Bernie Sanders Calls Anti-Immigrant Sentiment What It Is: ‘Racism'

Real talk from Bernie.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday had some strong words for the GOP presidential candidates who have employed anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric in appealing to the Republican base.

"If Donald Trump and others who refer to Latinos, people from Mexico, as criminals and rapists, if they want to open that door, our job is to shut that door and shut it tight," the Democratic presidential hopeful said during a speech at Georgetown University.

"This country has gone too far. Too many have people suffered, and too many people have died for us to continue hearing racist words coming from major political leaders."

Billed as a speech to clarify his democratic socialist beliefs, Sanders frequently went off script, returning to the themes of his usual campaign stump speech and attacking the GOP.

On the issue of immigration, he accused GOP politicians of politicizing immigrants using racist rhetoric.

"People can have honest disagreements about immigration or about anything else. That's called democracy," he said. "But people should not be using the political process to inject racism into the debate."

Earlier this week, Sanders also condemned the growing wave of mostly GOP lawmakers advocating to restrict refugees from coming to the U.S., in response to last week's terror attacks in Paris.

"I am disturbed by some of what I am hearing from my Republican colleagues, and I will just say this: During these difficult times, as Americans we will not succumb to racism," he said. "We will not allow ourselves to be divided and succumb to Islamophobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees."

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