POLITICS

Bronx president says Latinos don't dislike Sanders, they just don't know him

Ruben Diaz Jr. is a Hillary Clinton supporter and explains why Latinos prefer her ahead of April 19th primary.

 

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. sat down with Fox News Latino the morning after Thursday night's Democratic debate in Brooklyn, New York.

He spoke about why Latinos prefer former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and alluded to forgiving Clinton for her 2007 opposition to granting drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The Bronx is the most diverse region in the nation with more than 50 percent of the population being Hispanic. If Sanders plans on pulling off an upset victory in New York, he'll have to convince Latinos there to cast their votes for him on April 19.

Diaz Jr. is a staunch Clinton supporter, and while he acknowledges that the race is getting closer, he believes Latinos will support her as they have in Florida and Texas.

"We are taking it seriously. We are organizing," Diaz Jr. told FNL. "I don't think people dislike Bernie Sanders – people don't know Bernie Sanders in the Bronx, and in New York and in the Latino community. They know Hillary."

"[Sanders] has a great stump speech, and he dreams big, and he has all these diagnoses on the issues," Diaz Jr. said. "He talks about the fact that he came from New York. When he's in New York, he says, 'I'm from Brooklyn,' but then when he talks about gun control he says, 'I'm a little guy from a little state.'

The Bronx president went on to explain, "We have a history with the Clintons. We have a history with [Hillary] as First Lady, as U.S. Senator, as Secretary of State. She's the most experienced and qualified, and that's why on Tuesday the Latinos are going to go out and support her."

Thursday night's debate between the Democratic contenders did not mention immigration once – despite the fact that both candidates have been sparring over the issue incessantly while campaigning in the state. Sanders points to Clinton’s opposition to granting driver’s licenses to New York’s undocumented immigrants in 2007. Clinton slams Sanders for not voting for comprehensive immigration reform that same year.

When pressed by Fox News Latino, Diaz Jr. suggested he had forgiven Clinton for her opposition to granting undocumented immigrants licenses, a point the Sanders campaign has hit on hard in the days before Tuesday's New York primary. 

"I was a legislator at the New York state assembly at the time. I was upset and concerned, and I felt betrayed by then-Governor Elliot Spitzer who promised the legislators and the people of the state of New York that he would do this," Diaz Jr. said. "At the time Hillary Clinton did not support it, but since then, and this is the great thing about Hillary, that she listens. She's smart. She's been enlightened, and she has changed her position."

Watch the rest of the video interview above for his thoughts about Ted Cruz and more.

Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.