Shortly before winning the Indiana primary on Tuesday, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders invited two undocumented supporters to share the podium with him in Louisville, Kentucky.
"There are 11 million undocumented people in this country, and I have talked to many of them,” the Democratic presidential hopeful told supporters as laughter and applause interrupted his speech.
Looking around for the reason for the laughter, the Vermont senator pointed to an individual at the rally. “There’s one right here,” Sanders said.
After a moment another young man raised his hand. “There’s two,” he added before inviting the supporters to join him.
One young man came forward to shake Sanders’ hand and was hugged by the candidate instead. The undocumented man leaned in to the microphone and shout, “Viva, Bernie!”
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On the campaign trail, Sanders has hammered Hillary Clinton repeatedly about immigration.
In March he challenged her position on driver’s licenses for undocumented New Yorkers. In a debate between the two at Miami Dade College, he said, “Secretary Clinton prevailed upon the governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who wanted to do right thing and provide driver's licenses to those who are undocumented. She said, ‘Don’t do it’, and New York state still does not do it."
Sanders has battled his own issues on immigration. Julian Castro, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois are among the Clinton supporters who have criticized Sanders for his immigration positions.
Castro told reporters in February that Sanders “voted with the anti-immigrant right” by voting against a senate immigration reform bill in 2007. Gutierrez has also accused him of voting to protect the Minutemen, a private militia that patrols the Mexican border to prevent immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally.