for President" late last year, the actor has made headlining appearances at Sanders' fundraising events. 

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Spike Lee 

After citing his endorsement on a radio show recently, he elaborated on his commitment to Sanders, saying: “Bernie was at the March on Washington with Dr. King. He was arrested in Chicago for protesting segregation in public schools. He fought for wealth and education equality throughout his whole career. No flipping, no flopping. Enough talk. Time for action.”

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Sanders made his first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border of the presidential campaign Saturday, and speaking in the foreground of the wall dividing two countries said he would fight to provide a path forward for undocumented immigrants.

"We don't need a wall, and we don't need barbed wire," Sanders said, with Mexico over his right shoulder and the U.S. over his left.

"We need comprehensive immigration reform," Sanders said. "We need to take 11 million undocumented people out of the shadows, out of fear, and we need to provide them with legal protection."

Sanders, who regularly speaks about the importance of "listening to Latinos" when it comes to immigration issues, said the country needs to "build more bridges, not more walls."

He condemned Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who in his presidential announcement speech said illegal immigration from Mexico was bringing "rapists" and crime into the U.S.

"All of us are rightly appalled by the divisive, bigoted, and xenophobic comments of people like Donald Trump," Sanders said.

"I will do everything I can to oppose that kind of language and those kinds of actions," Sanders said.

Sanders also criticized controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made national headlines for crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, as "demonizing and preying on vulnerable people and communities."

Related: Joe Arpaio Tours 'Tent City' Jail With Bernie Sanders' Wife

Condemning Arpaio resonates particularly with liberals, Latinos, and immigration activists alike — all groups the senator is working hard to court ahead of Arizona's Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Sanders toured the border along with U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva or Arizona and Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada.

Estrada huddled with Sanders as part of the morning trip to explain to the native New Englander the specific problems that face this border community. Estrada told Sanders that drug cartels still pose a significant threat the security of the border and the town of Nogales.

Sanders said President Barack Obama's administration played a role in what he called the "deportation regime" of the country.

Before concluding his time at the border, Sanders said he "strongly" disagreed with rival Hillary Clinton's recent comments on granting asylum to children fleeing oppressive Latin American countries.

During PBS' February Democratic debate, Clinton asserted that such children should be "processed appropriately" so as to "send a message to families and communities in Central America not to send their children on this dangerous journey in the hands of smugglers."

"Sending children who have braved all kinds of dangers to escape some of the most violent regions in the world...telling them simply that they have to go back is in some cases sending them back to a death sentence, and that is wrong," said Sanders on the matter.

When NBC News asked Orellana, who was granted asylum herself after leaving harsh conditions in El Salvador, how it felt to share her story with Sanders, she paused and smiled.

"I felt that it was a very good opportunity to be able to speak with Senator Sanders, because I was able to express what we young Latino Americans really feel when we come here to this country," she said.

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